Lost between Nebraska and Idaho
My company sent me to Chicago to help fix a floundering client relationship. Lying on the floor of my hotel room with ESPN on in the background, I spent the evening talking to one of my dearest friends who currently lives 16K miles away. Long distance friendships are #trending so hard right now.
Per usual, we catch up on life, new music, romantic exploits, current events, etc. After speaking about aforementioned topics, the tone of our conversation gets a little too real and I begin over-sharing.
On this very evening, I may have had one too many bourbons. In retrospect, I just forgot to eat dinner (place dunce cap on head). Original plans changed from dinner and drinks to JUST drinks, and plenty of them. Because of this dunce cap & bourbon combination, I reveal way too much.
Fortunately our friendship has been built on a solid foundation of trust and the understanding that judgment is reserved for Jacob/the Smoke Monster or Simon Cowell or God. As it was, and forever will be, a friendship with no judgment. Amen.
Through bourbon-laced tears, I say, “I’m afraid I’ll never meet the right person, have babies, and be a mother.”
The fact that I have said this aloud is Exorcism of Emily Rose-scary. Why you ask? It is a tough actualization, an embarrassing one to admit to another person (and now you). I have spoken it into the universe! I said it, it exists, and someone else heard me say it: there are no take-backs, especially in the game of Life.
After my rant, he quickly delivers a verbal smack to my face. “You are not stupid. It’s o.k. to be hopeful for those things you want,” he says. “But you also have to be o.k. that it may not happen,” he stated.
I have expectations - we all do: we are humans with brains and hearts and innate desires. There is a certain path we envision for ourselves, but we forget reality can veer us from our preferred trail. As much optimism or hope we have packed in our wagon, no amount can prevent whatever the universe sends you: a dust bowl, tornado, famine, dysentery, illness….your oxen will die and you may never make it to Oregon. That is life. You have to be accepting that there are things you cannot control, despite the outcome you desire.
There are certain parts of life where investment yields results – where “if I put energy into x, I get y” makes sense. For example, my life is comprised of close relationships forged with family and friends. It takes effort to maintain those relationships, but it is obviously a beneficial use of my time and energy because I love these people. When feeling particularly unattractive and sluggish, a 5-mile run and a new lipstick usually provide the ego boost I need to get out of a funk. I felt stagnant in my previous job and after a move across country, I found one that blossomed into a career.
Relationships, health, and career - these are things that can be changed based upon time and effort. But meeting the right person to build/share the rest of my life with? I have no control over that. I am not emotionally inaccessible. I am not a hermit. I am attractive-ish, at least to the construction workers of New York. Universe, it is up to you. Meet me half way.
My incoherent babble with my friend continues. We go back & forth until ultimately, I just throw in the towel. “You’re right,” I say (I do not want to hear sagely wisdom anymore because I am an irrational lush). He warns me that I have week to “get over this shit” because it is unlike me. He also reminds me that I am a mere 27 years of age, and I should not be reaching for the panic button just yet.
Afterward, we talk about our plans of a rendezvous in Europe. Jokes are said, laughter cannot be contained. It’s basically the way all conversations end in Full House, except we do not hug, but fill the void with plenty of vulgar jokes.
Ten years ago, we sat in my Ford Aspire (this gem) parked in his parents’ driveway. We looked up at the stars, felt small, and thought of our respective futures. He said, “I am going to move back to Japan one day.” Through non-alcoholic tears I said, “O.K.” He quizzed me, “and what about you?”
“I want to get out of this town,” I answered.
We have no idea of how our lives will unfold. If we maintain a certain acceptance that 1.) We cannot control everything and 2.) Let’s just go with the mother effing flow - severe disappointment can be avoided. If you want to feel better about yourself, work out. If you want a better job, work towards it. For all the other shit you cannot control, do not worry, for it is out of your hands. Worry is a wasted emotion. It’s like eating celery, it takes up space in your emotional stomach, but it doesn’t contribute much to your overall well-being.
In 2033, I may be an unmarried, unbabied woman living in the Lower East Side with a dog named Amadeus and a cat named Moe Sizlack. Perhaps I am an owner of a digital record store because in 2033, everyone will want to download their music on gadgets versus downloading music directly to their brains (my prediction on the future). This may very well become my reality in 20 years and I
should would need to accept it as such. As long as I still have the people I love in my life, it doesn’t sound so bad.