When I was seeing a counselor during the dark and stormy days, she told me that I should use my birthday to reflect over the past year. I did a pretty good job of this last year. We were up at the Timberline Lodge at Mt. Hood and I sat beside the fire, watched the snow out the window, and wrote in my journal. This year, my birthday zoomed in, and before I had a chance to take a breath, it zoomed back out again. Also, I drank a lot of wine that weekend.
So, I figure now nearly a month and a half after my birthday is as good a time as any for reflection. This all came to me because I couldn’t get that Alanis Morissette song out of my head, and I realize it’s my own damn fault for making it the title of my last entry and I’m sorry, it’ll never happen again, so please, enough with the angry young white girl already! (Yes, I realize she is no longer young and angry; but we’re all judged against what we write, so she’s responsible for her own pigeonholing. Anyway.)
So, there’s this line in that song (sorry, if it won’t leave my head, it’s not leaving anyone else’s head) that goes “and what it all comes down to, is that I haven’t quite got it all figured out just yet”. Or maybe it doesn’t go exactly like that, but that’s how it’s going in my head. And that got me thinking about how lots of people in their twenties are finding their way and figuring it out and we cut them some slack when they’re dumb asses, because they don’t have it quite figured out just yet and they are trying to decide what to be when they grow up and what road they’re going to take and the trouble with all that is this.
It implies that there is something to be figured out. And that “quite yet” eventually arrives. And that there’s this particular road you choose to walk and then the rest of your life is spent traveling along it. And maybe there are bumps in the road and twists and turns, but you’ve figured it out. And you’re getting there.
And maybe there is no road.
I’m sure that when I reflect next year, I’ll have a completely different thought, but right now, I’m thinking that my thirties is about realizing that I’m never going to figure it all out because there isn’t anything to be figured out, so I should stop killing myself with trying. I can never know where the road will lead, because I’m not on a road that leads somewhere. I’m just wandering around. And the best I can do is wake up every day and decide where I’m going to go from here. And sometimes that will eventually lead me from one place to another, but just as often, I’ll end up someplace entirely different that I never imagined. And that’s just how life is. It’s not fair or reasonable or logical and there’s no secret master plan that will make it all make sense.
It’s very difficult for me to set priorities. My head is full of things I want to do, and they’re all of equal importance: Iron the clothes, write a novel, make a cheesecake that is both delicious and low fat, landscape the backyard, find a haircut I like, tile the floor. At the end of the day, I judge myself on my inability to accomplish these things equally . And I continually have to remind myself. I still have tomorrow. I still have the rest of my life. In the scheme of things, how important is it that my spices aren’t organized? If I don’t mark that off my list today, that doesn’t mean I can’t make homemade ice cream tomorrow. Life is not one long linear path based on when things happen to pop in my head.
Writing that last part there, it seems obvious. I can make homemade ice cream anytime I want. P. bought me an ice cream maker for my birthday. So, why am I reflecting on an Alanis Morissette song when I could be doing that?