This weekend didn’t turn out the way it was supposed to. Not even close. It was a regular drill in disappointment and flexibility. Without listing off a bunch of personal details about our lives, let’s just sum it up with trips to the E.R., cancelled surprise parties, and abrupt changes in plans. Life tends to take us places where we hadn’t planned to be at all. I tend to plan on things being pretty much, you know, the way I planned. This divergence between expectations and reality can really be a pain. I wish I were the kind of person who just rolls out of bed in the morning ready for anything the universe has to offer, but I’m not. And, really, who is? Okay – I want you all to rate yourselves. How’s your reaction to life’s unexpected turns: excellent, fair, or with tears of anger? If you said “excellent” you’re either lying or live in a converted school bus. But, I think I can honestly say “fair” at this point in my life. I’m pretty proud of myself, actually. It’s taken an ocean of tears to get here. Anyhow, as a reward, I’m going to try not to make any plans for next weekend at all. I’m just going to let things unfold naturally and enjoy whatever comes my way. Sounds horrifying, doesn’t it? I’ll let you know how it goes.
Last night my daughter and I watched The Color Purple. It’s got to be one of the very top feel good/bad movies of all time. We missed some of the beginning, but that’s okay – now she can read the book. Anyhow – all that feeling good/bad has really put sisterhood in my mind. Where would we gals be without our women friends? I’d be a wreck. I mean, I’m absolutely head over heels in love with my boyfriend, but I don’t know that I’d have the courage and confidence to feel so strongly about him if I didn’t have the support of my women friends. And, I know I’m a better parent due to their advice and comfort. Basically, it doesn’t just take a village to raise a child, it takes one for all of us.
Left to my own devices, I can whip myself into a frenzy of self-loathing despair before I even get to work in the morning. Thankfully, I work with some of the most amazing women I’ve ever had the privilege to know. They can snap me out of it before my first cup of coffee. In fact, we’ve often laughed so hard my stupid mascara’s all drooled down my face by nine thirty. And I’m doubly blessed to have a super solid bunch of women friends outside of work as well. Life is scary. I used to combat that with alcohol. I’m happy to say I haven’t chosen to use that particular brand of courage for over three years now. I use my village.
Sometimes things hurt too much to even joke about. But god knows I try. I can’t remember any hurts I’ve let myself experience without turning them into comedy material before the tears were dry on my face. I bet my kids resent the heck out of it. If every thing’s a joke before it’s had time to be, well, a thing, the playing field is pretty even and being trapped behind a stupid person in the grocery checkout line is given the same treatment as moving out of their father’s house. Whatever. I’m sure they resent me when I make them talk about uncomfortable subjects, too, which I do because as torturous as it may be, I think it’s important. And seriously, anyone who’s watched even five minutes of The Three Stooges knows pain is funny.
Tomorrow is Valentines Day, and if that’s not a potential kick-off for pain I don’t know what is. Personally I love Valentines Day. What’s not to like? It’s pink and pretty and full of chocolate. But I’ve had some less than super fantastic ones. It can be a lonely day. It can be an eye-opener. But really it’s just another day with some extra social pressures attached. So enjoy it. Let the people you care about know you love them. And remember – its potential for comedy is boundless.
I thought I had Pandora trained not to play the Eagles, but I guess not. Unwanted-first-few-bars-of-Hotel- California-before-I-can-hit-the-“don’t like”-button aside, I love Pandora. I love it because I can listen to a ridiculous mix of Carpenters, Green Day, Etta James, the Kinks and Parliament all day long – a mix I haven’t found anywhere else, without obsessive station changing. And anything at all I can do without some form of obsession attached is a good thing.
The more I try and learn to let go of stuff and leave it up to a benevolent universe, the more I find myself rearranging my pencils, or cleaning out my files or adding another step to an already rather complex mascara application process. I guess that’s okay – I mean the goal is to be more open to what life has to offer and not be so stuck offering life what little I’m willing to give. Any kind of letting go is hard: overcoming addiction, letting your kids grow into independent individuals, allowing yourself to fall in love. But – it’s all good and healthy and absolutely the right thing to do. I am becoming more willing to let go and enjoy the ride. I do trust fate and myself and the heavenly hosts, or whomever, to make the right choices. If a few more compulsions slip in along the way, who cares.