First Step to Next


Sometimes you just gotta tell yourself to hold up and take a step back.

Life is cyclical for me. I find answers, implement them for a while and sometimes, when I’m not diligent, find myself almost back where I started. Some circles are getting smaller, but it’s still a circle nonetheless.

I used to wonder what this meant. I often imagined that it meant I wasn’t as spectacular as I thought. Then I thought my focus wasn’t good enough. Then I accepted that there are some things that just take longer to accomplish than others. But today, I had a whole new thought:

Every circle, every iteration of a lesson, is getting to next because I learn slowly. And the reason I learn slowly is because I think all. The. Time. Sometimes the thinking is for processing and how to do something. Sometimes it leads to inactivity. And sometimes it leads to atrophy.

This iteration is a combination of inactivity and atrophy. And it comes in the form of pettiness. (I’m hear E-40 in my head typing this.)

See, small mindedness is a detriment to growth. It keeps me focused on things that mean absolutely nothing in my world. But thinking about them gives them life, invites them into my space and shares a glass of wine with them. And wine should not be wasted. Ever. Well… at least not on this.

I had a talk with myself today and boy was I stern. I mean I gave myself the business. And work. But not the work that I’m used to giving myself. This work is for me in a way that I haven’t given myself work. How, you ask? Well first and foremost, I’m here. One of my tasks was writing. Here. In Google Docs. Short stories, essays, letters, whatever makes me feel good in that moment, but I tasked myself to write. Every day. I mean I’m doing all this thinking, right? And if I’m thinking that means there has to be a subject. If there’s a subject, there’s a story. See where I’m going? These writings aren’t necessarily for public consumption (unless they are), but they will help maintain a particular skill (is it a talent?) the Universe gave me.

Second was managing my time productively. I have a whoooole lot of time. I mean a lot of time on my hands. If I hadn’t been focused on small-mindedness, I probably could have written a novel in November. But… I got distracted being in people’s business and lost that time. Sigh. And you know what? Those people were probably doing something else not giving one fuck about me thinking about them. My fingers feel icky typing that. But the truth will set you free. I’m free!

Third was creating some goals. I guess that should be first because saying out loud ‘I don’t have any goals I’m working toward right now.’ felt like bricks falling out my mouth on my toes. I almost wanted to rewind time and replay the scene because I just knew that I couldn’t be talking about myself. I mean, I always have a to do list somewhere with things on it, but when I thought about it, I was coming up blank on the last big thing I set out to accomplish. Yeah, there were minor things to take care of, but even those items fell off. I was having trouble coming up with things to do to fill my day.

Rolled on into three is four: controlling my eating. Since I was bored, I ate. Then I felt bad that the red ring of death returned, but not bad enough to do anything tangible about it except rub my red tricycle tire and put on some leggings. I’m still not motivated to work out because it’s cold and right now everything is literally a shade of gray when I look out my window. However, I refuse to not be fly and looking at pictures of my flyness is enough motivation for me to think about baking the chicken for dinner tonight rather than trying to remember if I have oil for buttermilk-brined, double-fried chicken with a (family-sized) bag of salt and vinegar kettle chips.

And last was just being free to let everyone else be who they are and showing up every day as me. Unashamedly me. Not me who pretends that I want to go back to school to advance my education. I don’t. Me who works to live, uses all her PTO too fast, enjoys books, writing short stories about nothing, trying new food and going on road trips. All these things are who I am, yet somewhere along the road, I forgot. It’s time to re-member.

Right now I have some straightening to do, honesty to look at and decisions to make. I need to re-evaluate some associateships. And most importantly, I have to show up all the time as my authentic self and be okay with the fact that you may not like or get me. Hard? No. But it will take some focus. Lack of focus is how me and the good old red ring got here.

Today starts step one on the stairway to next. I don’t have a clue what next looks like, but I’m excited about the journey. Isn’t that what life’s supposed to be about anyway?


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