Do you know that feeling when you’re leaning back in a chair, and then you lean back too far and start to fall and at the very last second, you catch yourself? I often feel like that. It’s that feeling of being on the verge of a big breakthrough and then the THING happens; anything happens. Life happens and disrupts the balance. You can either tumble into disarray and somehow figure out the best way to climb back up, or catch yourself at the last possible moment.
This week, I made the conscious decision that I’d much rather save myself a headache from smacking my head on the concrete floor.
Truth be told, I’d been starting to feel like most of the things I used to take the edge off of other things were becoming mute. Again, I’d like to chalk this feeling up to February because I vaguely recall the same thing happening a few years ago, and as soon as March rolled in, I bought a plane ticket to Las Vegas, hit the ground running and never looked back. It’s easy to lose momentum in the winter.
There are undoubtedly infinitely better things I can do with my time—I could read more, take more hikes with Shooter, or finally start that homemade compost bin (I’m embarrassed to admit that there are more containers of frozen eggshells and coffee grounds than there is ice cream in my freezer.) I keep putting things on hold because I think I’m too busy searching for answers and inevitably find myself spinning in the same circles as before. So many things keep taking a backseat in my life until I’m convinced that I’m standing on solid ground, ready to tackle the next big thing.
Then I realized, that’s like saying: “I can’t climb 5.10 until I climb 5.7, 5.8, 5.9……”
And that simply isn’t true.
I keep forgetting that things don’t have to happen in chronological order. Maybe I’ve watched too many shitty Hollywood movies that have portrayed false impressions of how certain things are supposed to happen (finding a career, falling in love, making lotsa babies). And who’s to say that any of those things are going to happen, anyway?
We’re all running our own race.
If I keep expecting these things to happen at a certain time in a certain way, I’ll likely be disappointed. It’s easy to look at people who have a seemingly perfect life and compare, but you don’t know everything about everybody. People who appear to have the “perfect” life probably worked much harder at getting to where they are than you realize, or it’s all a facade. Either way, you can only be you, and you aren’t everyone else. You’ve never been. Facing yourself is tough, but it’s more real than scrolling through someone’s Instagram page and wishing you were someone else, somewhere else.
And me? I may never be rich, but I can be happy and that’s something. And I’m usually where I want to be.
Before Christmas, I went back to work full-time for the first time in years. My last day was three weeks ago. I was utterly disappointed in myself, but I’m trying to morph that disappointment into encouragement. As much as I wished I could have stuck with one thing, I’m not the kind of person who can do something that doesn’t fulfill me. So when I find the thing, I’ll probably stick around a little bit longer. And until then, I can’t worry about the rules that didn’t come from me.
You can’t create your life first and then live it. You live it. I can’t sort things into a nice, neat sequential order and check them off a to-do list and expect the same satisfaction. When I was preparing to climb Fists of Fury a few months ago, I commented on how unshakable my partner always seemed. Sam Latone, a paramedic dispatcher in the south, said:
“This is a lot like my work. You’ve just gotta go with the tools you already have.”
Chances are, you’re probably a lot like me and have more experience under your belt than you give yourself credit for. And a job isn’t a life. It’s only a part of one.
In life, there are so many moving parts and they only multiply as we get older. There will always be an infinite number of paths. As long as the one you find yourself on is led by love and not fear, things (in general) will be fine. If you feel confident in decisions that are made from the heart, you’ll be happy with any road you end up on.