on turning 309:54 PM
Being at my parents house this past week has afforded me the rare gift of solo drives. Something I used to take for granted before kids and yet something I yearn for often, now that most car rides come equipped with two very rowdy and demanding passengers. It was close to ten and the most perfect crescent moon shone high over the windshield. My spotify app was diligently selecting amazing songs and my mind was allowed to wander. It strayed away from thoughts of laundry, finances, meal planning and other drivel and zig zagged it's way to thoughts about this new decade I have just embarked on.
Three days into thirty a lot of the ambivalence has subsided and instead replaced by a curiosity and almost thrill about all the unknown that lies in front of me. And then I thought about one of my favorite books - The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. So many quotes have stuck with me over the years but one in particular comes up more often than most...
“In racing, they say that your car goes where your eyes go. The driver who cannot tear his eyes away from the wall as he spins out of control will meet that wall; the driver who looks down the track as he feels his tires break free will regain control of his vehicle.”
I think about it from time to time because as I've grown older it's come to represent so many of my views on life. The whole book does, really, but I'm not going to quote all of it here. Instead I'll just tell you to go and read it (ps. it's about so much more than a dog). The book is about letting go, more in a theoretical sense than a literal one. About letting go of control and even the notion itself that we have any control. And ultimately it's about the peace and freedom that comes from giving in - in to the dance that is life.
With so many moving parts such as hormones, relationships, geography, genetics, economics, physical health or lack thereof, ability and political turmoil at play in all of our lives to attempt to wrest control of any of this is futile. You know the old saying "don't sweat the small stuff?" I feel like in my early twenties all I did was sweat the small stuff. I fought and I fought. So hard. I fought for friendships, jobs, for my opinion to be the right one and the only one, for my space... The list goes on. And all this fighting left me simply exhausted. I was fighting something, a force, so widespread and so complex that it was simply impossible to gain control. Every time I would think I got close the goal would slip farther and farther away.
So I began to let go. I began to live from a place of acceptance and peace. When the earth would start to quake under my feet I learned to close my eyes and fall into the hurricane and inevitably sooner or later the storm would pass and a lesson would be learned because I was humble and quiet enough to notice it. Instead of viewing failures or losses as being "unfair" I focused on learning and on clinging to all the good that remained, and there is always plenty to be found. I stopped forcing people to like me, and just assumed that I simply wasn't their cup of tea. I paid close attention to the closing of doors in order to understand why they would close instead of railing against the injustice of it all. I began to approach things from a place of generosity versus need and I began to heal.
To be clear life certainly isn't roses. I still struggle whether it be with practical things or emotional turmoil. I still make horrendous mistakes and do things I regret. But my biggest achievement and gain thus far is letting go of all that anger that used to simmer inside me. It takes a lot to make me upset these days and even still I can usually come to a place of peace in a reasonable amount of time. Once I accepted the fact that I am not entitled to good health, a million friends, a money tree, model looks, an illustrious career or for everyone to like me I gained peace like a river, that attendeth my way. I am here, I have my people and every morning I am granted another day. Life is good and I am unbelievably lucky.