In: Hard Stuff, Life,
It's 2:42 in the morning and the reason I'm awake is called CHARDONNAY.
People talk about getting old—buying crock pots, nonchalantly cutting your spouse's armpit hairs, relating more to The Golden Girls than The Gilmore Girls—but they do not prepare you for the one thing that will change your life even more than tiny packets of GrillMates:
Which is obviously an evil-adult-spelling-bee hybrid of “insomnia” and “sommelier,” which if I'm being honest I still really don't know how to pronounce. (Note to self: Rhymes with last name, tart.)
Such are the first world problems of not being able to pronounce sophisticated words, after not being able to sleep, after guzzling an entire bottle of wine, because it was Friday, because I spent 53 hours writing this one thing, because I am a writer, because apparently there are deadlines, and because apparently run-on sentences are totally okay at 2:42 in the morning. STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT.
I'll admit it: I'm bad at this whole getting old thing.
For the decrepit thirty-something bitch that I am, there are still lots of things I don't know how to do yet. Things that normally might be considered ill-mannered—or at least overwhelmingly oafish—that one might prefer to tuck under a carpet to hide evidence of their shortcomings, rather than blast it from a loudspeaker on the internet. (Because holy wow, this thing is on.)
- Things like soufflés. (Apparently if it's French I know nothing about it—which probably also explains why I went ten years pronouncing “chic” like “chick” like a total asshole.)
- Or downward dogs. (Are there an abundance of sex jokes related to this term?)
- Or even how to properly bandage a wound. (Alcohol? Peroxide? Last year's bottle of Listerine? Seriously, do not ask me to babysit.*)
*Unless you're Maria. I promise I'll learn!
This is definitely why I resent those wizards over there in Portland, Oregon: These are the kind of people that know how to do things. And really, probably so much more! The people of Portland, Oregon have, like, PTA meetings about downward dogs. Hell, they probably organize Super PAC's around these kinds of topics. How can we raise enough money to bandage ALL the homeless and feed them ALL the yam soufflés followed by ALL the hot yoga?!
In other words, what I'm basically trying to say is that I'm a horrible person. So much to see / do / care about / pretend to care about. You've probably seen the whole “Life is a series of choices” thing on Pinterest five hundred different ways. (Actually I don't really know if that's the exact saying or if I'm confusing it with “Life is a box of chocolates,” but just substitute any hippy dippy phrase in there and we'll be fine.) And sure, to some extent, life is nothing more than one hot ass, Sierra Nevada, desert-desolate shitstorm of choice after choice after choice after choice after choice. I mean, surely the fact I have no idea how to make puffy little muffin eggs is because I've never chosen to learn how, isn't it?
But, this whole “life is a series of choices” thing—it’s so much more complicated than that.
If you've got to choose between spending 53 hours writing a manuscript, or spending 53 hours writing the content for a new class, and both will benefit you in different ways: How do you choose?
If you've got to choose between speaking at a big conference in Spain or running a small conference in Italy, and both will benefit you in different ways: How do you choose?
If you've got to choose between a silver Porsche and a black one… Ha. Kidding. Yours is totally going to be white.
It's not so simple as making the right choice or the wrong choice, because sometimes, there are many right choices. The abundance of right choices, not the wrong ones, are where we tend to go, well, wrong.
So if life is a series full of perfectly wonderful RIGHT choices, how do we choose?
In my experience, the answer to this question is simple: To what end?
To what end is this “right” choice?
You might make all the “right” choices in the world, but if they aren't helping you get to do something you actually WANT to be doing….then all that “right” was in vain.
What do you really WANT? Have you thought about this? Like, really, really thought about this? Sure, speaking at a big conference in Spain might be “right” for many reasons, but…do you really *WANT* to go down the public speaking path? To what end?
Writing that book…to what end?
Giving that webinar…to what end?
Collaborating with that person…to what end?
Is it the end you really want? Or are you too busy thinking about getting started?
Knowing how to prepare a mack daddy soufflé might be wonderful. But if choosing to spend my time learning that takes away from my time learning how to write the perfect narrative arc, then it might be righteous…but it isn't right.
Not for me, anyway.
And that's really the point. When you know who you are and where you're going, you don't have to do so much choosing.
The real right choices reveal themselves on their own.