Welcome to Optimism

“Your life is pretty stressful,” said my boss, rather matter-of-factly, as she slid a cup of coffee in my direction. I shrugged and thought to myself, is it?

She followed up her statement by counting off the last year and a half of my life’s events on her fingers. Life is stress, lady. Pain, agony, and a constant finger pointing and laughing. Sarcasm saves, y’all.

The old clichĂ© is that the only constant in life lies in change. I can get with that. But nonetheless, when I sense a breakdown in the overall shape of things, I, like many, start feeling a little anxious. Couple this with changes in my personal life and changes in the lives of people I care about…and we’re very well on our way to giving ourselves an ulcer.

Everything seems both immediate and far away. You have to plan so that you are taken care of, without planning so extensively that said plan falls flat with the tweak of one variable.

It’s because of all this that I’m not a huge fan of uncertainty. Sometimes when I’m grappling to keep all sides from caving in around me, I actually find myself envious of things fairly out of my character: engagements, new babies, the ridiculously killer marketing job so-and-so just got…

But to be envious of those things just signifies that I’m looking for something stable on which to clammer, which is stupid for a myriad of reasons–the primary being that change is imminent for those people, too. Jobs, families, relationships are always changing, evolving, sometimes dissolving.

Yes, my job could be gone in the next six or nine months. In fact, it would bode well to plan on that. I could find myself with the stress of breaking a lease, picking it up and starting over somewhere new. Like a rubber mallet to the kneecap, this can evoke fear from the bowels of an otherwise relaxed person.

But who wants to see their life unfold before them a carefully edited map from point A (cradle) to point B (grave)? Who wants to adhere to the plan that says, “You will do this by age 28. You will not do this until age 31.” Who wants to drive the same streets to work for the next 40 years?

So in the intense, come-to-Jesus moments of uncertainty, I find some strange comfort in the fact that I get to make it up as I go along. That there are still some surprises left to stumble upon. That I’m capable. That I’ve done this before. That I can do it again. That I’ve somehow secured a handful of people who, despite my grave shortcomings, still cheer me on, offer their two cents, lend a shoulder, think I’m the bees knees.

It’s all about perspective, I say. And the occasional stiff drink.

Welcome to optimism, bitches.

[Jam of the Day]: The Whitest Boy Alive, Figures


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