OK, I’m late. I’m sorry. It’s been my general intention to write and post on the same day the tasks are completed, but I did complete all of the tasks yesterday (day 6), and I have a good excuse that involves one of the five happiness tools. So instead of posting last night, I got myself out of bed on a Saturday morning (insert grumbles) to post this now.
My thanks to those of you who checked in wanting to know where Day 6 was. That’s proof that this is working and people have an eye on me. Had I been doing this quietly and alone, I admit that I probably would have just decided to skip the Day 6 write up. But as I discovered on Day 5 that the writing and reflecting is an important part of this, and this morning, this early, early, Saturday morning where I’d normally still be wrapped in Joe’s loving, 100% cotton-y arms, I am grateful for everyone reading this and keeping me squarely and honestly in the game.
Day 6 was another busy, stressful day at work. So stressful that I couldn’t contain my anxiety as I waited for the train to show up. Knowing now that it was possible to walk to and from work, I left the train stop in a frustrated huff and walked/ran to the office. I showed up sweaty but had worked off some of the morning’s stress. So, oddly, that kind of worked out, and I had the exercise thing out of the way for the rest of the day.
Random act of Kindness
This is the one I’m blaming for my tardiness. It takes some explaining, but be warned—it might be akin to “the dog ate my homework.”
I forced myself to leave my stress at my desk and take a moment to enjoy sunshine and other people. So my colleague and I went out for lunch. We’re having a disagreement about the best burger in town, and I’ve tried her candidate, so forced her to try mine. (She wouldn’t admit it, but I think I won). As we were walking there, we passed a young guy sitting on the sidewalk with a sign that simply read “Hungry.” Another clear request. So while at the burger place, I got an extra one for him.
But when we got back, he was gone. I had this extra burger in my hand, and someone was going to get it. I ended up spotting an older man covered in dirt and pushing a shopping cart of random items, so I walked up behind him and asked if he wanted something to eat. I startled him, and he said, “Yes, but don’t sneak up on people like that.” He thanked me and said, “Have a good whatever-time-of-day-it-is.”
I don’t know why, but somehow this didn’t feel like the appropriate completion of this particular task. He was digging in the trash and clearly needed food, so I don’t know what my problem is with it. I think it just didn’t feel random enough; I feel more like I hunted someone down who I thought might need something, and it was probably random for him, so I think I need to just drop whatever hang-up I have about this. But it stuck with me.
After a long workday, a very lovely friend of mine had me over for dinner. I got home at 11:00 pm intending to write up the post, when Turbo (our pet bunny) greeted me at the door. This is significant. Turbo has complete freedom to be anywhere in the house he wants, but it’s like scary ghost bunnies live in all rooms but the living room. He never leaves that one room. He’s also a very social animal, loves people, and had been alone all day. So to find him in the front hallway meant that he was desperately lonely and needed some interaction now.
And there it was. That could be the act of kindness that I could really feel proud of. This poor, little guy needed someone. So I sat on the hallway rug with him, and we shared cheerios and some seriously heavy petting. After about an hour, exhaustion ate me up with the fervor of a bunny on a cheerio, so we both hopped to our respective beds. So, in conclusion, my bunny screwed up my homework.
I had 20 minutes between getting home from work and needing to leave again. I brought all the office stress home with me and wanted to pace in circles while constantly checking emails. But I meditated instead. Yowza! Something clicked. Something profoundly clicked. Somehow meditation made sense to me. I instantly understood its purpose, its goal, why it’s important. It was still hard as hell, but I feel I passed through some curtain of understanding (of which there will probably be many), and the anxiety didn’t completely disappear, but the urgency of it lifted.
Reflect on something good that happened
This bout of depression has made me feel particularly awkward around people. It started with just feeling bumbling around strangers, and has since bled into feeling like an uninteresting, maladjusted idiot around everyone I know. I have this constant feeling that I have nothing interesting to talk about, nothing nice to say, completely self-conscious, and that I should err on the side of saying nothing or keeping the conversation centered on the weather and the funny thing I read in the Onion.
As I mentioned, a friend of mine had me over for dinner last night. It was just the two of us in her cozy apartment, and she went through great lengths to prepare a pretty fantastic meal on a Friday night when you (read “I”) really just want to sit in front of the TV with something cheese covered and delivered. After a couple of glasses of wine, we started talking about this blog experiment, and she asked me questions about how the experiment was going, and soon we were in a conversation about kindness and what it means to be happy.
Then it hit me that I was talking about something interesting and meaty, that WE were talking about something interesting. I didn’t have to stick to boring surface stuff. And I was reminded of happy times in college when I, and everyone around me, had all this access to new knowledge, and we were excited to talk about things like meaning and what we were learning. I loved those times and those conversations and who I was then. And in this moment, now, with my friend, I felt it again and noticed that I felt…wait for it…happy.
Gratitude (I am writing these before I go to sleep and tomorrow Randy is not allowed to edit them and must include this caveat when posting tomorrow)
1) For the moment today when I realized the things I used to love about myself aren’t gone forever
2) My friend Monica and her eggplant parmesan
3) That song I just listened to 8 times in a row and I don’t know the title but it’s really, really good