Life happens so fast, and opportunities often come our way at lightning speed. I don’t care if we’re talking about a creative opportunity, a personal goals opportunity, a career advancement, the chance to see or do something new, a moment to look at the stars, or the opportunity to visit with a friend you haven’t seen in a while.
I’ve really learned something this year, and I intend to own it. That is, to try my best not to be so wrapped up in what I’ve got going on, so absorbed in my very important things, or so embedded in my daily schedule (or how I think my schedule should be) that I don’t, can’t, or won’t seize those opportunities, big or small, when they come.
In light of the current state of things and our “new normal”, seizing the will to simply get through a day can seem downright daunting. To paraphrase a rogue artist friend, “These days things seem to take twice as long, are twice as hard, and can leave you feeling twice as tired and burned out.” Wherever your seize the moment barometer is at present, it’s okay… believe me, it’s more than okay.
I’m not saying you’ve gotta do everything, be on point at all times, be a superhero, or anything like that… but I am saying, be aware of the excuses that you know are bull-garbage and start taking the time for the things you do want, for the things you don’t even know you want. Embrace being flexible and adaptable. Start saying “Yes. I’m here.” for the moments you’d regret to miss, for the moments you don’t even realize you’d regret to miss until you regret you missed them.
It’s never the right time, you’re never dressed appropriately, you never prepared as much as you’d hoped, there will never be enough hours in the day, something in the house always needs your attention, things never happen the way you think they’re going to, and you’re never going to be 100% ready or comfortable.
Your heart will always be racing, your shirt will always have that wrinkle, your lizard brain will always be searching for an “out” an “exit strategy” or a “rock to crawl under”. Show up anyway.
None of that stuff matters when you’re in the moment and the life stuff is happening, and you’re fully present, and for better or worse, you’re like “Wow, none of that stuff matters!”
I know, that last bit was redundant. Let me say it again. “None of that stuff matters.” Sorry, not sorry.
It’s just, those unexpected things are often the best experiences and the most cherished memories. I’ve practically built my art career on them. My most favorite times spent are almost exclusively them. Relationships are sometimes made, strengthened, weakened, or broken on them. Pivotal life goal moments are born from them. Last moments spent with a loved one sometimes hinge on them.
I’m hella guilty of avoiding, excusing myself, offering great reasons why I couldn’t. Hella. Guilty. But then, I’ve also had so many moments of absolute bravery, total adaptability, fearless seizing, utter appreciation, full presence, total awesomeness.
I’m a self proclaimed “Recovering People Pleaser”, so I have to be careful not to do things that really aren’t me, just to please others. But conversely, I also have to be careful not to use that to excuse myself from life as it’s happening, just because I don’t think I’m prepared in that moment for whatever is going on.
I say this as someone who is also a recovering “Grade-A Worrywort and Victim” once highly prone to lengthy bouts of self-pity, anxiety, regimented micro-management, stubbornness, and self-sabotaging obsessive-compulsive behavior. I no longer identify with that person, but I can’t pretend like those tendencies don’t exist within me. So I keep an eye on myself, a compassionate eye (because I’m not trying to punish myself when I have less than good moments), and a willingness to call “bullshit” on my own behaviors and thoughts.
We only get so many days. I intend to spend less of them worrying, prepping, planning, avoiding, and making excuses… more time being present. More of that life stuff. Why? Because for me, the alternative is sameness… stagnation… numbness… coasting through the days waiting for some indeterminate future scenario in which I stop that and start living. For me, just coasting on auto-pilot equals “why even bother” and I personally don’t find that state to be very good for my health, emotional well-being, or getting up in the morning.
Show up. Be flexible. Pivot. Adapt. Run outside in your jammies because someone needs you. Answer the phone. Take the interview. Bring your portfolio to the client. Have the hard conversation. Pursue that hair-brained idea. Call your mother. Kiss your person. Grab their ass. Grab your own ass and tell yourself you’re gorgeous. Watch a storm, even if emails need correspondence. Wear that outfit. Take a breath and look at the sky, even if laundry needs folding. Step outside and sing the harmonies to Bohemian Rhapsody at the top of your lungs, because your neighbor happens to be caterwauling the lead melody at the top of his lungs from his porch. Make coffee with a blowtorch because your power is out. Stand up for what you believe in, however you can. Vote. For pete’s sake, vote. Question your motives. Question your excuses. Ask the questions you’re afraid to ask. Ask them of yourself and others. Sit and listen. Listen to ambient sounds. Listen to a friend. Listen to an adversary. Listen to your thoughts. Listen to your own heartbeat. Don’t listen to your lizard brain when it tells you “I don’t have time. I can’t help there. I’m not that person. I don’t have answers. I don’t matter.”
Just show up. Life shows up everyday, and it’s not always golden opportunities, unicorn farts and rainbows. Sometimes it’s some messed up shit, and that’s still an opportunity to decide and show who you are. Your bravery, your bad-assery, your inconceivable, unconditional love, your ability to laugh, your ability to cry, your ability to speak, your ability to hear, your blowtorch coffee making skills, your now huge collection of cloth face masks, your compassion, your “Make It Work” moments, your fucked up clothes you only wear when no one’s going to see you, your adaptability, your resourcefulness, your passion, your weirdness, your light that shines so bright it could melt the faces of onlookers (in the best way possible, of course).
Life will continue to show up every day. Decide now, and every “now” going forward, who it is on the other side of the door when life comes knocking. I don’t know what that personally means for you, but I strongly suspect that you do.
So take your now, and live the crap out of it. Take care of yourself, and one another. The world needs you, and you deserve nothing less.