Friday, October 7, 2011

The Happiness Chronicles: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Just arrived in Rhode Island after a day bearing no resemblance to the Pan Am show, just happy there are no weigh ins anymore.  But enough with the shop talk....

I have been considering the tactics I’ve employed in the past to make improvements to my life and how effective they were.  One idea I really went for as a young adult was that of REINVENTION.  Looking up to Bowie and Madonna and anyone else who could create a new persona at the drop of a hat, I decided early that if I didn't like it, I should change it.  New hair, new dude, new job, new apartment, new city, all equaled new attitude.  I mean, I didn't  know if I'd like it unless I tried it, right?  Also a selling point of reinvention is running away from the old me.  With every new relationship/living situation, there was an opportunity to start completely clean, to distance myself from all the mistakes I had made, to recreate myself from what I learned from all the flubs.  I chalked this all up as part of being young and adventurous and carefree and all that.

As I grew older, the reinvention principle became exhausting.  I picked a guy and a job for the long haul.  And having both for over a decade showed me the amazing benefits of applying patience and time to your endeavors.   Long term commitment can provide trust and security and solace and predictability and ease.  I was no longer running away from my mistakes; I learned from them without divorcing myself from the person capable of screwing up.  I let my guard down knowing that I had a secure foundation and took comfort in not worrying about the perils of finding new employment and suitors and friends and housing and all the stress and mental negotiating that such situations can bring.

Fast forward to moving to Chicago recently.   My skills at going it alone were pretty rusty and were being managed by the brain of an anxious middle aged broad.   I once again became enthralled with the idea of reinvention and the high that it can provide.  The last few years have been a fantastic learning experience and I’ve really stretched my notions about what’s possible when you put your mind to it.  But I’ve also noticed a marked increase in some not so winning aspects of my personality that are seriously exacerbated by being a solo act... I am impatient, impulsive, irrational and make the snappiest of snap judgments. My iPhone isn't fast enough, I want to punch aimless people on the moving walkway in the head, I want everyone and everything  to react yesterday, I take every quiet moment as an opportunity to write my own version of what’s going on instead of just waiting for time to unfold the details... everything that's not to my liking is a waste of time and a SURE sign I should be on a different path.   It leads my BFF to make comments  ranging from, “There’s really no harm in waiting before you do anything" to “Jack McCoy would not approve of your conjecture” to “Holy crap, I’m glad you don’t have access to the nuclear codes”, depending on the situation. (no shit, she has made all these brillliant/hilarious observations, that’s why she remains on staff)  I fantasize about new relationships and jobs and apartments and cities to live…..all the while losing sight of what’s great about what’s currently going on.  I guess it’s same escapism employed by dudes ignoring their significant others to look at porn….the great unknown allows you to think that unchartered person/job/apartment/city won’t be rife with the current bullshit you’re dealing with….you could start over in a bigger, better production of your life, starring the new and improved you.  But I've taken to reminding myself that every aspect of life has inevitable ups and downs, just as if our porn loving friends REALLY got with Amber Lynn, she would have days she'd lose her come hither face and tell them to take out the trash already.

This bigger picture became clear to me while I was rewriting a story I wrote last year, lamenting to myself and anyone else who would listen, "But I'm not that person anymore!"...the person in question had projected all of her fears into her body image.  I was annoyed that evidence of "that person" existed, when I should have been celebrating who I've become instead....a slightly more confident, slightly less anxious
gal, ever clawing her way up Maslow's pyramid.

Is this is to say that I’m sticking on the horse I’m currently riding forever?  No.  I can’t really see growing old on the El train living by an airport.  But I guess the point of this reflection is to say that perhaps nothing is a waste of time….everything takes exactly as long as it should, even if it seems to end abruptly without my permission or drag on endlessly.  And it's completely fine to not have a plan, opting to let the universe and the test of time and careful consideration dictate what should be changed  instead of constantly acting on every whim and always trying to get the world to bend to my will.

Thanks for the blog support....let's all get incrementally happier together, shall we?

1 comment:

  1. As a wise friend used to always say, "Wherever you go...there you are." I like to say, "Wherever you go, you are no longer where you once were." It all sounds way more prophetic after a few bacon martinis. ;o)