So that busy patch at work is pretty much over, for the moment. It looks like I’ll have a few days of breathing space before I have to start busting my ass on another needs-to-get-done-in-a-month project. Yay. Definitely no more 12-16 hour days for this weary blogger. I left work at like 6 today, and man, am I psyched that there were still several hours of daylight left. I think my kayak may become a semi-permanent fixture on my car for the remainder of the warm-weather days.
As I was driving home this afternoon, I found myself drifting back into those “they don’t pay me enough money” thoughts. Again was I looking at the houses in the neighborhoods I drive through on the way home and wondering why I don’t own an home and garden. How I’m ever going to pay off that $100k student loan debt that can be so unbearably burdensome. How exactly I’m going to tell my boss that he needs to give me a raise. Et cetera.
These are not good thoughts for this weary blogger to have. They quickly turn into an endless loop of self-pity and get rich quick schemes – most of which involves quitting everything and starting life anew. “If only I could move to Phoenix, everything would be fine.” Phoenix?? wtf is in Phoenix? Nothing, but that’s where my thoughts take me. Join the CIA and be a covert operative, living out of a suitcase and lying to everyone. I’m a pretty good liar, but it makes me feel icky when I do it. So I don’t. Too many things to remember, to paraphrase Samuel Clemens – or was it Mark Twain who said that? And who’s speaking now – Ted Wallace or niceguyted?
Whatever. I find it easier to maintain that zen-mindset when I’m busy as sh*t – the next right thing is always right in front of me. I’ve always been self-mutilating when I’m not occupied. There’s a bird like that – the grey macaw, I think. In the wild, it’s just fine. But in captivity it gets bored and just sits there, pulling out its feathers. It’s supposed to be a wicked sma’t animal, too.
So this afternoon, when I started down that endless never-gonna-make it loop on the drive home, I did two things – I couldn’t tell you which one I did first – I started smiling, and I made a mental gratitude list. And I reminded myself that all I really have is this one moment – nothing else. And at that particular moment, I wasn’t at work busting my ass, the sun was shining, and I was driving (which, incidentally, is one of my favorite things to do). I had Disturbed’s “The Sickness” blasting, and the windows and sunroof were all down.
The whole smiling thing really works. The muscles of my face remind my brain of what it’s like to be happy, so my brain opens the tap on the happy brain chemicals, and I feel better almost instantaneously. If it doesn’t work right away, I usually start laughing, because I’m pretty sure I can outwit my brain – and I think that’s funny.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past few years, it’s the power of laughter. And that power is pretty much endless – at least from what I’ve found. It’s taken a little work (not really hard work), but I’ve managed to make laughing my immediate reaction to just about anything. Ask my sister what the first thing I did last summer when we were walking back to her apartment from dinner in Astoria and we realized that I hadn’t left my driver’s side window open the whole time – someone had broken it and stolen my GPS. I laughed. Whatever. I can always buy a new GPS (I did), and at least I still had a ride home and it wasn’t raining yet. And, parenthetically (though I’m not going to use parentheses for this sentence), my no-sense-of-direction-having ass had been to Katie’s place enough times that I knew how to get home without needing the GPS – ha!
Anyway, to wrap up: the physical act of smiling, coupled with the mental run-down of the things in my life I was thankful for pulled me right back from the brink of self-pity this afternoon. Easy-peasy-jap-an-eesy. Try it, it works – better stats than Sex Panther. Trust me.