I realized today that what I am the most scared of is that I could be completely powerless over the components in my life that I hold most dear. I know that, for me, having the ability to influence people and events is what gets me through each day with my head held high and keeps my positive, confident attitude reigning supreme, As I’ve grown older and have taken on more and more and held myself to a higher and higher standard, I have grown to realize that there are people out there who are just as opinionated and stubborn as I am and that they, too, have a substantial amount of control over the outcome of situations. Take my love life, I currently live in fear that Z has made his mind up and that there will genuinely be nothing I can do to help him change his mind and come to his senses, allow us to go back to something resembling “happy” when he comes home. I am also terrified that future job prospects will not go as planned because my charms will fail me when my resume doesn’t hold up. I am also terrified that my plans to travel late this spring are simply the summation of many years worth of escape attempts. This urge to flee has fought its way to the surface of my psyche for as long as I can remember. I am only now, finally, choosing to act upon it.
People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.
A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.
A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master…
My anxiety referees a battle between my worst fears and my hope:
The most recent odds are in and FEAR is the heavy favorite.
Good thing I always root for the underdog.
I’ll put my savings account on HOPE, please.
There’s a reason I drive to Portland to get my hair cut. I’ve had the same person styling my hair for close to a decade and she’s one of my favorite people. Ever. When I showed up last night, we caught up, I explained my recent, depressingly confusing and hopeful situation with Z and she helped me make some more sense of how I am feeling.
Then, we talked about anxiety, and how over the last year or so especially, I’ve become so caught up in my anxieties about everything that 10 minutes rarely pass without a “what if…?” statement that leaves my mind reeling and my concentration mangled. She emphasized and explained how she used to feel the same way; every situation lead to a de-powering, crippling internal rant that took at least some of the enjoyment out of every situation. I’ve spent the last couple of months in therapy learning how to turn off my anxieties about everything from, whether my bed is made, where the remotes were put away, whether a text message will come off wrong, to whether a bridge will collapse as I drive/run over it and exactly how I will react to each and every situation with 50 different variables calculated in. All of these feelings cycle in and out of my mind and body within a few seconds of each other.
So, she told me that rather than continue to allow these feeling to take over and to continually empower the “what if?”s, she replaced the question with “why not?”. I started thinking about the powerful feeling that comes with simply uttering that question to myself and as soon as I did, my body responded, my heart slowed back down, I was able to bring myself back to the NOW and begin to realize that there are so many different things in every day life that are so far out of my control that wondering about each and every one of them is not helpful; it detracts from the beauty of life and the simplicity of simply experiencing life and enjoying each and every moment in its purest, most uninhibited and unadulterated form.
So, here’s to living a life defined by “Why Not?”
Expectations can be fabulous. They help people set goals, strive for greatness, dream big, and all that. I set expectations for myself all the time: will not eat after 10pm, will run 18 miles this week at a good clip, will get paperwork done in a timely fashion at work, will not mindlessly drone out the day with dumb TV after work, will not eat peanut butter (and only peanut butter) for dinner. Simple or complex, expectations give us a mini-preview into our future selves. The problem with all this, however, lies in the fact that for those of us who enjoy perseverating on the future and who also happen to be idealists, reality reveals itself to be a grumpy little bitch. Let me give a few examples of what I mean…
1. Expectation: Friends will be on time to dinner dates.
Reality: Friends will text you after you’ve been waiting for 10 minutes to tell you that they’re on their way AND are bringing their SO. Not a big deal, still a little disappointing.
2. Expectation: The Soy version of Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream will be better than the dairy version.
Reality: It tastes like dark chocolate had a baby with a vat of expired soy milk and was drizzled with some substandard peppermint extract. Sad times for vegans.
3. Expectation: SO will remember your anniversary AND get you a shiney present AND proclaim their undying love for you.
Reality: SO forgets anniversary, sends no gift, and does not profess love. (silver lining: as a closet commitment phobe, a confession of undying love might send me into cardiac arrest).
4. Expectation: There will be ZERO traffic (or at least a normal level of traffic) when you’re headed to an appointment in a city two hours from where you live which will allow you to be on time (30 minute buffer provided).
Reality: There WILL be an accident every 30 miles AND a hail storm AND a power outage and you WILL be 45 minutes late.
5. Expectation: Hard work will be recognized and rewarded accordingly.
Reality: You will receive the same pay increase as every other (mostly substandard) employee in your company, will not have your achievements recognized, and you will NOT be exempt from working the holidays and will likely miss seeing your family.
The point of all of these examples is to show that while expectations are great and can be helpful, when you attempt to apply them to most real life situations, you will either be left in a disappointed, teary-eyed heap on the floor somewhere, or will develop thick skin, a healthy sense of humor, and the ability to adapt. And, let’s face it, we could all better our adaptation skills.
I didn’t have any coffee today. I’ve decided that being perpetually overly caffeinated might be the root of all the stress I’ve created within my own life. Well, let me tell you, not having coffee today was by far, one of the WORST decisions I’ve ever made. Not only was it day 3 of the caffeine detox, but it also happened to be a day full of LOTS of paperwork and meetings with several very important people. I thought I was going to die. My brain was throbbing throughout the day, my mouth was frozen in a permanent yawn by two in the afternoon (right around the time I go in for Round 3 of that delicious, dark, bitterness), and I’m 99% certain that I am still, in fact, asleep and am either having a terrible nightmare, or have simply become the nightmarish reckoning of the coffee-less me. So, in light of that, I’m going to explain why and WHY coffee is the greatest of the world’s gifts to humanity.
1. It makes the dullest of kitchen equipment into the most prized: my coffee grinder is one of my ESSENTIALS and I literally cannot live in a place for more than a day or two that does not have this angry-sounding, awesome-producing, brain-awakening mechanism housed somewhere in its depths. Just looking at it perks me up.
2. Coffee makes people wiser. Seriously, any book you read or movie you watch will have the pinnacle “wise” character guzzling down a steaming cup of deliciousness in at least one scene. It also can make a regular Joe (or Jane) feel wise enough (or at least, functional enough) to participate in those early morning logistics and strategy meetings, or even give them the gumption to answer questions in class, or bequeath unto them the courage to kiss that really cute someone who you asked out on a date. And let’s face it, coffee drinkers can only really stand to be around other coffee drinkers so kissing with coffee breath is really only the beginning of a great relationship.
3.You instantly appear to be a world traveler if you are a connoisseur of coffee. When people mention traveling to the such and such region of this or that country, you can nod your head and smile knowingly, having recently enjoyed a cup of steamy espresso from the very place they’ve just mentioned. You can even contribute to the discussion by bringing up their coffee and implying things about the people who made it based on the “notes” and “depth” of what they’ve produced.
4. It’s pretty much the best thing ever. My brain has shut off for the day, in rebellion against its lack of caffeine. I might continue this list at some point. Or I’ll just start drinking coffee again and stop missing how delicious it is…
Indecisiveness is an innate trait that should be looked upon with awe and wonder, rather than disdain and pity. Let me tell you why. The indecisive are just plain fun to be around; they get excited about the little things, go on crazy, spontaneous adventures in fits of decisive clarity, they are the people that the busy, driven, and ‘on the fast track’ type people love to be around, but only in secret. If you’re on the ‘so called fast track,’ you tend to openly hate the indecisive because typically the indecisive are the type of people that have held 3 completely polar-opposite jobs within the past year and despite the constant game of company-leap frog, these people are excited ALL THE TIME about the new job they have, the change in pace, the fact that the new opportunity they’ve created for themselves has given them something to rave about at the 4th of July BBQ while the decisive business men, law students, and professors sit around the fire exchanging stories about their college days, the vacations they’ll get to take when all the school/studying/work/exams/organizingthefuture finally ENDS. Meanwhile, Mr/Ms Indecisive is regaling anyone who’ll listen (namely, nearly everyone) with tales of the trip to Yellowstone he/she took between shamelessly quitting the soul-sucking job they held after the boring filing position, and before the exciting new job organizing an after school program for the Boys & Girls Club. See, the issue with indecisiveness is that it gets a bad rap. Just because someone has only a tiny inkling of an idea of what they want their future self to look like does not mean that they’re unmotivated, unprofessional, or wasting their time. It just means that rather than shoving themselves into a box from the moment they ‘figured out life,’ they have chosen to spend their time exploring the world they are a part of in between misadventures and wrongfully enrolling in that Esthetician program they were so determined to complete. They are relishing in the world as it has lined itself out for them and are enjoying the ride. So, hate them all you want, but the Indecisive will continue on their path to decision and will likely enjoy the ride a lot more than they would have had they been crammed into a box like the rest of society.
treading lightly on the snow the young girl crosses the street
looking both ways as she goes
her heeled boots slip slightly on patches of exposed pavement
she throws out her hands for balance
centering herself speedily as she hurries toward her destination
the place where she’s headed is vague and she moves without direction
but burns with a drive unmatched by anything she’s felt before
as she hurries down the sidewalk, passerby fade and empty from the streets
she turns left at a gate and her progress slows as the snow begins falling anew
glancing over her shoulder
(she’s being watched)
she tries to quicken her pace but her lungs are beginning to burn as
the temperature drops further
panting, she stops and listens,
desperate for a clue that she’s getting warmer
waiting for a lull in snowfall
and searching for tracks that she knows have been covered
Gravel crunches underneath her feet as she steps up the steep driveway. Voices begin calling to her as she slides the door open, echoing in the dark, chilly morning air. Her breath floods around her face as gloved hands pull her woolen hat further onto her head. One hand clutching the thermos of coffee she carries, she feels her away through the now alive building, murmuring “good morning”s and “hellos” to those greeting her. She moves by memory, her early morning routine ingrained in her memory, the quiet voices of her companions acting as echo locators for her barely awake brain. When she reaches the end of the aisle, she opens the final door, and new light begins flooding in, the pink sky burning brighter and brighter as the sun peaks and begins feeling its way toward her, rays creating pathways of light across green, frozen fields. Frost covers the piping on the fences surrounding her and as she shields her eyes from the bright day, she takes a sip of coffee, relishing in the life it creates inside her. There is nothing but silence for her in these moments, silence and the sounds of moving hooves, and low, sleepy nickers. She waits, waiting to feel the slightest warmth from the sun, before she begins moving again. Each morning brings a new list of items to be checked off but she finds time in these moments of peace to steel herself and relish in the freedom being here provides. Out of the corner of her eye, she sees a sleepy face emerge over the top of a stall wall, dark eyes blinking quickly in the face of the bright sun, clean, white blaze creating a stark contrast against its chocolate background. She reaches out a hand to stroke the white marking, imagining the softness of the hair under her glove. As if to urge her along in the completion of the most pertinent of chores, feeding breakfast, heads begin slowly arriving over the tops of doors along the rest of the aisle, nickers becoming more and more urgent as the moments pass. She takes another sip from her coffee, thankful for its burning encouragement, flips on the light switch, and begins her day.
It’s sunny outside. And my horses want me to play with them. And my birds want to fly around my apartment like the crazies that they are. And my body is cravvvving vitamin D and adrenalin.
BUT I’ve had oral surgery so I’m inside, fighting waves of exhaustion and killing time with mindless TV shows on Netflix. The silver lining? I’ve read a kajillion articles that will HOPEFULLY help me on my career path. I’ve also been able to bottle a batch and start another batch of kombucha.
I’ve also spend a lot of time pondering the next year of my life and trying to come up with a game plan that will keep me sane.
I’ve also become phenomenally creative food-wise since my blood sugar keeps crashing and I’m tired of eating the same things over and over again, which THANKS TO MY FABULOUS MOTHER, is possible because she fully-stocked my kitchen when she was here babysitting me :)
The end. Silver Lining(s) discovered