The Next Time Your Train Catches on Fire

I’m a pessimist in the worst of times. And I’m a pessimist in the best of times. I don’t know; I just can’t help but see the negative side and err on it. 

I mean, I’m not really a half empty kind of pessimist. I’m more like “that guy probably has a knife and he’s probably here to kill me” when I’m in the self checkout line at Target pessimist. 

But today, I experienced something a bit different. You see, I was evacuated from my train home because it was on fire. Yeah, you can read that again. I’ll wait. 

So, a whole train of people were evacuated onto a street in the freezing cold winter air, coughing from the smoke. And when we came above ground, we realized we were not exactly in the best part of a city that’s not exactly (or at all) the best. 

But something came over me. Instead of freaking out and giving into the tears pressing behind my eyes at being in a place alone and not being sure how to leave it, I started to take stock. I had gloves and a hat to help against the cold. And my phone was charged, so I could make any number of calls to get me out of here. 

I guess in emergency situations, after your mind does the freaking out part, you have no choice but to look on the bright side of things. It’s what keeps you sane. 

And maybe, this blog is really rubbing off on me. Maybe I am really learning to look on the bright side. Maybe I’m a born again optimist, or I’ll be there someday. Or maybe I’m just wayyyyyy too used to our country’s transportation systems and dealing with crises. 

The point is that the next time your train is on fire, try to find a silver lining. Because chances are it can’t get much worse. And if it can, there’s always something to be hopeful about. 

That’s Life. 

So, I was going to write a post about something really trite and how you should take time for yourself and yada yada and there would be a cool metaphor tie-in at the end like there always is and you could get on with your weeekend. 

But I have a question instead. How do people live life? No, I’m serious. This is not a metaphor or even an existential question. I want to know how people live with their whole life hanging over their head. The disappointment and fear and hope and joy. Like, every opportunity you do or do not take shapes you. And no matter how much you want something, it doesn’t matter, not even a little. 

I mean, I wanna wake up covered in burritos with Ewan McGregor singing “Elephant Love Medley” next to me in bed every morning. But what does that have to do with anything? (Good question.)

It doesn’t have anything to do with anything. I mean, I might as well be a dust mote floating through a sunbeam rather than a sentient being, that’s how much my wants and desires matter to the universe. That’s how little

And the thing that really gets me is that good people don’t get the things they want, no matter how hard they desire it and wish for it and want it. Like, how do we deal with that? Hard work means something, for sure. But what about the intangible? Just the want of something? 

And all we have to show for wanting something when we show up to the competition and don’t even receive a participation trophy is someone saying “that’s life.”

Well, this is my rebellion. Just for one night, I’m going to say that “that’s life” just isn’t enough for me. I want to know why it just doesn’t work out for two people who love each other, or why that job wasn’t a perfect fit, or why people who never mess up get hurt when other people make mistakes.

For one night, I want to know why. 

But I don’t think I’d even be comforted by the answer. Because that’s just life, isn’t it? And we’re all comfortable with the knowledge that it just doesn’t work out sometimes. 

And so am I, usually. Just not tonight. 

Up All Night

“Look at us, baby, up all night.” — the Eagles 

“Nothing ever good happens after 2 A.M.” — Ted Mosby, How I Met Your Mother

These are my favorite quotes about staying up late at night. And they have another thing in common: they tell us that staying up late is definitely not a good idea. Like, bad stuff goes down. And then you’ve absolutely messed yourself up for the next morning when you’re groggy and sleep deprived and so ready to drown yourself in a vat of caffeine. 

But what else are you supposed to do? When the sun sets at 4:45 and your body starts to fold in on itself with the hope of going to bed, how do you let it? Don’t you have to stay up late? 

My answer is that you do. And it’s actually another one of my resolutions. I’m going to be staying up later each night. Why? Because I don’t have enough time during the day to do the things that I need to. But more than that, I don’t have time during the day to do what I want to do. Which makes Bailey a dull girl. And a very uncreative person. 

I mean, just about every successful person, at some point in their career, has dedicated their time to doing what they wanted to do. 

And a lot of those people swear by getting up in the morning, making some strong black coffee, and doing that thing before life really begins, so that they can have some time to dedicate to their passions. 

And there’s those people and then there’s me. I love my sleep, don’t get me wrong. I’m going to actually dedicate my first book to my pillow because it helps me fulfill my dreams (what?), but if you want to get something done, then you have to …um, do it. And because we’re all overachievers, and we have lives, sometimes the only thing to do is stay up until midnight a few nights a week and resist the urge to get some shuteye in order to do what I wanna do. 

And I can’t wait to stay zzzzzzz…..


So, what are your New Years resolutions?

C’mon, don’t act like you didn’t make them. Don’t pretend like you’re too jaded for the new year. (Although I will admit, you can start to be a new you any day of the week. You really don’t need to start at the new year.)

So, why didn’t you?

I think the biggest reason people don’t make resolutions is that they think they need to “resolve” something. They think they need to start at square 1 and be at square 365 by the end of the year. That everyday needs to be pure progress instead of one step forward and two steps back.

But that’s the nature of things, really. It’s a process, not a one and done. It’s why you should think of yourself as being “resolute” in your resolutions instead of resolving something. Just be firm in what you want to do and you won’t notice that the problem at the end of the year isn’t fixed. You’ll just be happy that you focused on something for a whole year and put your energy into it.

So, what are my resolutions? I have a lot to be “resolute” on, but here’s a couple:

  1. Lose weight

I’m sure that one is no surprise to you, and it’s probably on your list too. The problem is that it’s really generic. You need to set goals and deadlines for weight loss goals, not just say you’re going to do it. Like, I’ll lose 2 lbs. by March 1, etc. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll set your goal really high but will be really happy with any progress at all. For me, I’m going to try to eat less carbs and focus on meat and vegetables as the main part of my diet. (What do you expect? I have two food allergies! There’s not much left!)

2. Learn a new language

Not every resolution has to be about making yourself better. It can just be something you want to do. Focus your energy on learning something specific like a language or a hobby, and you can count your time working toward your goal just by reading about it on Wikipedia. (It’s a lot less strenuous than exercising!)

3.  Notice more

Sure, I can achieve this just by putting down my phone when I’m  walking down the street. But this also means noticing when I’m happy and noticing when my body is sore and when I’m thirsty and when I’m bored and everything around me. Because we internalize a lot of things all day, but when was the last thing you actually noticed something? Really took it in? (I’m hoping this blog will help!)

And that’s it! Have a great year out there! Just remember to be resolute, not resolving!