“I've lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”--Mark Twain
In a previous life before I started working at do-over.me, I was a student of Fiction Writing at Columbia College Chicago. After graduating, I worked as the editor of two literary magazines. As such, I lived, breathed, and practically bathed in the realm of fiction. I humbled myself to the entire short story process and then when I had known it at a subatomic level, I dismantled and tried to reinvent the wheel. As often as I edited fiction, I also write fiction. There is something so wonderful about letting your imagination run wild in a way that people find entertaining to read.
As such, I am no stranger to imaginary situations. On any given day, I can imagine anything and everything and I know you do, too. It's just how the human mind works. I feel like anxiety is the intersection where imagination and expectation meet. It's human to expect things a certain and desire patterns. I think I read somewhere that people like to find patterns everywhere because it's comforting, we don't like chaos.
But recently I've found, making peace with the chaos has been a profoundly blissful experience for me. It's not that I don't prescribe expectations still, I find in cooking and in work that setting myself to a goal is very useful and rewarding--but I don't like to set imaginary expectations for others around me.
Humility is important to me. I'll admit I was a very petulant child (putting it lightly) and I don't know when exactly I became humble, but I've liked how it feels. The universe is so vast and ever-evolving that to be set in one's ways is to miss out on the entire experience. Humility and gratitude go hand-in-hand for me and I feel like by being an eternal student of life, the world can always surprise you. Another quote I like quite a bit is by Carl Sagan:
“Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved?”
Living your life with childlike wonder at what the day can bring is humbling. It can also be a form of self-care.
What I love about do-over.me is the fact that anyone can come in here, at any point in their lives, and not be judged. Life throws you curveballs, it never goes as we plan it. And while plans might be nice, chaos likes to weave itself into the fabric of our lives regardless. Rather than hating on it, why not just acknowledge and accept it? And yes, there are people out there who won't be as kind to you, but you're not living your life for them and their expectations: your beautiful, complicated life is your own and it's amazing.
I've been thinking a lot about where I give my power to: for a good chunk of my life, I gave it away to people who made me feel less than. I believed all the horrible things that were said about me, but one day I began to let go of it all. It was a slow process, but it felt good to be my own champion. I took back my power and I took back my anxiety from the chaos. I reconciled myself to the havoc and heaven of the universe.
It's never fair to define a person by what little you know of them. I'll end with one more quote (again by Mark Twain): “Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.”
Expectation puts a cap on things, I prefer the unexpected--life is meant to be an adventure.