Yes, it has been a while since I have felt inspired to put words on (electronic) paper-sorry for the silence but I have always believed in quality over quantity so I refuse to waste my time or yours on meaningless posts to fill up white space on a page.
Frankly, we are all busy people and no one likes investing the time to read a blog and being left with that empty feeling at the end. I compare it to cracking open a fortune cookie only to find a completely useless un-fortune like “choose another fortune cookie.” Seriously?? If you can’t do better than that, just leave the damn thing empty.
Anger me, make me giggle, make me cry, confuse me…something! Life is short-give me the feels or go away.
Interesting side note-no matter how mediocre the fortune, Cooper loves to eat them! And no, not the cookies. He has an insatiable appetite for tiny fortune strips and will actively seek them out on tabletops, in purses, etc…and go out of his way to ensure they end up in his belly. My dog is a weirdo and I love him for it-he fits in perfectly.
Anyway, I have had a trying week and haven’t felt like my normal, chipper self. Some are probably glad to see that I am not ALWAYS annoyingly positive but I have been off my game and I don’t like it. Little things that I would normally shrug off have felt like grenades being launched at my sanity in rapid fire and I am too tired to duck.
The scene from Office Space where they go out and smash the hell out of a printer with a baseball bat? I re-enacted it at least ten times this week in my head and almost a few times in reality.
I admit my flaws-I am one of the least patient people on earth and sometimes I feel my mouth quivering with the desire to complete someone’s sentence after an abnormally long pause. My fingers itching to finish the message they have been typing on ping for ten minutes. You know-the ones that end up saying something like, “Hey. How are you?” after a dizzyingly long amount of time and you have to wonder if it took that long to think of that particular statement or if they wrote something much more interesting and/or clever then chickened out and played it safe.
In short, I don’t like waiting-on people who are perpetually running late, on traffic, on food at busy restaurants, on people with 8 billion coupons to scan in the grocery store, on people who drag their feet at work (both physically and metaphorically), etc… I pride myself on being efficient and mindful of others’ time and I tend lose my shit a tiny bit when people don’t respect mine in return.
Bitchy? Maybe. But it’s who I am and I have accepted that old Job and I don’t have a lot in common in the patience department.
Today after work I stopped at Walgreens to grab a drink and a birthday card. I got in line behind a woman who was taking an excessive amount of time at the checkout. True to my nature, I started feeling the familiar creep of annoyance coursing through my veins. I didn’t outwardly show it, but I was dying inside as I waited. I got warm…too warm and started to fidget. What was she buying-half the store?
As I tried to distract myself, I noticed that the woman’s hands were trembling badly as she counted out her change and she seemed to be struggling to hold the weight of her purse. In that moment, I realized that I had no idea what this woman may be dealing with in her own life. Maybe she has a medical issue. Maybe she hasn’t slept in days. Maybe she was doing her best to hurry. A wave of guilt over my impatience threatened to drown me so I offered to pay for her drink as an unspoken peace offering. She accepted and gave me a tiny smile. Then she began crying as we walked out the door.
She told me her mother was dying and she had to leave the hospital for a few minutes to get some air and gather herself. She said she felt suffocated by the walls…by the sound of the ventilator…by the realization that she was losing someone she loves. I was not prepared for this rush of very personal information and it completely overwhelmed me.
In the parking lot of Walgreens on this rainy Friday afternoon, I stood and cried with a complete stranger. I have been running on 3 hours of sleep and my emotions are particularly raw when I am tired. On a good day this would have been reason to tear up, but today it was just too much.
I cried for this woman I don’t know and her mother. I cried for being angry at her for being slow at the checkout. I cried for how her hands were shaking and how hard she had been trying to remain composed. I cried because I thought about how I would feel if it were my own mother. I cried because she was crying and I hate seeing anyone in emotional pain. I cried because I have had a stressful week. I cried because my little, insignificant problems seemed so small compared to watching a parent die.
Will I ever see this woman again? Likely not. I don’t even know her name but I will never forget that moment in the parking lot. She thanked me for listening and just being with her in a moment of weakness that she did not want her children to see. I thanked her for giving me some perspective on life that I desperately needed today.
At the end of the day, human connection is what really matters in life. It’s what ties us together in a world that can be harsh and unforgiving with no one to lean on. It keeps us tethered to the earth when we feel like we may float out into a black hole.
People matter. Kindness matters. Being a good person matters.
Laughing with someone when they are happy or helping them heal when they are broken. Being an active participant in life and the world around you. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes before you judge them or their actions. Those things matter. Not the unread emails in your inbox at work. Not the pile of laundry that needs to be washed or the tv show that sucks you away from actually living your life. People matter-not things.
If you ever find yourself disconnected from your own life or emotions, try connecting with another human being in a genuine way. Talk to the stranger in the checkout line who seems sad, volunteer your time to help someone in need, pay it forward with a random act of kindness, tell someone how much they mean to you and that your days are a little brighter because they exist. Feeling connected to others is what puts us in touch with our own hearts-our own vulnerabilities. It’s what makes us feel like we are part of something bigger than just existing as a shell of skin and bones-it makes us real.
I will likely never be perfect in the art of patience-or anything else for that matter, but I will never stop trying to be a better person and live a life that I will look back on and be proud of. I may feel more pain than someone who is disconnected from others but I will also feel more joy. I may still get my undies in a wad sometimes when people are late and when traffic is backed up for miles, but I will remind myself of today and how things could always be worse.
I look forward to a lifetime filled with moments like today as they will shape the person I hope to become.