This past week we’ve been housesitting, or, as I like to call it, “Pretending to Be ‘Real People.'”
Suddenly we have a dishwasher and a dog. It’s always a big deal.
The most enjoyable part about housesitting is the dog since it gives me a kick in the pants every evening to go on an hour long hike.
A couple days ago, I took our canine charge out on one of these excursions by myself. As we wound around and through the evergreen rainforest paths I started to think about my life. In caps. MY LIFE.
And as I walked I thought about how things are hard sometimes. Sometimes things are really hard. Sometimes things only feel really hard, but aren’t as hard as what other people are going through. Sometimes you want more friends. Sometimes you’re worried about the next month’s rent. Sometimes you just had a crappy day.
Sometimes you wonder if “this is it”–if this is how things are going to be for the rest of your life. And even though things may actually be pretty great…and you realize that things could be a lot worse…you realize that stasis is actually a terrifying, terrifying feeling.
And as I walked and thought about all these things, I realized that I’ll never be happy with staying the same. And I realized that that was just fine. I realized that I’ll never be content with throwing in a towel on life and saying “Hey, that’s good. I don’t have to try or do or see or learn about any more things. I’ve got what I want and that’s all I need.”
Because, the thing is, I’ll always be reaching for more, for newness, for experience, for change, for betterment. I just will.
When I was growing up, we had a sign in our house. It said, “Bloom where you are planted.” And I get that it was all about finding happiness in the things you can’t help, etc. etc.
But it always made me uncomfortable, that sign, because when I read it, I read: “Learn to like everything, even if you don’t.”
And my teenage self thought, “No.”
That was it.
No, because I don’t believe that I’m powerless to change my circumstances. No, because I believe that my life is something that I act on, not something that acts on me. No, because I’m not finished yet.
It bothers me sometimes to hear people say that all you need to do is change your attitude if you’re unhappy. Well, maybe that’s okay for many things but it’s not okay for all things. If something is wrong or feels bad in your life…maybe, going out on a limb here, maybe the solution is to pull on your hiking boots and high tail it out of that situation as fast as you can go. Don’t just plop down in the mud, shrug your shoulders, and say, “Well, I guess I should learn to like it.”
That’s so weird. But people do it all the time!!
As we wound out of the trees and onto the cliff-side trail, I took a break to sit with my borrowed dog on a bench and watched the ocean for a very long time. And I thought, “Things are always going to be okay because I can live my life how I choose to live it. That power will always be mine.”
That realization was a big deal to me. Even bigger than housesitting has been, if you can believe it.