- Al Michaels
You know how people sometimes start their stories by saying, "So I was in the shower..."? And then go on to tell some grand idea or revelation about life that they had whilst showering. Well, I had a pre-shower moment. (because I'm cool and hipster). I was in the bathroom about to take a shower after a less-than-victorious run and I was reflecting on the feelier things in life. I wanted to write it all out and post it but then I hesistated because I thought that it was too angsty and I am tired of being angsty. I mean, sometimes it's fun because I make fun of myself for it and my friends find it endearing. But, no matter how much I convince myself I'm just writing about my fears or things I'm learning or going through it always comes out so dramatic and heavy? I justify it by saying I'm just being truthful and honest and vulnerable. But, no one else takes it that way or appreciates it. But, then I realized something that stopped me in my tracks. And I unlocked the secret key to the meaning of life! (JK). But, I think I've gotten closer to shedding off my angsty-ness and becoming a more mature, spiritually normal (I won't say healthy just yet) person. I have found the difference between angst and a lesson worth sharing: distance.
I can feel things pretty quickly. And usually the second I feel something my mind goes into inner-monologue mode. Which translates to me immediately wanting to whip out my journal or computer and write something out. Which then leads me to want to share what I wrote because why write something if you can't share it? But, the problem with that, and why it turns out so heavy and dramatic, is because I'm right in the middle of it. The emotions are all around me. I don't have the right perspective. I'm probably feeding myself lies. I can't really write something that speaks to lessons learned that others can glean something from because I haven't actually taken the time to learn the lesson.
When I step back, process what I'm feeling privately and with prayer, and then live I might actually learn the lessons that I was meant to learn and not the lessons I think I need to learn. I need to live through it, get past it, and then maybe sit down and write out what I gained from it. Then, I can write about the heavier, more open and honest and vulnerable things in life without sounding like a junior high kid who discovered the color black for the first time.
So, I will try to live this way. I will try to not give life to my feelings, thoughts, and facts of my life before they are ready to be birthed. I will try to live life before I comment on it. I will try to let God and life and others show me what lessons I need to learn. And I will try to be less angsty as a result.
Or, I should just become a song writer. They can be as angsty as they want and people pay them to do it.
I'm scared for my life. I'm scared I won't work hard enough. Because, I see this life in the distance that I think I want. And I am beginning to see the different roads I hate to travel to get there. And it all seems so good. But, that doesn't mean I'm tempted to want to take the easy way. But, the road is narrow that leads to life. And I know that is talking about Jesus and about Heaven, but I think it fits in other instances too (God can do that). The road is wide that leads to death. Or failure. And a life that is less than. But so many people go down that road or are at least tempted too.
If you really want your dreams, you have to take the narrow road. I am starting to realize you have to live life a little differently. Too often I live by the rule "she's doing it, so it must be okay for me." I have wasted so much time on that excuse. To have life, to do the things that bring me the most peace and joy, I have to work. I have to know that I don't know anything and seek to understand. I have to practice every day. I have to ask for help. I have to read. I have to write. I have to watch those who have gone before me and try to find their footsteps.
But, what if what I think I want is actually not what I want? I'm scared for that too. I think that's why we put off the hard work. Or dread it. We like to keep our dreams in our heads. Sometimes, we don't want our dreams to turn into reality. Because it's so much funner and easier to live that fantasy life in my head. I could spend hours and hours imagining my life. And that brings me a slight satisfaction. But, if I do it enough, I believe it can be enough. Because if I bring this dream to the light and strive for it, I may never get it and it may go away. And that is scary.
Somedays I don't know why I have these dreams. Somedays I am jealous of people who's number one dream is to be a teacher. Or an accountant. I want dreams like that. I don't want to dream to be a writer and actor. I don't want to dream to live in LA. It's too hard. It's too scary. And I'll probably fail. I know that. But it is the "what if" that wakes me up. The "what if" that has gotten me this far. And it is the life lived in between. Who I will be on the other side, no matter the outcome, makes everything worth it. The things I'll learn and the people I'll meet will surely enrich my life in some way.
So, I'll try to take the narrow road. I'll try to fight the temptation to stay on the wide road. To only work half as hard as I should. To not work at all. I'll try to always be a reader and a learner. I'll strive to practice every day. And to sleep more. And to enjoy the life lived in between.
If you know me even a little bit, you probably know a couple things about me: I want not much more in life than to be a hipster and I care way too much about instagram. I try very hard to dress like, talk like, listen to the same music as, and take as good and artsy pictures as hipsters. I want my instagram account to appear in magazines for it's beauty and creativity.
But, I have come to realize that that's not me. In some ways, I am hipster-ish and I am artsy-ish, but I am not what I think I want to become. I have come to find a style that's my own, a personality that's my own, and a feed to reflect my uniqueness. And I'm becoming more and more okay with that.
I like my instagram account. I like it for what it's not. I like it for what it is. I like that I try to only post 4X3 pictures (because horizontal is the best) but every once in a while there is a picture worth posting that is not 4X3. I like that my instagram is mostly big group selfies mixed in with some "self portraits" that are usually as awkward looking as I am. I like that I still try to capture the beauty of every day things just because. I like that instagram is a highlight reel of my life. I am reminded enough about how mundane, boring, hard, and sad life can be. I don't need instagram for that. I need to be reminded more of the good parts that meant something enough to document. I like that I'm slowly accepting that sunsets will always be prettier in person but that it's still nice to take the picture.
I like that it's not a hipster account but it's also not a junior high boys account. (I'm still salty that they will, without a doubt, get more likes than me). I like that I don't have pictures of objects placed on my bed in a certain way to show my "study hour" even though we all know you weren't actually using all those items. I like that I don't feel the need to take pictures of my food. Or my coffee. I like that my account doesn't look like every other single account on instagram. I like that it has multiple colors and is not the same picture over and over.
If that's you, I like that. But, I also think we're more unique than we show through our instagram pictures. I like that I'm becoming more okay with not becoming what I've always wanted to become. And I like that every year I feel like I'm finding more and more who I am.
If this is angsty, sorry.
One of my biggest pet peeves, that I have admittedly done plenty of times but am trying to stop, is when people don't ever really deny you. They deny you under a lot of maybe's and false hopes. When people respond to an invite with "I don't know if I can come." Or "I'll try to come!" or "If I get done with my homework in time!" or "If my only other option is to hang myself, sure, I'll come!" Across the board, people have learned to accept this as a "no", but technically it's not a no. It's a very cowardly way of saying "I don't want to come." I have done that so many times even when I know without a doubt that I can't come. "I don't know if I'll be able to make it because I will be working." I'm so afraid to say no. To hurt their feelings. But, I do have work.
While that is a pet peeve, I think a deeper frustration is how easy it is to flake out on people these days. Back before cell phones, if you had a plan to meet up with someone- if you didn't show you were standing them up. And they might think you're dead. Now, all you have to do is send a quick text "I'm going to have to cancel!" So people follow through less and less and become increasingly flaky. Or, maybe the better way to say it is we make a lot of empty promises. I have done this countless times, but I have also been on the receiving end of it. And I realize how crappy it makes you feel. Especially when you know they're empty promises. You can read it through every text they send promising they will come soon. And they keep pushing back the time. Keep adding on the excuses. Now, sometimes the excuses are real. Like, your friend is throwing up everything inside of them at the moment. And I've had to cancel for health relating reasons in the past too.
I think we just need to be better at meaning what we say. And we need to learn how to say "no". We can't be afraid of that word. But we can't say "yes" in the moment, knowing later we'll find some reason to say "no". If you say "yes"-- do everything in your power to do it. Be there. Follow through. Don't say "yes" unless you know you can and you want to. I know I would be less offended if people outright denied my invitation. I'd still be offended, but it wouldn't sting as bad. At least there is no room for false hope.