I spent most of yesterday thinking it was Friday.
The end of the work week!
The exhale of breath before the weekend!
The sprint of trying hard before 48 hours (+) of leisure meandering!
Due to this horrifying mistake, I looked toward the end of the day with relief, thinking that the next morning I could be completely unfettered from any sense of obligation or expectation of effort.
Honestly, I don’t know why my brain wants to fast forward so much, seeing as how I’m also simultaneously desperate to wind back the clock.
Sometimes I can’t believe I wasted the bulk of my youth feeling insecure, or treating my high-bar level of fitness with such blase indifference. Once I just picked up and did an OLYMPIC DISTANCE TRIATHALON in my twenties. Now I pull a muscle when I toss and turn under my weighted blanket too much at night.
Why do we look back? We look back because things seem better in hindsight. We romanticize the past, we fear we “did it wrong,” we desperately hope to “get back” to some idealized previous version of our lives that we probably didn’t even fully embrace then.
Why do we want to jump forward? We want to jump forward because we hope things will be better in a different today. And, honestly, I GET THAT.
Lately, I’ve been realizing how much of the unsettled looking-back or fast-forwarding comes from a place of just wanting to escape the anxiety, malaise, stress, trauma, and same-ness of the past 19 months of COVID devastation as it continues to be a menace in our lives in a pervasive way with no certain end in sight.
Last night, I got a call from my friend Kara at 9 pm (which was weird, because Millenials—even Elder ones—only call their parents. For real. If you ever want to alert your 40-and-under friends that something is terribly wrong just call them on the phone).
Turns out she had rolled her ankle taking out the recycling, and they were afraid it was broken. Could I come to watch her sleeping boys so her husband Dave could take her to the ER? Of course I could!
As I drove out of St. Johns, I was thinking about this ANNIEGRAM I’d started writing— about the desire to get anywhere but where we are, and as I stopped at a red light I caught sight of a bumper sticker in the car ahead of me.
“I’d Rather Be Here Now,” it said.
I saw that bumper sticker, the cheeky wink from That Bigger Whoever, and I laughed. And, look, I get it. There’s really only one place to be—HERE. NOW.
But, also, I think the desire to disassociate and run away and dream and escape makes a lot of sense. This time has been hard. We’re still figuring out how to be resilient, and, at the same time, we are tired of being resilient.
Why would we want to “Be Here Now?”
Being Here Now means we have to accept the doorstep-paper-bag-of-dog-poop that a lot of this time has been. Being Here Now means we have to give in to the truth that we can’t control things. Being Here Now rankles against my notion that I can fix things by the power of my will. Being Here Now maybe means letting go of expectations, and plans, and dreams—and that can feel really scary, and unfair.
At a time when “Be Here Now”-ing is so important, it also seems wildly disconnected from the reality of this trauma and its compelling coping mechanisms of avoidance.
Anyone blithely staying in Yoda-esque accents that we really need to “Be Here Now” seems relegated to the clueless urbanity of spiritual life coaches and Winnie the Pooh quotes.
How does “Be Here Now-ing” exist in the fight or flight system we find ourselves in, where our cortisol has yet to level and we’re prepped for a predator at every corner while obsessively stockpiling canned goods in case of social collapse?
I guess, at its core, being present to the current reality can be a form of coping—taking the space to mark time, blow of steam, and even dance, like Demi Adejuyigbe did in his annual September 21st video celebration this past week.
(They’re all great, but below’s 2020 might be my fave.)
Do I want to “Be Here Now” to the deep, aching loneliness I feel for a partner? Nope. Did Kara want to “Be-Here-Now” to an already difficult week capped off with a potential broken bone? Nah. To thousands and thousands of people want to “Be Here Now” to the reality of public health breakdown and COVID death-toll and Delta variants? NEP.
Do we have any other choice? Neeeeuuuuooope.
We just have to do this. No FF-ing or RW-ing.
P.S. Ok…I know I usually end these missives on some cohesive, uplifting text: so in the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing some thoughts and tips from my Lazy Angry Person’s Guide for Chilling When Your Brain is Awful, or whatever. Paid subscribers will get songs, so jump on that if you’re keen!
THREE GOOD THINGS
I made these orange cranberry muffins the other day. They were good. I’d make ‘em again.
Apparently Ringo Starr has an album coming out this week? And my friend and amazing writer/food-maker/zine-creator Jess Driscoll created a zine about it.
I pickled pickled peppers and for the first time I pickled cherry tomatoes. I feel like pickling is the secret bunny slope to a magical foodland, safe for all but rarely traversed by newbies out of fear. Can you heat stuff on the stove? Can you pour liquid into jars? Then you can pickle.