Together

How many times have I said that I’m going to get my life together this year? This month? Heck, this week. How many times have you said it? It’s something we’ve all said and will say over and over again, especially if you’re in that dreaded mid-twenty age range. Such a commonplace phrase, usually meant sarcastically, and yet it packs so much truth that it almost hurts. It’s like this- “Oh yeah, I’m going to get my life together this year, haha, sob sob sob, ha, sob…” and then just going completely deadpan because you have no idea how to get your life to what people call “gether.”

But I have a question for all the un-together people out there- what does having it all together even look like? The obvious answer is that it looks different to everyone depending on what they want out of life, blah blah blah. And that’s true! But isn’t the real problem as simple as not knowing what your own together is? Maybe. Shouldn’t you know the answer to that first so that you can come up with a clear plan of what you want in life and how you’re going to attain that? Probably. So then, that means that if you know exactly what you want and have a clear plan of action that you’ll own the secret formula to your togetherness? Hell no.

Example 1.1-

Objective- Own a home, be successful in my job, healthy marriage/relationship, healthy savings account balance, be debt free.

Plan of Action-

  • Use money earned from job to pay off debts, put unspent income to savings account.
  • Use money saved plus money earned to purchase home.
  • Stay faithful to current job and employer, invest self into work.
  • Maintain good communication in relationship, go to counseling when needed.

Ok, so this is a really rough outline. If this were an actual life plan, there would be a bulleted objective with a much more detailed plan of action with sub-bullets for days. Don’t judge, please. Generally speaking though, this looks decent. It’s clear and concise, even if it is a bit scant. Either way, life does not care about your plans. There is no magic equation to success. Perhaps your significant other is unfaithful, you get fired from your job and have to use that healthy savings account to live on, and then go into even more debt. Does that mean that you’ve failed? Absolutely not! The plan failed, not you. I mean, the failure feels pretty personal but you’re still not a failure. From this plan could be backup plans from A-ZZZ and every single one could fail horribly.

Are plans stupid? Kinda, but it’s still good to have at least some semblance of a plan so that you can guide your life in a particular direction. Just don’t be too discouraged when the plan fails, and be adaptable enough to pick yourself up and adjust your sights a little bit. Having a good attitude and being flexible is seriously half the battle. The fact is that getting your life together is a continual process, and you may never get there. I don’t know if anyone ever really does have it all together and have everything figured out, so it’s pointless to ever compare yourself to anyone else. Plan, try, fail, and plan again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

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The Book of Life

This Is Your Life

It’s late, 12:30 AM to be exact. I know full well that I shouldn’t be out for an evening stroll because I should be in bed, it’s dangerous, I shouldn’t be out alone after dark, and all of the other reasons that my mother ever gave me for being safe inside at a reasonable hour. However, I cannot sleep. My mind has been completely overwhelmed and therefore restless as of late. There are far too many thoughts crowded what feels like an ever-shrinking yet ever-expanding head. Rather than resort to the vices I’ve come to know and love over the years, I go for a quiet, peaceful walk in the park near my childhood home. The quiet is the most refreshing and lovely sound I have heard in weeks. It gives me a chance to just be, and to not hear anything at all. I can think all of the thoughts that I want to, and being outside gives me the space to let them escape into the universe so that I don’t have to house them inside myself.

As I am walking, I come to a bench and decide to take a seat and allow myself to drift off into the expanse. Approaching the bench, I see a book lying there. “Ah, someone must have left this here by accident,” I think to myself. I can imagine them sitting there among the lovely trees, watching birds land and take off from the small pond near the bench while they lose themselves in a fascinating story, and I hope that they enjoyed their day. I pick it up only to see my name branded clearly across the front of it. At first I only thought it was a tattered paperback that someone had left behind. The outside was torn in places, parts of it had been taped together but looked like they wouldn’t hold up very well, and in all honesty it looked completely tattered. It looked worn out, like someone had read it a hundred times, chewed it up, spit it out, put it in a shredder and then tried to piece it back together again. The spine, however, was pretty well in tact. Confused and curious, I open it.

In the upper right corner of the very first page is written April 21, 1989, my birthday. The very beginning of my life, and it is detailed in this newly discovered book. My first few precious moments of life, the look of pride and happiness on my mother’s face, and the pure joy of my grandfather. I am reading it all from my own perspective, even though I don’t have any conscious memory of it. Fascinated, I keep reading. I read on and on, through my first crush (in pre-school), my first day of kindergarten, the time I got chicken pox. I make it all the way up to my fifth grade graduation when I realize that it is 3 AM and I am still sitting on a park bench in a semi-questionable part of town. I quickly and quietly scurry to my car and drive home. I try to lay down and get some sleep, but after about fifteen minutes of trying to get comfortable and calm my mind, I decide to just get up and read more of my life.

The experience is quite surreal because I am reading every event, every moment, every emotion of my life from my own perspective. It’s as though I kept the most detailed diary (no, not Facebook) and am experiencing everything all over again. My first kiss, my first love, the day my grandfather died. As much as I want to skip this part, I know I can’t. I didn’t handle it well the first time, and now I feel like I get to do it again. Experience every bit of that pain anew, allow it to penetrate my heart, and then accept it. Dare I go on reading? Yes. I get through high school and it’s just as unpleasant as it was when I was actually there. I move past it and get in to the questionable college years. I see every single bad decision and am amazed at how stupid I was. Why did I do that? Why was I friends with them? Ah, and then we meet my husband. Reading about him and our relationship from an insider’s outside perspective, I scream at the book. NO! Why are you doing this? RUN! Run AWAY! Don’t do it!!! Your Mom is right!!! Of course, I know what’s going to happen next and I can’t stop it. It already happened. Only this time, I see the writing on the wall. I see what was there the entire time and wonder why I didn’t listen to my mother…or myself. Soldiering on, I relive every tear, every fight, every time he tried to make it up to me, and then every time he only let me down again. I find that there were some happy moments there and for a second I want to highlight them. I change my mind, though, because it’s in the past and I don’t need to remember the good or the bad at this point. The divorce is spelled out here as well, for me to revisit, even though it’s still a little fresh.

Finally, I catch up to the present. Right this very second. The next page is a mirror. It’s thin and light just like every other page, but it is unmistakably a mirror. Doing what everyone does with a mirror in their hand, I hold it up to my face. Do you know what I saw? My reflection, obviously. I’m still here, alive. Pages and pages, chapters, years have gone by. Some ugly things happened in this book, but some very lovely things happened as well. God continues to wake me up every morning. I am still here, so it must be for a reason. If I had no more purpose, God would call me home. Yet every day, he grants me the present. I do what anyone would do in this moment and cry. A lot. It’s the kind of crying one does when you realize that you’re still standing, even though circumstances and people have tried to knock you down. After a while, I get up and make myself a cup of coffee. I haven’t exactly gotten an acceptable amount of sleep, and also need to calm myself a bit. All of these thoughts and memories are swirling around in my head, but it all feels so much better than it did before. It’s like I was able to truly organize every thought I’ve ever had, and my mind is clearer than ever. It’s a truly liberating feeling, and I don’t quite know what to do with myself other than enjoy the quiet for a moment. The cats come and lay down with me, and I slip into a nap for about 30 minutes. Upon waking, I see the book sitting next to me still.

It wasn’t a dream. I really did find a book of my life and read it. It’s even still open to the mirror page. But wait, there’s more after that page. I mean, of course there’s more. Obviously my life goes on. Is there anything written on those pages, or is it blank and waiting to be written? I take one last glance in the mirror and flip it over. There’s more. Flipping through the rest of the volume, I see that every single page is covered in text. My whole life is in here, beginning to end. Whoa, the end is in here, too. If it hasn’t happened, how can it be in this surreal diary? If I read it, it’s like looking in to the future. I would know exactly what happens in the rest of my life. I almost feel like that’s cheating, though. No one gets to know what happens before it happens. Only people in fantasy novels get to see the future. But, I’ve already read the past, so I might as well read the future, too. Making another cup of coffee, I sit down and prepare for another night of reading.

Words Unspoken

Literate for a Day

I’ve had you for three years now. Three lovely years of seeing you grow. At first, you were so small that I could just hold you in my hands, and now you sprawl across all of my upper body when I hold you. You have the most beautiful green eyes I’ve ever seen, and the shiniest black coat.

Other people don’t understand you, but I do. You’re just protective and don’t like approaching people you don’t know. I get it, and I always have. I always defend you when they say you’re mean because I see the sweet side of you. I see the you that always comforts me when I’m sick or when I have a migraine. You’re so gentle with me, and I know that you can sense my pain. You’re especially amazing when I’m sad, always knowing the perfect time to jump into my lap and soothe my sadness. Your purr is truly medicinal. I hate that no one else sees this side of you, but at the same time, I’m glad that you save it just for me.

You understand me. You know exactly when I need you most, and you know exactly what to do at the perfect moment. I will always appreciate that you sleep at my feet every night, as though you want to stay close to me but also respect my space. It comforts me to see you when I go to sleep, when I wake up in the morning, and especially when I wake up in the middle of the night. I feel safe when you’re with me.

I especially want to tell you that I’m sorry. I’m sorry if I sometimes don’t appreciate your kindness and unconditional love. Sometimes I just don’t know how to accept it. I’m mostly sorry for The Big Scary Man. I had no idea that he was hurting you, though I had a suspicion. I know that you didn’t want to be close to him at all, and that sometimes that meant you couldn’t be near me either. I am so deeply sorry that I ever let him hurt you. Please know that no one else is ever going to hurt you again. I will always choose you. I am your forever home, Zoey.

I don’t tell you that I love you nearly enough, even though you show me that you do every  day. I love you so much, and I am so blessed to have found you. I’ve had you for three years, yes, but it’s you that truly has me.

Love,

Your Human