Yes, I will be referencing Captain Planet in this post.
But, before I get to that, I'll be talking about the weather. The aforementioned weather has been less than ideal- by this, I mean that it has rained all day almost every single day. There has been downpour at least a little bit each day. This week has been wet. Wet and rainy. Also, gloomy and cloudy. Dark. Soggy. Full of dreary, rainy things.
Honestly, I don't have a big problem with rain, at least not inherently. Rain is kind of pretty, actually. The crisp feeling, and the beautiful green that the trees and grass glow against the darkened sky are rather therapeudic. So is the rhythmic tapping of the drops. Rain is kind of nice. When it's light, it feels rather pleasant on the skin, and it's been warm enough to wear short sleeves, so this has been quite a nice perk to the damp weather week. Rain reminds me of London. The ground looks like dark, English, saturated soil. This comforts me.
However, when it's wet for a bunch of days in a row, my bad ankle gets sore. Not an "Oh god, not this ! PAIN!!" kind of sore, just an, "oh. Ow. Okay. That seems to be a bit sensitive at the moment". It's enough for me to know that I shouldn't work out too much on it. Thus, I haven't been. I've barely worked out this week. Restorative yoga has been my thing, and it's been pleasant, but I'm itching to kick some stuff. Or, people. Or, both.
Now, I'm not playing victim here. I have a bad ankle. Big whoop. I can let it get me down, or I can just do foot exercises and strengthen the muscles around my problem tendons, which is exactly what I'm doing. I've found all kinds of great new solutions lately, and realized that exercise science and anatomy are better tools than any doctor who has tried to help me with it. The problem is getting better, and I'm super thankful. Nothing is gonna get me down! Also, thank you to my yoga instructors who helped me understand what the problem was and how to deal with it, once again, better than a doctor. My eyes have been opened, and I appreciate that so hard.
Because I haven't been working out, and because the school that I work for is in between semesters, I've had an unusually large amount of free time with no requirements. During this, I've been catching up on yoga homework, both doing assignments and reading books, taking long walks on the beach, yes, really, starting Fallout 3 because I've never played it before and wow is it awesome, and just generally relaxing. There is a lot going on in my life and the break is appreciated. Everything going on is amazing, and I can't emphasize that enough- it's amazing. I'm putting together a Shakespeare monologue/ sonnet night at work, considering directing a short, small-cast play later in the summer, and I'm still in yoga teacher school. See? Amazing. But, a lot. But, amazing.
So, I'm doing really well. There are minor setbacks sometimes, but everything is moving in a beautiful, forward direction. The pieces are constantly shifting. I've never liked the metaphor that everything is "falling into place" because I think that it gives a skewed idea of what adulthood, or, just life in general, is. The idea that suddenly, magically, a moment comes in which your shit is together and you are an adult. You are married, own a home, two kids and a dog, and are in a job that you will be in FO LIFE. I think that a lot of young people, including many of the teens and college- aged students that I teach, are under the impression that this is "the goal". The ultimate goal. The necessary goal. The dream.
Nope. I know a lot of people, and I don't know anyone who has achieved this magical all shit is completely together-ness. None. Not a single one. Other than my family members. No, really. My family members are kind of magical and figured this out, but among my friends, including my friends in their 30's and 40's... this isn't a thing. It's just not. Grad school happens for people, job switches happen, unemployment definitely happens, not finding a job happens, not finding a mate happens, more often than not freelancing happens, and home ownership basically just doesn't happen. It's not a thing. It's a nice goal, but one that as much as I try to, and consider, I can barely even fathom.
Here's why- I make an okay salary. For what I'm doing, honestly, it's brilliant, or at least it feels brilliant to young, inexperienced me. I'm in my first year at a company, and I'm not complaining. I'm young, and only have a bachelor's degree. My salary is great for what I'm doing. Woot woot. Danny's salary is better than mine. He is a few years older than I am, and has held a few great jobs in his field before acquiring the one he has currently. Fair. We're doing great all things considered, financially, and this is definitely a source of comfort. If we saved for a few years, and maybe got some help from my parents, we could probably afford a downpayment on a house, and then pay the rest through a 20-30 year mortgage. Being indebted to a bank, or, anything, really, is a terrifying concept for me, but, hey. I've been excruciatingly lucky and have never been in debt. Because of luck. Not hard work, just luck. That had nothing to do with any actions of mine.
Frankly, many of my own financial actions have been pretty stupid, so there is that.
But, I'm getting better.
Financially, this looks possible from this perspective. Maybe, even probably. Home ownership! Holy cow! Then, though, we have to factor in the idea that I might go to grad school... in another country. So... why would we buy a house? When would we buy a house? Shouldn't savings go to grad school? Suddenly, instead of a perfect picture of clarity, everything looks like a Jackson Pollock. He's still a great painter, though, and the result is still beautiful, if less clear.
There's no right or wrong way to go about your life. It's what you make of it. I saw this great quote recently-
I think that is the truth.
What am I inspired by? People making their own way. People who decide, hey, this is my life, and this is what I feel like doing with it. People who understand that there is no true formula to success, that there is not one way. Also, people who realize that traditional success is hard.
There is a reason that stories of people who have risen to great fortune from great poverty are so popular- because they are rare. Because, it is hard. It's impressive. Finances are hard, and following a dream is really hard. Getting caught up in stuff is easy, and so is looking for a simple way out. It's enticing, and it's easy, and I almost can't blame anyone who does it. Morally, I mean. I'd feel badly about blaming people for this because there are stacked odds there that, as someone who grew up in a comfortable home, I cannot pretend to understand or empathize with. The traditional way is not only difficult, it requires luck. For example, if your elderly mother, with no health insurance because she is poor and unemployed, suddenly gets cancer, it doesn't matter that you've been saving up for a house for twenty years, dreaming of that day; you're probably going to help your mom. If not, you might be a jerk.
Or, maybe it's you who gets sick. If you don't get sick, you are lucky. Yes, there are things that you can do to try and avoid illness and disasters, I know this, but sometimes, disaster just strikes unawares. That's why it's a disaster. If it doesn't strike you, you're lucky. The universe is working with you. Congratulations. Fate has smiled on you, friend. Some other people weren't so lucky.
This doesn't mean we shouldn't give thanks and take advantage of when we are lucky- I used to have a bit of a complex about this, and feel bad when I was successful, because others were not. I have this tendency to view my successes as the result of pure luck instead of hard work, because I know that though I do work fairly hard, there are many others who work significantly harder. What was this viewpoint? Stupid. Now, I'm of the opinion that if you get lucky, you should take it. All of the yogic philosophy that I've been becoming so well-versed in lately has been confirming this for me. There is no reason not to seize the day if the opportunity presents itself, and it does not cause harm to yourself or others.
If you are lucky, once again, congratulations. Hard work does seem to increase your chances of being lucky, but, as Oprah said, yes, I'm quoting Oprah, "Luck is the moment when preparation meets opportunity". For example, if you show up to her show on the right day, you might get a car. Or, a whale.
The preparation is your part. The opportunity is forces outside of your control. Call it god, call it fate, call it entropy, whatever, but there are things in life that we Both must meet. It's like Captain Planet. The powers have to combine.
Whether or not you successfully incarnate a recycling super hero, you have to power on. Make your own way. One of the proudest moments of my life was getting my orange belt in martial arts class. Why? It was totally my idea, and all my own doing. Which was so cool. I didn't feel like there was any luck or fate involved. As a matter of fact, I felt as if fate was against me, because I had missed two belt test in a row. But, I did it. I got that belt despite the fact that it seemed like it was never, ever going to happen. Elated. That's how I felt. Overjoyed. Proud. So proud. I overcame the odds, and it was great.