I’m really bad at losing and failure. Really, truly awful. When I was a kid I would cry angry tears when I lost stupid games. Nowadays, I lie on the floor angrily when my sportsball team loses. When I lose at something, it’s never like, “Wow, nice effort. Good game! I’ll get you next time!” It’s more like, “This friendship is over. You’re dead to me. Get out of my house.”
This behavior is occasionally funny to people, but mostly it’s a pain in the ass. It’s also tiring to care that much about succeeding and winning in nearly every arena. This mindset is paralyzing. Why would I take a big risk at something new when I could fail spectacularly? What if people find out that I’m human and am not very good at some things? What if the truth is that I’m actually bad at everything?! WHAT IF I AM A PERSONIFIED FACE-PLANT?!?!
Mr. Squish and I are in the process of a profound decluttering of our living space. We’re following the guidelines from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. The book is simple, non-judgmental, and the process has been effective thus far. One of my main hopes after finishing this endeavor is that I will no longer be anxious about having people over.
I have a tendency, despite my best efforts, to hold onto stuff. I don’t love stuff, but I hate sending things to a landfill or re-purchasing items. (That raggedy, old shirt did an admirable job of hiding my torso. Why would I buy another one just because I “liked it.”) The stuff piles up until there’s nowhere to hide it. I have to use a lot more effort to clean because I’m shuffling all the stuff around, which ultimately means I don’t clean as often as I feel is necessary.
I’m not living in a dump or anything. My apartment is a very far cry from those who have problems with hoarding. I have a reasonable base-level of cleanliness. I want it to get better, but it’s reasonable. However, the mess is enough to make me anxious when people come over.
Today is a day that Americans are implored not to forget. There are things about 9/11 that I absolutely want to remember, and to tell to those too young to remember.
When I heard that a plane crashed into the Pentagon, my first thought was that it was impossible. Where the hell did this classmate get her news? But the news kept coming, and more people were dying. We sat helpless in our classrooms watching the horror happen on TVs wheeled in so we could see. All our after school activities were cancelled, and we exited the school to find an empty, silent sky. You never realize how used to the sound of planes you are until there are none in the air – because something unimaginable happened.
Many fairytales start with a young man going to seek his fortune. It’s usually the youngest son who doesn’t have a stake in the family mill or farm; there’s just not enough to go around, so he leaves and sees what happens. (Girls don’t seek their fortune in fairytales; fortune happens to them, but that’s a post for another day, dear reader.) We’ve largely abandoned this mindset of seeking one’s fortune in favor of a disciplined, well-organized plan. Things rarely go as planned, but that doesn’t stop us from believing that making The Plan, sticking to The Plan, and making sacrifices for The Plan will eventually lead us to the fortune we deserve. Sometimes this even happens.
I certainly believed in The Plan. The limit of my fortune seeking was within college and what major I ended-up with. Even while I enjoyed learning and the arts, my understanding was that these things were part of what would propel me through school and ultimately into a well-paid, rewarding career that I was supposed to find right out of college. (Isn’t strange how much self-improvement and artistic enjoyment just falls into nothingness once your life is supposed to be all about working hard, make a living, and not complaining?)
I heard a question yesterday that was surprisingly thought provoking: If you could attend the signing of the Declaration of Independence would you? If so, what would you change anything?
This was at a Toastmasters meeting, and the prompt was simply something for someone to talk about for 1-2 minutes. The answer provided was along the lines of, “That’d be cool I guess, but it was signed in July of 1776, ya know, before air conditioning.”