Hi everyone! It’s a short work week; congratulations. I could really use a break.
So, last week while solo-lunching over a salad and Sauvignon Blanc, I overheard two Manhattan Beach housewives speaking about a girlfriend, “I mean, I know she’s motivated and smart…but is everything really so perfect all the time??”
Putting aside my usual immediate irreverent thought patterns that exclaimed, “well how come you’re here at 3pm in the afternoon and why are you wearing that matching jumpsuit in the daylight?”, it occurred to me that some of you may be wondering the same thing. Is this recent jaunt into what ostensibly could be viewed as a never-never land for spoiled early thirty-somethings, always so joyous?
Well, the answer is no, it is definitely not perfect all the time, not having to show up at a specific place each morning. Having free time, like real free time, after what seems like decades of non-stop mental obstacle course activity is sort of like going through a zen life lesson on how to be a normal, functioning adult without freaking out. Eckhart Tolle wrote an entire book on how to stop acting like an idiot, always racing ahead to 5 minutes from now. It seems so simple: “hey dummy, there’s nothing you can do about being in this minute right now. So just stick it out until the universe smacks you in the face with what you’re supposed to be doing.”
In the past and even recently, I have literally gone into acute curmudgeon attacks, whereby for absolutely no substantiated reason I don’t really care to talk to anyone, and feel it is everyone’s personal goal to make some sort of disdainful advance at me, a violent and negative attempt to irritate my person. These attacks can happen anywhere- at work, at a party, walking out of the house in the morning. During the attack, if a neighbor or grocery store person were to address me, I would launch into a spasm that internally read, “one more step or word, and I will resort to a potentially fatal leg sweep”, this combined with contortionist-style movements around the sides of buildings and atop ceilings in order not to be seen or spoken to. Yes, sometimes we want to be alone, we don’t want to be bothered- but this was so unlike me I just didn’t get it?
Anyway, I have now been a deadbeat for a total of 7 business-free weeks, all magical minutes which have joined together to share with me happy revelations one after another, the latest of which is this: I have had a reprehensible relationship with time.
Time is a toughie. Time can be both our bff and minutes later a horrible, anxiety-provoking monster that tries to sabotage your every happiness and self-peace. For a 5th generation alcohol enthusiast and 1st gen stressed out crazy person, I had lost track of any normal relationship with time. Not in the good, “I totally lost track of time crocheting this pot holder!” way, but rather a creeping, masked way that makes you feel stupid and crabby for not completing something that maybe you aren’t even interested in doing, and points and laughs any chance he gets. Here are the categories that time and I chose to fight over, along with a some examples:
- what I should have done 5 minutes ago- should’ve called your mother back and replied to that email
- what I should be doing right now- call your mother back, reply to that email dummy
- what I should be doing in 5 minutes- now you are in danger of becoming not the favorite child, and that person waiting on the email reply is probably going to expire soon. You have 5 minutes to save him/ her.
- why I never did/ do xyz something for an ongoing amount of time- why don’t you dust off your Spanish and live in a Guatemalan village during your time off, building schools and orphanages? Loser.
- feeling bad about #1-4- you are such an ass at life right now; get it together.
Honestly it’s absurd if you think about it. Why do we fight with all these great moments that make up living? It’s so weird. Well, I’m not certain. But what I have learned, is that a good mix of personal responsibility and chilling the ef out can contribute to feelings of peace and general wellbeing.
Take for example exhibits A and B below to explain the differences:
a. Time as an acquaintance at best
Notice that going to yoga and not going produced a result not too far from one another. But, at least if I go, I am less likely to wind up in the irritability quadrant, a place I really prefer never to travel.
However, when you’re able to make friends with time, it looks more like this:
b. Time and I have gone to the mall and purchased a BFF necklace
So when you’re able to make friends with the construct of time, things truly don’t seem so difficult or irritating. People will get kinder, more good-looking and even helpful. You have no expectation really, so they’ve blown right past it. Great! Also, you begin to recognize that the more you fight with your moments, the less return you’ll achieve. Because you’re not just “living in the moment”, or “the present is a gift” blah blah, but you are making room for the idea that every moment has been personally crafted and manufactured for your sole benefit. It is only how we chose to respond that sets us apart.
Don’t get me wrong- I am having a self-recognition and turn-around party of Texas-sized proportion, but at least for now time has moved his stuff back into the house, as opposed to thrown out on the front lawn. Some nights he wakes to tell me things and instead of retorting, “I AM TRYING TO SLEEP GDAMNIT. GET AWAY FROM ME.” I try to reply sleepily, “Ok, I hear you. I will write that down.”
I hope you are enjoying your moments. They will tell you what you need to know. They will teach you to form a very high opinion of yourself (of which you are very deserving), and reinstate a confidence that I recommend in any sort of “honestly what in the hell do I do now, someone please just tell me” moment. Then, while not ever achieving perfection, because geeze who wants that- things will maybe inch a little more closer to great. 🙂