Sometimes, much like the song from the late 90’s alternative rock band LIT, I can be “my own worst enemy.” This is a fact that I feel like many people would find surprising. Overall I am a pretty positive person, not to mention I spend an adequate portion of my life telling other people how genuinely great I think they are. However, as I’ve learned; self-compassion and compassion for others are two entirely different things and the latter is a lot easier than its predecessor.
But today we meet at this intersection – to offer praise, to give acclaim, to celebrate and appreciate, to bid approbation and approval; we come together to give esteem and cheer to none other than…well; to none other than myself.
I reposted a blog on my Facebook the other day, “The No-Plan-Plan.” It was my buddy Bill’s birthday and the entry was about our life’s mantra, created one day over a frothy brew in which we decided that the best plan to live a happy, fulfilling, and meaningful life – was to have absolutely no plan at all. I read through the rest of the entry, and then I got to this point in my musings:
“I’m moving this summer but I can’t tell you where yet. Not because I’m keeping it a secret, but because I don’t know myself. I just need the dots, not the lines – and I’ll connect them as I go.”
I wrote this in December; having no inkling that this would become my reality. I felt so far from it and incapable of doing anything to render this thought into actuality. I perceived myself as “stuck” where I was. I was treading water which was a good thing; to be keeping afloat, with my head above the water, but I wasn’t going anywhere.
It wouldn’t be for another four months until the seedling of my thoughts met the cusp of their sprout.
I was going up to school to graduate. I typically roomed alone but when my friend Emily asked if I wanted to save some dollar bills and share a space for this brief period of time I immediately said “Yes.” I met Emily during my first residency, both of us were living in Salt Lake, but we met up in Vermont which was perfect because I like ironic situations.
The first night of our graduation residency we pushed our beds together because it just felt too weird to be in twin bed a mere 10 feet apart. It was when we were lying in our big bed when she said this to me: “I need a roommate and May would be great, but you could move in June too.”
I bit my tongue so hard I’m surprised it didn’t bleed. I muttered some sort of response along the lines of I’m not ready, fully knowing that I was but not knowing why acknowledging that scared me so much. I knew I wanted to move back out West but I just figured that when the time was right – the universe would offer up the right opportunity. It took me about 48 hours before I realized that shit – this IS the universe giving me a pretty obvious sign and if ignore this chance, I might not get another one.
So I did it. I figured out what I needed to do, and I made it happen. I drove across the country with all my deemed important belongings inside my 2007 Ford Focus. Actually, I didn’t just drive across the country – I hauled ass. I drove through torrential weather and winds that I thought would knock me clear off the side of the road but somehow I made it in one piece. I didn’t consciously think about what I was doing or where I was going, I was just on my way. Not once did I stop to recognize: “Wow, I’m in the midst of doing something pretty big.”
In fact, I didn’t give myself a lick of credit until other people would look at me wide-eyed and in awe that I had managed to meander myself from one side of the country to another in the no-plan-plan fashion. To me, it was so simple; I put gas in my car and I went in the direction I was headed. I slept when I was tired, and I drove if I had even an ounce of energy in my body. I wasn’t happy so I changed it.
When I make statements such as the one above, I want it to be abundantly clear that I am in no way implying that Connecticut was some soul-sucking black hole that I aimlessly and miserably floated around in for nearly two years. In reality, as great as it’s been to be back – I find myself 2,200 miles from my home and missing many faces more than I was mentally prepared to.
It’s weird being back – having lived here, moved there, and to be back here again. I find myself pondering the path that I am on and wondering why my road is so goddamn windy. Then I sit back and realize that it just doesn’t matter. We all have our paths and some are more clearly cut than others. Mine, for instance, has a lot of brush and woods to walk though. Sometimes it’s unclear where the trail goes. But with the brush and woods come wildflowers and adorable things like bushy-tailed bunny rabbits and dewey-eyed deer and it’s important to remember that even when you feel confused and disoriented, like you wish there was a sign telling you where to go, that the whole journey is all sorts of beautiful and not one to be taken for granted.
If I could take one thing away from this experience I would say this: Don’t dream, do. Follow your heart even when it scares you, accept that this involves risk and be at peace with the fact that things don’t always turn out the way you want them. If you aren’t happy, change something. If that doesn’t work, try again. Start making your life look the picture you have in your head. Don’t overanalyze the nitty-gritty details of everything because you’ll drive yourself crazy. Much like a hot air balloon, you’re only tied to the ground temporarily so cut the strings and go somewhere. Expand your world and your plane of existence.
Be able to look back at some little thing you wrote about in your blog 6 months ago and be able to say “Hey, I made that happen.” Give love to synchronicity and put trust the universe, but never forget the amazing capability you directly have to make your life what you want it to be. All you have to do to live the life you want to live, is to get off your ass and do it.