>> Thursday, July 28, 2016
Stephen and I started the habit of giving each other a "time out" each day. I usually run some errand that involves driving to the other side of town. And yesterday I found myself pulling into the parking lot of a salon I've been meaning to check out in the eight years since we moved here. I knew I wanted to get my hair cut eventually, but in that moment -- I HAD to get it done . . . right then and there.
I had the greatest conversation with my stylist. She's a tall, lanky woman in her early 50s with wild red-streaked curls. She and I couldn't be more different in some ways. In others, we are so much the same. She grew up in the urban suburbs of NYC, supported herself through school by cutting hair, and somehow found herself living up in upstate NY because she fell in love with the land and her horse. Those are good reasons, I think. None of this really matters, but I was able to acquire such a vibrant painting of her life in such a short snippet of time.
Beyond the obvious getting-to-know-you banter, we somehow landed on the topic of control. Steering our destinies. Or, rather, the inability to do so. For example, when I was in my early twenties, I never imagined living where I do, doing what I do, or necessarily having two kids by now. I was always set on city life, on a career in publishing, and having kids in my mid to late thirties. Obviously things turned out differently for a million different reasons, but it got me thinking that at every stage in life, I seem to be fighting. Going against the current. Unhappy with the flow.
I spent hours upon hours plotting out my next course. It's a hobby of mine, really. Way back when I read Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project, I quickly discovered that I derive the most joy in life not from living in the moment or reflecting on it. Nope. I am all in the researching and planning stages. That's all very well and good. But I do tend to get bummed when things don't go how I want them to.
What we concluded at the end of the hour -- after many, many inches of my tresses landed on the floor -- is that it's good to have a plan. In life, it's good to have a plan. But what isn't so great is to think that your plan will ever actually come to fruition. To spent hours worrying about it, at least. I shared that I got a tragic taste of this lesson during our struggles with infertility and miscarriage. I had our second child so planned out. Over and over again, the universe told me "you have no control."
Sometimes letting go and enjoying the ride has its perks. I mean, if I steered myself clear into all my intended destinations, I would have missed so much good that has happened to me along the way. I may have never started freelance writing, for example, if I didn't take a chance. (Well, for me it was more of a terrifying leap.) When I got back into my car, newly cropped, I found myself meditating on the words "release yourself." I have had the whole epiphany of not having control before, but it's failed to sink in. Maybe now I am finally ready to internalize and follow this message. To cut loose, so to speak.
So, I am starting my 34th year (I turn 33 today) with these thoughts in mind.
Oh, and I also have a killer new haircut: