Day 29

I’ve always loved the word penultimate.  One, because it just sounds good.  It’s a pretty word.  Two, because it’s a fancy way of saying “almost there” and carries with it so much hope and excitement.  Even if you’re talking about the penultimate horror, well, you’re almost at the end of that horror and you’ll be free of it soon.  On the penultimate day of this experiment, that word evokes a feeling of approaching accomplishment.  It’s been a long time since I’ve made good on a promise to myself, and there’s a montage playing in mind as I write this of all the tough and good times over these past 29 days.

Before I dive into this day, I want to take a moment to thank everyone who has been reading through this, for the support, the encouragement, the advice, the concern, and just being there.  I am convinced that doing this publicly has been the thing that has kept me going.  You’ve held me accountable in the best of ways and you’ve kept me company through some work that could have been painfully solitary.

I’ve been reminded that there are people who love and care for me, something you often forget when you’re a miserable fuck.  I’ve learned that there are strangers out there who are kind and helpful and looking out for people they don’t know.  I’ve met people with similar struggles and have been introduced to a community of like-minded people who refuse to give up.  And best of all, I’ve made some new friendships built on authenticity, honesty, and kindness, and learned that it’s never too late to make new friends.  To everyone who has been following along, I owe these 29 days to you.  Thank you.

Exercise

I woke up late today, so the day got away from me.  I had to do my weekly grocery shopping, so before I went, I mapped out the hilliest route there.  I conquered every steep hill between here and the market, even the ones I avoided when I first started this project.  The hills were still hard, especially so many in a row, and there was no one there to see me if I had decided to give up.  But there was a shift in focus that I noticed today.  I thought more about the result of the exercise than the effort itself.  I kept going because I knew it would make me feel good, and I even ran a few because I could.

Random act of kindness

This one is so ripe for all kinds of new discoveries and realizations, and a new layer of the kindness onion opened up for me today.  In its essence, the random act of kindness is a moment in your day where you think about someone else.  Pure and simple.  It gets you out of your head and into the heart of someone else—their needs, their journey through life.  This one doesn’t have to be so hard, the acts don’t have to be elaborate.  It’s like how I learned that meditation was really just about focusing on something, the acts of kindness are really just about putting someone before you.

Today on my walk up steep hills, I noticed a bunch of nails on the sidewalk that spilled out on to the road near a construction site.  Normally I’d keep walking, this is someone else’s problem and doesn’t affect me if I stay clear of them.  But I stopped and thought about other people—a kid running barefoot in the sun, a driver in her car who gets a tire popped.  So I picked up the nails and put them in a pile, out of the way, but where the construction guys would see them.  It wasn’t really a direct act of kindness to benefit any one person, but for a moment today, I thought about other people.  And I suspect that this is a sign that this one is becoming less of a task and more of a behavior.

Reflect on something good that happened

When I got to the market, for a little while I was me again.  The old me that likes people and makes friends easily.  I wasn’t full of fear, judgment, and annoyance of every stranger I came into contact with.  I talked to an Italian woman about salmon, an older gent about the best way to cook peppers, and the cashier about his day (he even gave me some free stuff, so friendliness pays).  I’ve missed that Randy, and it was really good to see him.

Meditation

A therapist that I used to see in Los Angeles gave me a guided meditation on CD a long time ago.  I’ve had it in my iTunes list for years now, but it’s pretty much been on the shelf.  It’s a meditation designed for people with post-traumatic stress disorder, and she asks you to imagine a guide that stands next to you while you explore your own heart.  It always seemed a little too “feely” for me, so I’ve avoided it, but remembered today that I had it, and in the spirit of experimentation, I thought I’d give it a shot.

The instant that she said to imagine someone next to me, I immediately thought of MawMaw.  I could feel her near me, I could clearly see her face, I could remember what her hand felt like in mine, and we spent some quality time together traveling through my emotional state.  Today was the first day that I meditated while being a sobbing mess.  I wasn’t ready for that meditation before today, and I am incredibly grateful to that extraordinary therapist for giving me some time with my grandmother today and for proving that it’s true that the people you love never really leave you.

Day 29

3 things I’m grateful for:

1)   All of the readers, the commenters, and the supporters

2)   The kindness of the cashier at the market today

3)   That the old Randy is still in there somewhere—thanks for not giving up on me

4)  Time with my grandmother

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11 comments

  1. Bettina

    Aw, Randy, that picture and story are beautiful!

    Please don’t stop writing at day 30, I LOVE reading your posts every day! They are a really bright spot in my day, even when they are not all happy. I myself struggle with depression and my job is not exactly fulfilling right now, so I’m drawing lots of inspiration for change from your posts.

  2. Cindy del Valle

    And I have missed that Randy too. Although I wasn’t there for the grown up version, I am thinking your MawMaw sees the same one I did. Welcome back.

  3. Niki Holmes

    Randy,
    I so enjoy your post. It is a little happy spot in each of my mornings. I have been cheering for you all along, but you should know that your writing serves as a little daily affirmation for me. In our world, we are bombarded by images and ideas through marketing, advertisement, and media–most of them unpleasant: the unattainable perfection of the model’s body, unhealthy food to temp us, and the discomforting political fracas that is unceasing. Every day.
    WIth you posts, I have found that I enjoy offsetting the negative with a positive reminder of your four goals–goals that prove a tiny shield against the bombardment–but a shield all the same–and that shield is one I need, too.
    On this penultimate day, I thank you for sharing your happiness journey and enriching my soul, too.

    • randyscotthyde

      Thank you, Niki. I feel the same way; that messaging seeps into your soul. I have a sneaking suspicion now, though, that we can generate our own positive reminders that things don’t have to be so terrible.

  4. deborah briskin

    randy,
    thank-you so much for sharing this month long experiment. i looked forward to reading it and following your
    journey each and every day. congratulations on your efforts and accomplishments, and for teaching me so
    much. you’re a terrific writer and i hope to read more posts of yours in the future. i especially love your drawings
    and their captions. hope to meet you one day…….xo

  5. Calebshane

    Love ya, boo. I have appreciated all of your insight through this process. Thank you for sharing. Ultimately, it seems one big random act of kindness to me. It’s been a really good month for me too. That might have had something to do with you. 🙂

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