I don’t want to talk about the election. I checked out of a bad date once after the girl told me she would never vote because “it didn’t matter.” She also had a back piece of Ron Burgundy that said “I’m kind of a big deal,” and used the word “self-absorbent” when she meant to say “self-absorbed.” For the rest of the night I plotted my exit and also pictured her as a human tampon thanks to her grammatical faux pas. To her and the 46.6% of people who didn’t hit the polls I want to say REALLY? For the 11,000 people who voted for Harambe, a dead gorilla, kindly go fuck yourself – seriously. All I am going to say is that I am sad, and I am scared – but I am hopeful. Perhaps it’s because I practice reckless optimism, but all I can do is to continue to live my life with grace and kindness, greet struggle with strength, and continue to exist in the world no matter what it looks like. A great woman once said: “We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”
Today was a good day. I woke up at 8 am on the nose. I don’t know who in Gaia’s name I have become because I have been known, if left to my own devices, to sleep until noon unless physically dragged out of bed. Waking up like a human, at a reasonable time, allocates almost an extra four hours for me to live in a world that I previously hadn’t. I called my Mom to check-in while I was making some eggs -sunny side up of course. We used to check-in every Sunday and we hadn’t for a while, so I figured it was as good time as any to restart that tradition. We talked topically about politics and she proclaimed: “It is what it is so just dance and give him a chance.” Did I mention my Mother is a living and breathing manifestation of Dr. Suess? I agreed to the dancing portion of the proposition and considered with how weird she was, it made sense I was her spawn.
Much like any other Salt Lake City dweller/cliche, I knew today was one for the mountains. I wanted to be in them, on them – I wanted to metaphorically make love to the Wasatch Range. I think I got a third of the way through asking Nora if she wanted to go for a w-a-l-k before she was at the door screaming her head off in disdain and wondering why she wasn’t already in the car and on her way. In the beginning of the hike we passed the typical plethora of people getting after it on their holy day. Bikers struggled up inclines and I felt lucky to be foot and not fighting gears and wheels to get where I needed to go. Virtually everything in Utah is uphill, this is a lesson I’ve learned. The summit and view will always be worth it but there’s seldom a casual saunter around a lake, you always seem to go straight to the top of the world.
We followed a paved path for three miles – passing canyon walls, wildgrasses, and sage. Nora happily trotted along, the few passerby’s we saw would smile at her and comment on seeing such a tiny dog on such a tall mountain. Little did they know this dog defies quantum psychics when it comes to Chihuahuas. When I adopted her I gave her two choices: live or thrive. I’d be content AF dressing her in fuzzy pink sweaters and having a pint-sized lap warmer for the rest of time, or she could learn to hang. As a result she can scramble up sandstone in the desert, ford a small stream, and leap up rocks with the certainty of a mountain goat. Yes, she’s still entirely yappy and neurotic but rest assured – she hates wearing sweaters much to my dismay.
We eventually reached a point where a watershed area started and dogs were no longer allowed. This sat fine with me because I figured if Nora was anywhere near as tired as I was, it was time to turn around. There was a small clearing with a deserted picnic table just begging for us to take a rest before our descent. I immediately felt overwhelmed with a feeling I couldn’t quite put my finger on. The sun was shining down on me, my body was burning in the kind of way that feels good, and then I realized it – I was just fucking happy. I wasn’t worried about anything, I wasn’t in pain, and I felt completely and totally at home with myself. It was the slightest moment but I realized I needed to be happy for that moment, because that moment was my life.
With everything that’s happened in the last week I have to remember this: our choice doesn’t end at picking a President. We also get to choose what kind of person we are at the end of the day, how we treat others, and how we treat ourselves. Each and everyday is full of decisions and it’s up to you, no one else, to make good ones. What you stand for, what you do, what you will and will not tolerate. You choose the company you keep, so surround yourself with positive people who are likeminded. If you feel like certain people are the fat that needs to be trimmed on your skirt steak, do it. It is entirely up to you to keep what serves you and leave the rest behind. For the love of God please never stop speaking your mind or truth but be kind to one another and post more cat related videos in your Facebook feed.
Be a decent human whenever possible (it’s always possible) Practice self-compassion and passion towards other people. Be happy, no matter what you are facing – because happiness is the key to all things great.