The Only Rollercoaster I Don’t Want to Ride
What sort of theme park rides do you love to go on? I guess I’m assuming you enjoy going on rides, because I think they’re fun, so obviously everyone should love them. But assuming you enjoy them, are you a log ride person? Or an insane drop ride person? A gentle, song-based boat ride? A thrilling and fast loop-de-loop roller coaster ride, with your arms in the air, screaming and laughing like a hyena (no? just me?)?
Do you ever notice how much a roller coaster real life can feel like sometimes? I mean, we all know I LOVE me a good roller coaster (god, I miss roller coasters). But when it’s day-to-day life, it can be easy to get whiplash from all the emotional ups and downs.
Case in point: After a hefty break from working on my manuscript (read: over a year of not working on my book, but insisting each month I’d get ‘er done while simultaneously creating zero structure to actually make it happen), I decided to dive back in and get the last sticky chapters handled. I decided I would be DONE by July 31st.
Now, while I can have a tendency to set unrealistic goals, this declaration was actually doable. I had more than enough time to do the work and get it done.
Spoiler Alert: I did NOT meet my declaration to complete my last 2 chapters by that Saturday night.
I worked all day Saturday and Sunday (yes, you read that right: I waited until the literal last day before my deadline), and wrote something like 7–8,000 words, but it wasn’t done. Turns out, I underestimated the research time needed for the pieces I was writing, since it’d been a year since I was last in there and I’d forgotten that I hadn’t done the research yet. It was really unrealistic to think I’d get it all written in such a short time. Ugh. Boo!
Well, technically, that’s not true. If I’d started 2 weeks earlier, when I set the declaration, I could’ve done it, no question. But I procrastinated until the pressure really set in, and gave myself 2 days… #classicBay
Lesson: Maybe look to see the requirements before setting a declaration.
Adam’s planned a top-secret, surprise birthday weekend adventure for me, so I’m being whisked away to who knows where, but our bikes and paddle boards are coming, so I’m excited. Yay!!!
Then I got feedback on a recorded call I submitted to my MCC mentor coach. It wasn’t the feedback I was hoping for and I cried a bunch. Ugh. Boo!
It’s Friday morning, so that means Adventure Time! Yay!!!
We’ve been leaving the front door open (we don’t have a screen yet, but it’s coming), because it’s been so unusually warm here and our house takes its role of being snug, warm and cozy very seriously even in the height of The Hottest Summer Ever On Record, apparently. So of course, just as we’re leaving for my fun birthday adventure (Yay!!!), I discovered mouse (please god, don’t let it be rat) poop in the laundry room, on the morning we leave for 4 days. UGH!!! BOO!!! EWWW!!!
Also, side note: Hermes (my cat) is totally useless. The laundry room is where his cat stuff is, and I imagine he just watched the rodent wander about his domain, taking precisely no action to remedy the situation. Good thing he’s cute, because a mouser, he’s clearly not.
So, where is the rat mouse? Sigh. Ugh!!!
I could go on, but I think you get the gist. Life is made up of the YAYS! and Ugh! BOOS! and everything in between. If I allow myself to get emotionally invested in each turn of events, I’m going to be stressed out, overwhelmed and exhausted. I know this to be true because I have empirically tested the method of being emotionally invested in every turn of events and that is exactly how I experienced life: stressful, overwhelming and exhausting.
The facts are that this all is what it is. Life will happen as it does, and some of it might be influenced or governed by my actions, but certainly not all of it. And most certainly, my thoughts, feelings and body sensations in reaction to the circumstances of my life have no impact on what happens. They just colour my experience of what happens.
So what to do with the ups and downs? Maybe, I can save my roller coaster riding for theme parks. Maybe not every little or big feeling I have about every little or big thing that happens is not The Most Important Thing in the world.
It’s not about dissociating or suppressing our emotions. I promise you will never ever hear me say that I think avoidance is a great emotional coping strategy. But what if, maybe, you could allow a feeling to wash over you, like the tide, which comes and goes, without delving deeply into psychoanalysis of what the feeling means about you, them and the world?
What if you could feel a feeling, give it a little nod, and then let it — and yourself — go on about your respective ways?
What if good things happening don’t mean you’re a good person, and bad things happening don’t mean you’re a bad person?
What if you could decide right this second that you’re a good person (it’s a better option, in my choice), and that life is going to happen, and that how you feel about it doesn’t mean anything about you? What would that create for you? For me, it would be freedom, which creates space for joy, wonder, adventure and peace.
I’m not going to lie: I have expressed frustration every time I’ve found a rat mouse poop, which has been daily (today, on the kitchen counter: BARF). It’s annoying, and more than that — it’s gross (HERMES!!!). It feels good to release a little frustration, because it’s just trapped energy that wants out. But when I catch myself thinking that this SHOULD NOT BE, I know it’s time to stop, and get out of the cart, because this ride isn’t going anywhere I want to be headed. It is what it is, and it’s time to call a professional to deal with it.
Life is short and I’ve decided this ride is meant to be enjoyed, not suffered.
How do you know you’ve accidentally gotten on a ride you don’t want to be on? What would you have to let go of, if your life was meant to be enjoyed and not suffered?