So I was telling my friend the other day about how I’ve gone through this long period of time – maybe 5 or 6 years – where all I’ve done is try to keep up with new music. I’m not totally sure why but I think it has something to do with the fact that when I would listen to older songs, I felt as old as the song. If I played a song like ‘Friday I’m in love’ that I listened to like crazy back in 1993, then I felt like I was one of those people who only listened to oldies stations whilst driving in their car and I never wanted to become one of THOSE people. So I figured I better stop listening to old songs and I did.
But now something has changed. When I listen to older songs, I feel my power surge back inside me. I feel like the parts of myself I discarded along the way to keep up with ‘the new’ are coming back and I finally know why those ole fogies listened to their old songs on their car radios. I don’t want to be an old fogie….EVER…. but that doesn’t mean I can’t love the old and the new.
*Disclaimer: I have nothing against people of the older variety. You could be 20 and be old in spirit (i.e. clinging to the past and refusing the present or future).
So I realized that the washing machine breaking again–
was a metaphor for my life.
Not because I’m narcissistic–
But because I like to philosophize.
So here is its story……….
The washing machine broke down a few months ago. I decided to fix it and be eco-friendly and frugal at the same time. Why dump another washing machine down a cliff if it just takes a spare part to fix it. So the mechanic took forever to come to our house. Day after day we waited. I went to the laundromat. I phoned. I waited. Finally he showed. He fixed it and it worked for one day. And then, it broke again. So, I called and called and waited and waited and sure… I could have found another fix-it man, just like I could have found another washing machine, right? But I didn’t. I thought… “I’ll give him a chance. I’ll be
machine repairman-friendly and frugal with my time by giving the guy a chance to prove that he can show up and fix it. He came. He fixed it. At this point, I had sunk so much money into it that I probably could have had two washing machines and thus I was really determined to make it work. It did. For about two months. And then it broke again.
Before you judge me and think… “She’s a fool. She should have seen the signs on the wall (not to mention the pool of water on the floor).” I’m a single mom (get out your handkerchiefs) and I don’t have time or energy to go running around finding washing machines. I’d rather fix something that’s already here than go to even more trouble and money replacing it. That’s number one. Number two: I had SEVERAL well-respected people I know advise me that it’s better to fix an older washing machine because the newer ones are super expensive and often fail because they’re made with a lot of plastic parts and nothing is designed to last these days so older, simpler models are more reliable than newer glitzier ones. I had reasons to keep clinging to this hope. Believe me.
But in the end, I gave up.
And this is a metaphor for my life.
Why, might you ask? What does it all mean? It means… I’m good at trying. I try and I try and I try and I try and I try and eventually I hit a wall. And sometimes even then I try. But eventually I learn to walk around the wall.
In order to be there for other people, you have to be there for yourself. You can do this in lots of ways. Here are some of my favorite ways.
- Take a shower. There’s nothing like removing all distractions by taking a shower. It feels too good to think about anything else. Kind of like sex.
- Writing to no one. Writing to yourself. Writing to a good friend who doesn’t pass judgment. Who loves you for who you are, regardless of your ups and downs and who doesn’t dole out advice unless you ask for it. And who surprises you and helps you see your own shit in new ways.
- Go for a walk. Kind of like taking a shower and sex but this time you are stimulated by all kinds of ever changing sights and sounds and lucky for you if you live in a boring ass neighborhood because then you learn how to slow down and appreciate the little things which is the secret to happiness anyway.
- Again: Slllllllloooooooowwwwww down. The happiest people I know take life very slowly. They wake up late. They’re not in a hurry to get anywhere. They cut more out of their schedule in order to free up time to just create and play with themselves. Yes, play with themselves. Yes, I mean ‘that.’
- Don’t jump to the punchline. Kind of like ‘slow down’ but this time it’s the idea that you don’t need to put on a song and dance for everyone. Softer voices and less talk often lets other people crawl out of their shells. Sometimes I feel like I have to fill every hole or gap or empty frame of life with fireworks and razzamatazz. Just let the void produce something.
- And at other times, it’s ok to fill the void. I know people who are not afraid to jump in and splash around and make a mess of themselves. They step on what other people are saying, but they do it not because they’re callous but because they are excited about life, and they’re not afraid of being clumsy. So say something stupid. It’s ok. Somebody has to do it, might as well be you. Just don’t let it be you all the time or else people will start thinking you really are stupid. 😉