The message tonight is going to be a simple and clear one:
Half of adult life is just showing up. Making the effort. Being there. Especially at those times when you really, really, really don’t want to be. (See every after work cocktail party ever.)
Which by the way, I didn’t do last night. I didn’t show up.
Sometimes I’m afraid of this blog. Afraid of admitting that I have nothing new to say. Afraid that I don’t have anything to say at all.
But here I am, showing up. And so are you. We should be proud of ourselves for that. Because there are some people that didn’t. (And they’re missed out on all of the fun we’re having!)
Or “sn” for short. It was seahorse1790.
Because I loved seahorses, the number 17, and the year I was born.
And while I had other screennames (xzxRavenxzx and baileysays) it never occurred to me that I would be anything but seahorse1790 when I was young. That was my whole identity rolled up into a nutshell inside the jaws of a nutcracker. That was me.
And now that I’ve grown up, I have a different screen name. An adult email address (although I still use an old one for junk email). And a new identity.
But both of these screen names are still me. I’m just not naive enough to think that things won’t change anymore. I still like seahorses; they’re just not my whole life.
And while life is awesome and great and interesting as an adult, I think you also need to take time to take inventory of yourself, of who you are. Because the person you once were doesn’t always fit like a second skin when you get older.
And if you acknowledge the change, you may be able to get more use out of it. You might just be able to recognize the seahorse1790 part that is part of you too.
When I was in fourth grade, we took a swimming test. We were asked to swim freestyle from one side of the pool to the other. We were judged on our form and ability. We were then divided based on our skill level. (Yeah, I don’t get it either.)
As was always the case with my die or fail attitude, I wanted to be the best with all of the kids. I wanted to be in the most skilled group, no matter what. And after my second or third day in the pool, I got my wish. I went to the deep end with the other best kids. And what were they doing in that group? Treading water. That’s it. You couldn’t swim like the other groups. You just had to tread water. And I could feel myself going under and being unable to keep up.
So, I asked to be knocked down a level. I asked to be placed lower than my ability. And they allowed me to be in another group. My teacher would ask me everyday if I wanted to try again in the deep end, but I refused. I liked where I was. It was easier.
And I think that’s so important, even now. I wasn’t admitting defeat. I was recognizing the skills that I had and that I just wasn’t strong enough. I had to build up to it. It didn’t mean I wasn’t capable. It just meant that I was able to recognize when I was ready.
And you can too. Just don’t let other people define your limits OR your success. Only you can do that.
I challenge you to do something very difficult.
I challenge you to not do anything easy in your life.
You’re behind a young woman in a line for coffee (there’s always a line for coffee). You can’t see her face, but she has tattoos all over her arms. She’s wearing all black. You can’t see them all, but you can tell she has multiple piercings in her ears.
The easy thing would be to assume anything about her. That she’s a degenerate. That’s she’s super nice and chill.
But remember, I want you to stay away from anything easy in life.
So, what’s the hard thing in this situation?
Getting to know her. Striking up a conversation in the coffee line. And while first impressions aren’t always the best, you’ll learn so much more than you ever could by just assuming things about her.
I want you to do this whenever possible.
It’s easy to gossip about your coworkers. It’s easy to tear down an ex. It’s easy to be a small person.
It’s easy to be mean to others when you feel that some wrong has been done to you.
But I promise that the hard things, the learning, the taking a step back, the inhaling of a deep breath, will be worth it. And someday, they may become easier. They just won’t start out that way.
So, last night I posted that I was satisfied and grateful. And I am.
But I didn’t get there over night. I’ve been working toward that. Toward accepting what I don’t know and trying not to be upset when I can’t control it.
And besides the seldom zen moments that I had last night, my life goes a little something like this:
Wake up. Brush your teeth. Ponder your existence on this earth. Wonder why anyone reads anything you write. Wonder why you haven’t written a novel yet but a sixteen-year-old has. Eat lunch. Cry into your avocado toast. Leave work. Come home. Crank out thoughts of self doubt until you go to bed.
So, believe you me, yesterday was like one bright shiny penny in a change purse full of subway tokens. I promise that it doesn’t happen all that often that I’m happy with one part of my life.
But it can happen for you too with one simple rule: be patient.
If something hasn’t happened yet that you’re waiting on, it’s because it. Isn’t. Time. And you have to believe that. Because a watched pot never boils, and an impatient life is a rushed one. Have patience. Good things come to those who…
Where do you stand on second chances?
For me, I’m not so sure.
Because on one hand, I always think about how you don’t ever get more than a first impression. You only get one shot to show someone who you are and if you absolutely blow it, then that person is your friend but they remember how weird you were the first time they met you.
But on the other hand, I think life is full of second chances. Of times when you could have done better but didn’t, and you get the callback anyway. You get an opportunity, sometimes when you deserve it and sometimes not.
But actually, I don’t really want there to be second chances, in a way. And it’s not because I think I’m so confident that I can’t fail.
It’s just that…I want my efforts to count the first time. I want to make sure that I’m so on my game that I don’t have the option of trying again. Because in life, there are no dress rehearsals.
Everything means something more, something deeper. Essentially, you wouldn’t care as much if you thought you were getting a second chance.
So, when it comes to chances, I don’t see double. I have 20/20 vision.
I had a HUGE revelation today.
I’m all about pursuing your passions. All for it.
Except when it comes to quitting your day job.
I know, I know. Big risk, big reward. But there’s something keeping you back from starting all over and pursuing your passion isn’t there? (Yes, Bailey. It’s my crippling student debt.) Okay, fair.
But ask yourself — is your passion something you LIKE to do? Or are you truly interested and curious about it?
Because that’s what keeps me back from writing full time. One, because I love my blog and I don’t want to hate it because I have to rely on it to give me money. But two, and more importantly, I’m not curious about writing. I don’t want to learn about it. I just want to do it. It comes natural to me. And like most writers, I’m an egotist and I think I’ve learned everything I possibly can about writing. I’ll learn as I go.
But what am I truly curious about? Science. I am interested in science. I love listening to podcasts about any kind of science, but mostly anatomy. I get truly excited about listening to how the human body works. I hung on every word of a woman who described how she became allergic to meat. And it’s only taken me until recently to realize that I have a passion for science, but I have a love for writing.
The difference is that I can keep one as my mistress, and the other one keeps me up at night. (I’ll let you decide which is which.)
But the point is that when I stopped to think about it, I realized I could love what I do and still not be passionate about it. Just because I love writing doesn’t mean that I need to exorcise my soul to produce it. Sometimes, quitting your day job still doesn’t mean you are fulfilled.
I’ve been really stressed lately. (Who hasn’t?) And most of the time, when I’m stressed, I also get really forgetful (who doesn’t?). But I don’t mean I walk into a room and forget why I’m there forgetful. I mean, I turn on the water for a shower and then leave the house in my towel. (That hasn’t happened yet, but honestly, it’s only a matter of time.)
So, imagine my surprise, as I was taking notes during a call, I looked down and saw that I had written “take some time to travel.” Your guess is as good as mine about what that actually was about. I have no idea what it was in reference to or if someone had even said it. I’m not sure why I even wrote it down.
But in some small way, I want to believe that my brain was urging me to do something for me (for once). It was all like, hey, Bailey, it’s your brain talking. I know, I know, I named myself. How cool is that? Anyway, you’re working me way too hard. Why don’t we get out of here for awhile?
And I will be this weekend. Getting out for here awhile, that is. And I think, at least this is what my brain says, that’s exactly what I need.
And hey. Someone has to be looking out for you. It might as well be… you.
Sorry for the early post tonight, but I really need to get something off my chest.
I love the idea of karma. I love the thought that what you do, what energy you give out (because energy is never destroyed, just moved around) comes back to you in the way that you give it. So, what does that mean? It means that you have a choice on how to react every time life throws something at you. You can choose the low road, or you can choose the high road (and I’ll be in Scotland before ye.) It’s just that simple.
So, when we post our ups and downs on social media, for everyone to subscribe and imbibe, it can be pretty hard to remember karma. I mean, why should that person get a promotion over me? Or engaged? Or a baby? Or any other life event we think we deserve? And you can get so upset about what you don’t have that you push bad karma into the universe.
But I’d like to remind you that you always have a choice. And that while everyone’s highs are posted like banner ads on every social media outlet possible, so are the lows. You just aren’t looking for them because they are so minimized.
In the end, I wish you the best of luck in whatever you choose to do next. And that’s my karma. Your karma is how you choose to react to that.
A simple Google search will solve this question. From what I can tell from a cursory search, all chameleons come out as a base color but then change colors when they’re stressed, angry, and even happy.
And it makes sense that they have developed the evolutionary need to camouflage themselves.
But what about us? We can be different people when we’re angry, stressed, and even happy. So much so that it’s hard to remember who or what is just … us. What is our base color? Our neutral? Who are we when we’re most ourselves?
And then there’s also the way that society shapes us. Which mimics the chameleon’s need to blend in with its surroundings. Our emotions seem to disguise us, but so does our environment.
And while it is beneficial for the chameleon to make these changes, it can also be taxing.
So, I urge you to learn a lesson from the chameleon. To remember who you are at your core. At your base color. Because when you know that, you’ll always be able to get back to the basics.