This New Year’s season is a hectic one. I’m watching friends and family go through all kinds of craziness while feeling my own chaos simmer and threaten to boil over. I’m having a hard time making sense of everything that is happening, has happened, and what needs to be done moving forward.
But amidst the melee of life’s current course, I have a few things cropping up in my peripheral thought processes. Some seem random. Some are definitely unrelated to everything else happening. But how else to make sense of everything except to write about it?
1. We all need to stop reacting
This notion began this morning when I was thinking about how so many men/boys think of feminists as man-haters. It occurred to me that if they would actually read what we write and listen to what we say, instead of just react, we’d make a lot more progress a lot quicker.
But this truth can be applied to anything. Reacting instead of listening or–more importantly–understanding accomplishes nothing. It hurts feelings. It builds walls. It destroys trust. Can we please just stop reacting?
2. Be open to change
I’m pretty sure this is on many (every?) list that involves reflection, guidance, peace, etc. And that is good. But my take on this might be a bit different.
Usually, when I read “Be open to change” the phrase is applied to external forces that you can’t control. And that is good. There is no point in letting things you can’t control take control over you. But in this instance, I mean it is a good idea to be open to change in yourself.
For years I’ve thought of myself as someone who doesn’t love schedules. I watched Roman Holiday and completely understood why Princess Ann hated the word “schedule.” But now, I’m starting to realize maybe I do need a schedule. I have too many interests and not enough time in the day to flippantly go about them with no plan or I won’t do any of it! And it’s okay that I might need a schedule. Although, it was hard for me to realize that it is okay.
So, whether you think you are a non-schedule person but are really a schedule person, whether you think you love tomatoes but secretly hate them, whether you have always said you think purple is a hideous color but really love it, it’s okay to change your mind or discover something new. That’s one of the points of life: to discover new things and be free to change your mind.
3. Your truth is your truth
I don’t know about everyone else in the world, but to me it seems people will fight me on my truths more often than agree with or like them. I’m not sure why because they are my truths, not anyone else’s. And someone disagreeing with me isn’t going to change that.
For example, it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man…
Ha ha! Just kidding. It is a truth to me that eating meat that, while living, was forced to live in its own excrement and was fed food it’s not adapted to eat is a very bad idea, both physically and spiritually. I cannot in good conscience eat something that wasn’t happy and healthy before it died. And people fight me on that all the time, sometimes even telling me I will go to Hell if I don’t eat meat.
This isn’t the time to write about vegetarianism/veganism or eating habits. But the point is, regardless of what other people say about my eating habits–or any other thing I do or say that they don’t like–my truth remains the same. External forces don’t have an impact on what is my truth.
And I want to clarify, when I say “my truth” I don’t necessarily mean “fact v. fiction.” A person’s truth is more like feeling, experience, thought, learning, and philosophy all rolled up into one expression. I may have missed a few articles that could be added into that rolled up truth, but hopefully you understand what I mean.
And this can be a difficult one because so often our truths clash. For example, going back to eating or not eating meat, many people hold the truth that if it’s going to die anyway it doesn’t matter how the animal was treated. I can’t possibly understand that mentality and tend to become heated when thinking about it. But can I deny another person his or her truth? It’s a tricky question, really. Open for friendly debate.
4. Cats really are the best
I know. Quite a change in theme, but it’s true. I really love dogs. LOVE dogs. But cats…. They just get me. And they are so clever and cute and snuggly.
I could be biased because I happen to have the two best cats in the world as housemates/friends, but I’ve never met a cat I don’t like.
I love cats!!!
5. When in doubt, cook or bake
I don’t know if it’s because mixing things and keeping an eye on the timer and moving with intuition help me deal with anything and everything, but cooking, baking, and making tea seem to be my go-to activities when something is going on, be it a tragedy, a celebration, boredom, or a problem that needs working out.
And everyone has to eat so it seems a good solution to many things.
6. Rise Up
I read this blog post today by a man who, while struggling with a bad reaction to chemo therapy, decided to rise up. He heard those two words softly in his mind and immediately stumbled out of the hospital, recovered, and is now doing pretty well. He lives with those words as his daily mantra.
After reading the blog post I wrote “Rise Up” on a sticky note and stuck it to my computer. It’s really good advice. Simple, but good. Sometimes hard to do, but good.
Sometimes it feels like we go through life letting things happen to us, when we should probably be “rising up” and taking control of our lives. We should be striving to be the best versions of ourselves we can be. And that’s not to say it’s all easy and you can feel like you’re at the bottom of a well and say to yourself, “Hey! Be happy!” and all your problems will go away.
But what’s better: feeling like life is hard and that there’s is nothing you can do about it? Or feeling like life is hard but with time and patience and optimism you can do something to change your fate (please say fate like Merida in Brave)?
Now, I have to admit, I feel a little sappy with this post. But that is probably more reflective of some of my own trials of late than it is of the usefulness of what I’ve said. And with a bit more Austen I shall close: Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion.