Earlier today I was looking high and low in my room for my flash drive. I intended to take care of some business, but couldn’t find it. What I did find, though, was much more wonderful than a flash drive with a document that I need to send to the CA DMV ASAP (not hard to be more wonderful than that). It was my journal from when I was 18 and starting college.
As I flipped through its pages, one thing was glaringly clear to me: I am not so different than I was then. I described wanting to get out in the world, to try new things, to make mistakes and learn from them. I’ve always loved the analogy of weight lifting. You lift weights and purposely tear your muscles and when they heal, they are bigger, stronger. In the past 10 years, I have pushed myself to get out of my comfort zone and with each step, instead of existing outside of my zone, I have extended its boundaries. This is simultaneously wonderful and infuriating. Imagine, always seeking something new and different and, as if your own worst enemy, you turn it into something comfortable. On the other hand, there is a little touch of comfort everywhere I go; can’t really complain about that. I still seek that discomfort, a little bit at a time.
I also have a tendency in journaling to write advice to myself and reading my advice to myself from then, I can’t help but feel that I know my tragic flaw. I laughed out loud as I read pearls of wisdom from myself at the brink of adulthood:
“Stop worrying about being worried.”
Still need that reminder from time to time. All the time.
I don’t know if it’s the summer solstice or the supermoon or what, but something is good is happening here.
I went down to Millennium Park in Chicago for an evening of music under the newly summer sky and just as quickly as I had arrived and snagged a spot for my friends and I to picnic, foreboding clouds rolled in and an announcement was made:
“According to the City of Chicago there is severe weather coming in and you should find shelter. The concert will be cancelled.” (Some dramatic lightning and thunder to prove it).
In that moment, though I packed up my belongings, I wasn’t in a hurry. The storm was going to get me and I knew it. And I kind of wanted it to.
Then it rained. It rained real hard. It rained so hard that children were crying. People found crevices and overpasses to hide under. And I walked and laughed to the train. I needed this.
I had gone to Target to grab some snacks before heading to the park and if you’ve ever been to Target, you know… you never leave with just the thing you went for. So of course I had a tray of cheese and crackers aaaaand a brand new red dress. My things in Target bags were the only things protected from the rain, so once I made it to the train stop, I discretely, but still very publicly changed my dress (one of the many ways I know I’m still not a grown up). Now under the shelter of the train stop, but still so soaked even in my new dress, I marveled at this experience.
This rain, my new dress, summer, supermoons, all of it, it all means something. And it is good.
I just know it. It’s all good. I’m ready for this summer.
It didn’t even occur to me that there was more than one way to put toilet paper on the holder or that someone would prefer one way over the other until I heard the hosts of a morning radio show discuss it on my way to school one morning in high school. I was dumbfounded that they had more than a few callers-in who adamantly, as if a matter of morality, declared that one way was better. And now I am ashamed to admit that it drives me secretly crazy when the free end of the TP comes from underneath instead of on top. It’s irrational, I know.
This is not a passive aggressive roommate note, I promise. I know I’m crazy. I deal with it.
What this is is an observation about just how crazy I am. How is it that I can so strongly prefer one thing over another, when at one point in my life I was completely oblivious of its existence?
How’s this for a toilet paper holder?
The way the toilet paper sits on its holder, jelly in the peanut butter jar, the way one builds a campfire…
I have created my ways of doing things and developed my preferences throughout my 28 years here and you know what? Just as easily as they were created and developed, they can change.
So when I have a hard time finding the end of the toilet paper because it’s hiding on the backside of the roll waiting to come out from the disease-ridden TP cave in the bathroom wall, I take a deep breath, resist the urge to turn the roll around and remind myself that everything’s okay.
Maybe one day I’ll prefer it that way…
Naahhh… Let’s not get too crazy!