There are few things more embarrassing for a teenager than having to call your mom to come rescue you. However, there I was on the side of Route 5, my car completely out of gas. Had I just taken 5 minutes before I left Amsterdam, I could have made it home without issue. But through a combination of overconfidence (e.g. "I have plenty in the tank to make it home") and being oblivious (e.g. "Oh shit! I didn't see the gauge drop below E"), I found myself having to waste a good hour waiting to get picked up and then having to suffer through the ensuing jokes.
- Access to the right people
- Courage to take a chance
- Assurance that it would work first try
- Right strategy
- Right timing
- Right moment
- Right company
- Right coworker
- Information head of time
- Full backstory
If. If. If. If.
Anger gets a bad rap. Sure, it's not the most pleasant of emotions. It can be destructive and you certainly don't want to live your life there. But anger is arguably a more useful emotional state than apathy. At the very least, with anger comes the energy and motivation to take action and change something. And as long as said action isn't destructive or irreversible in nature, that emotional state can continue to transform into something more useful.
Anger isn't an enemy. Used correctly and sparingly, it can be the fuel for good.
These two experiences only share one thing in common: not eating. Beyond that, they are night and day different.
Fasting is an intentional act, usually embarked upon with the goal of deriving some benefit: cleansing one's physical body, strengthening one's mental resolve, or connecting with some higher spiritual forces as part of a meditative act. The person fasting generally has the privilege of being able to stop at any time, knowing that they can eat whenever they have had enough.
No matter what happens to us in life, we get to choose the meaning and significance that we attach to each moment and memory. Don't believe me? Think real hard about it the next time someone cuts you off in traffic. You can tell yourself an endless variety of stories about that one event. Perhaps we label them a jerk for not caring, or lazy for not looking, or it's their own fault for not leaving earlier to account for delays in travel time. Perhaps we let it slide, knowing we've probably done the same and it wasn't a big deal or it wasn't intentional.
During my most creative years in college, I made it a habit to carry a journal around with me at all times. It wasn't uncommon for me to stop several times mid-commute to jot down an idea for a poem. I would then use these initial phrases and scenes as a launch point to riff off of and develop it into a completed piece. I didn't really think about it at the time, but the more frequently I wrote these ideas down, the more frequently new ideas would appear. Likewise, when I stopped making it a point to write, eventually these muscles atrophied and I abandoned the habit altogether.
It's been 7 years since I've worn a pair of track and field sprint spikes. This was not a conscious choice, but rather a literal breakup as a result of a ruptured Lisfranc joint that required the use of crutches for over 9 months as it fully healed after surgery. While painful at the time, I am semi-grateful for the experience as it forced me to move onto other things, such as my love of cycling up and around the mountains of Colorado.
Synchronized smartphone checking: this is what I witnessed this morning as 3 people approached a crosswalk only to have the intersection light turn yellow and force a momentary stop. Immediately, and without hesitation, hands reached in pockets and phones were brought up at attention and for the intention to hold their attention for the 20 seconds it took for the traffic to clear.
Ever have a lucid dream? I have. It was an incredible experience when I realized that I was able to take over in the director's chair of this fantasy world stage. I remember thinking "wouldn't it be cool to fly" and then doing it, soaring over a body of water and feeling complete and total exhiliration down to my bones. My entire being was celebrating. It was trippy, like many dreams. But this one was special. This one I made a choice.
When people use the metaphor of "being a punching bag", the focus is usually on quantity and intensity of the attacks being inflicted. What's often overlooked is that, in spite of these attacks, the bag's rugged and flexible nature allows it to absorb the blows before returning to its original position, appearing largely unphased and exhibiting minimal long term effects.