It would be a gross understatement to say that I am not a morning person. I remain traumatized about waking, reality, and life until about 11:30 am at which time I can start to form complete sentences and tell you what my name is. As a person with a day job that starts at 9 a.m., I have largely learned how to fake my way through my catatonic state on weekdays, but know that things like vowels and ideas are always difficult until lunchtime.
So today I was presented with the challenge of trying to figure out how the 5 happiness tasks fit into and around the workday. In order to fit everything in and leave any time for social plans or just to sit and stare at wall for a while (which is surprisingly easier and more pleasant than meditating, even though they look exactly alike from the outside), the time before work was going to have to be used for something more than hitting snooze 10 times (pathetically, I’m not using hyperbole). Fortunately the newness of it and my curiosity about how it would work was just enough momentum to get me out of the bed and the avoidance of the world that are both so very dear to me.
I decided that sitting down for a while before work seemed much easier than walking up hills, so I began the day with this one. Worried I’d doze off and fall out of my chair and then have to clean up a bloody floor, I had one cup of coffee as a safety precaution and then sat down for the dreaded 15 minutes.
But guess what?! It was so amazing and blew my mind! I’m totally lying, it was still f-ing hard and I was still pissed off as hell until about 12 minutes in–again. Something happens after a while of fighting it, and I’m interested to see if that span of horribleness shortens over time. I might even consider going longer to get a little more of the not-horribleness. “Consider” being the operative word there.
However, and I say this with great caution because I don’t definitely know if it’s tied to the meditation, I felt like a much more pleasant person after I was done. And while a drunken homeless guy spit sunflower seed shells at me and sang-yelled “Midnight Train to Georgia” on the train to work, I was barely fazed—I actually kind of felt for the guy and didn’t grumble about his volume or saliva on my pants. Again, I need more instances of this before I connect the two, but I’m noting it was there.
Random Act of Kindness
A very good friend of mine is going through a break-up from a pretty significant relationship. He definitely done her wrong. To cheer her up and provide some melodic empathy, I made a mix cd for her titled, “Boys Sucks But We Are Great, Volume 1,” with each song supporting the overall theme. Yes, I realize I’m a boy, too, but we do often suck. It’s true. I can own it.
Then I had to mail said CD, so I chose the post office that was the farthest away and walked there. It’s also in a pretty sketchy part of town, and by that time the kind and gentle perspective I’d had that morning had worn off, and the drunk, homeless woman who walked with me for a block and a half trying to get a $20 from me, just made me really uncomfortable. I could only access the surface empathy, not the real, true, deep stuff so that I could experience it with kindness. I actually thought “this sucks that I have to deal with this” instead of “this sucks that she has to deal with this.”
I didn’t feel like it was enough exercise, though, so I walked half of the way home from work, about a mile and a half. I would have actually walked the whole way, but I was late for dinner plans. Oh, I also did 20 pushups (and am already sore…yeah.)
Reflect on something good that happened
Loneliness. It is an awful, wretched, deep soul-suck of a feeling, as I’m sure everyone knows. Not having or growing up with parents, I always feel like I have a unique claim to it—a deep, existential, profound sense of knowing there is no one there to support you if things go wrong, or to help you through something, guide you like parents do, and after the loss of MawMaw that feeling only intensified. And maybe it’s true, maybe it does have it’s own unique flavor that accompanies the orphan experience, I don’t know. But what I experienced tonight is that it also might be utter bullshit.
I had dinner tonight with my roommate’s parents who are two of the nicest, smartest, wittiest, most charming people I know, and both have shown me incredible kindness, even at my most depressed. His mother is an expert blogger and has been following my own blog and given a lot of encouragement about the experiment. Tonight before dinner she sat down with me and pointed out a few things that I could be doing better, some tweaks to make, some things to think about, asked how the experiment was going, and ended up providing something more important than advice—she showed authentic interest and a desire to see me do well. And it occurred to me for the first time in years that it’s quite possible I might be solely focused on what I don’t have instead of what I do. Might sound sappy or cliché, but it’s also 100% truth.
3 things I’m grateful for:
1) Jennifer Maerz, a fantastic person and writer, for believing in my own writing.
2) The brief moments of peaking out of the shit hole that you’re convinced you’re stuck in and getting a glimpse of something un-shitty.
3) Jalapeno Jack Pretzel Crisps. Seriously, have you tried these things?!