Yesterday was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. It started as I was getting dressed in the morning. I was talking to Chris in the bathroom and I proceeded to rinse my contacts with my contact cleaner, not my saline solution. I scream in absolute pain, and Chris had to help me try to get the contact out of my eye (my eye shut completely and I had to pry the contact out). Eventually I was able to get the contact out, and flush my eye, but then it closed completely again. Ugh. What a way to start the day.
This event makes me incredibly late for my first meeting. I am frustrated and cranky that selecting the wrong bottle means for a painful and late morning. I go to a few meetings, and meet a friend for lunch. As I am telling her about my morning I look down and find a bug nestled in my salad. Yes, it was in my first bite too. I am starving and I do not have much time, so I pull out the piece of lettuce move it aside and proceed to eat the rest of my salad. Over our lunch conversation we talk about the days where there is a domino effect where one aspect is off and it continues throughout the rest of our day. She says: “It takes energy to be angry.” What an ah-ha moment for me. At the moment I do not have time and space for lost moments.
After lunch we walk back to our building. It is absolutely pouring down rain. She is trying to steer me away from a puddle I do not see. Yep, just like the rest of my day (contacts, bug) I do not see a puddle that is a foot or two deep and I walk through it and there is no way out. I was all in. So frustrated and discombobulated I think: “maybe I should just go home.” I do not. I move on and go to my next meeting and the one after that and proceed to maneuver through the rest of my day, slightly grumpy, slightly frustrated. I still remember my lunch and her reminder: “It takes energy to be angry.” I have to laugh it off and let it go.
It is hard though. While the events of my day are “first world” problems, these are the days when I think: “why me” or “why do I even try?” The good news is today is a new day. It is fresh, different, and I get to try it all over again. I will be more aware about my contacts and the puddles from this crazy amount of rain we are getting. As for bugs, well I am not even sure what to say. More protein?
I am not a fan of walking into a mall before Thanksgiving and seeing Christmas decorations or hearing Christmas music on the radio. You know the drill. One holiday at a time. I know each year they start earlier and earlier and this year, because Thanksgiving falls so late, it means there is a short three-week window between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So I am the LAST person to talk about Christmas before Thanksgiving. However…
…yes, I am breaking my own hardcore rules. I could not resist sharing some laughter and Christmas hilarity before Thanksgiving. About a year ago I wrote a blog on “Poo-pourri.” Well, I have a Christmas update for you. Father Christmas, Santa, whatever you call him. You grow up leaving him a plate of cookies and milk or egg nog. Over the years you start to wonder how does he get into my house if we have no chimney? How does he carry all those toys on his back on a sleigh and still be able to fly all over the world — that would be too many toys. Did you ever ask yourself if he ever made a pit stop that night? After all those milk and cookies did you ever think that he might have had to take a poo?
There are clever lines galore inside this three-minute masterpiece, not to mention all the sound effects and extremely clever lines like: “The ghost of Christmas ass; Gingerbread Manslaughter; I have been holding this since Dubai; So you can keep sneaking without reeking; Your dingleberries will smell like jingleberries.” I am still laughing…
I was talking with a colleague yesterday during lunch and the topic of giving back came up. How often do we sit in our own world and think about how hard our life is each day? What if we took time each week to help out another individual? I do not mean just to sit and listen. I mean something that we do with our entire body. We help out in a soup kitchen, donate our time in a homeless shelter, adopt a family, be a big brother or sister.
I spent many hours each week doing community service in college. There was a part of me that related to those in need. Obviously I did not relate to the incarcerated youth I worked with each week. I related to their need and desire to matter. I related to their desire to be cared for, loved, and respected. I taught a writing course one evening a week, and while there were times where I was absolutely out of my element (not on the writing portion) but on relating to teenage boys who did something in their life to be incarcerated. How did I have a clue what they needed? How do we ever really know what another individual needs?
Back to my lunch conversation. We discussed that many of us in our own ways want to support and give to others in our community. At times when we might feel most alone in our life and might not know how to give to others is when our world has been turned upside down. Yet, maybe that is the time when we need to give the most. When giving pulls us out of our own mucky world and shows us all that we truly have each day. How do we do it though? How do we get out of our comfort zone and take the leap to get out of our own world and make the difference in someone else’s life?
I have always told Chris that whatever child/children we might have, community service, taking care of our neighbors, and giving back is something that will be integral to how we raise them. I want them to see the difference between the have and have-nots. I want them to know that the world is full of people who are very different. We should never take for granted where we come from and all that we have in the world. Sometimes our gratitude comes from seeing all that we have through the lens of another person. If we are full of love to give to others how can we ever feel alone?
We could go through much of our life and not give a damn about anyone else. What a bore that would be, right? I was a sociology major in college, which for some of you that might mean a chuckle and a smirk and a comment of the sorts of: “Where did that get you?” Well I am not a doctor, or an architect, or an engineer. All professions that probably need a highly skilled sort of curriculum in school to ensure that we are not given the wrong drugs, our homes and buildings are do not collapse, and, well, engineers — they solve all sorts of problems.
I am here to tell you that I am an engineer of people. As a sociology major, I studied people. While many might think: “how are you applying your degree in your career?” I want to say back to them, “Every damn day.” I work with people all day long. Most of my days are filled with meetings, which are filled with people. Not everyone has the desire or patience to deal with people all day. Maybe I should make a button that says: “I was a sociology major, and I give a damn about people.” I would get lots of laughs, or perplexed looks, maybe a few strange questions.
Regardless of what I studied, or what others think about how that prepared me for the real world. I live my life caring about people, their todays and their tomorrows. Their feelings matter, what they are going through, what challenges them, if they take a stand in life. I care about it all. At the end of the day, we all work for different types of companies, businesses, non-profit, for profit. Whether we make art, sell a product, are in sales, provide customer support we all somehow have to deal with people. The business or company could fade away, the product could bomb, and yet we would still have people. So why not treat them right, take care of them, and help them to be better.
We all have things in our life that are the constant battle for us. For me, it is finding balance. I have my ups and downs. There are days and weeks when I nail it and others when I struggle horribly. I try to do too much, help too many people, my to-do list is too long. I want a clean house at the end of a weekend, clean laundry, my personal life caught up and in order before I start into my week of craziness and full days. I want to connect with people, listen, and do what I can to help. Sometimes though it means my life is a little out of whack. Learning to even out the teeter totter of my life is all part of how I continue to hone me.
At times I find an idea that helps me remember that I am not the only one that struggles with the adventure of learning more about myself. A recent example comes from Shauna Niequist’s blog post: “Glimpse:”
“But I am inching, and I’m learning so much, and the awkwardness is worth it and the fumbling is worth it and the growing pains are worth it, because every once in a while I feel something inside myself that I haven’t felt for a long time, and it feels like peace. And every once in a while I experience a moment of connection with Aaron or the boys that feels so much deeper than my old way of living used to allow.”
As well as from Oprah’s: “The Life You Want” tour, Elizabeth Gilbert spoke about wanting to remove the word: “balance” from vocabulary. She says:
“‘With no offense to the word balance, I feel that that is a word that we have to be careful of lately because I think it’s become another tool in the arsenal that women especially are using against themselves as one more thing they’re not doing right.’ She later says: ‘let go of the word. For me, peace comes when I … embrace the beautiful mess that I am,’ she says. ‘And embrace the beautiful mess that you all are, and that this world is, and just let it be that’.”
So let’s all embrace our beautiful mess of a life. Enjoy it, soak it up. Let the dishes go, sit on your butt a bit more, have someone rub your feet, and just be you. Let go of what you did not get done today, or how much you might berate yourself for doing too much. It is what it is. Be you. Beautiful mess and all…