Ducks in a row?

This is a piece where we discover the story together as we go. I have just put down my pen, shutdown my work place computer and I’m now twiddling my thumbs across my phones keyboard. I don’t need to tell you, it’s been a while. In fact, it’s been 3 months. Three months of me trying and failing at writing. So here goes nothing…

We left off where I had this epic almost ice bucket like challenge realization. You know where the cold hits you right in the spine and sends shivers through to every last part or your body? Well in my case, the ice cold feeling was the hard realization that I was just another passenger in for a joy ride in my auto piloted life.

See I quickly jumped to the conclusion that when “He” said I had no plan, he meant financially. And so I pounced on that and did everything toward becoming a “smart money woman”. I put down my short term plans as well as the long term plans. I did my research on how to actualize those long term plans through financial institutions and small investments. I put down caps on my expenditures and looked for ways to grow the money I put aside in savings. And it felt good. For a while at least. The thing about life is, everything is interconnected, one way or the other. And because of human nature, we long for that domino effect, to see things fall right into place. Hence inasmuch as I felt proud of myself as I made these small changes, I slowly began to realize that my lack of planning stretched far wider than just my money habits. There were some big gaps in terms of the bigger picture and where it all led; the degrees and certifications, the job and the long hours, the hobbies I so rarely got to dive into.  I had my ducks in a row, but they were headed nowhere, no destination, no clear sense of purpose. I woke up early every morning, got to work, worked my bum off, went to class after and then returned home exhausted all to catch  a breather and repeat the same thing the following day. See to someone else…this is a plan, I’ll eventually get done with school, eventually get promoted and all will be well with the world, right? Wrong.

I thought as much too before I opened my eyes. This was routine. Routine was safe. Routine was predictable and I allowed myself to see my routine as my “plan”.  I lost the luster and that ability to see life through dreamy eyes. See I liked my job, but i wasn’t necessarily allowing myself to enjoy it. I rushed to be ahead of deadlines…spent hours on end trying to be ahead of the curve and this eventually ate into my study time and into my personal time. Anyone else would say…this is focus…but essentially, what this is, is just a show of poor planning.

See a person with a plan, has time for everything they have chosen to take on in life. So if I did have a plan, I’d have enough time to do my job, and do it well, enough time for school and extra hours of study…and enough time to make new friends and dive into hobbies all without reaching burn out and living out a boring routine. So my ducks are in a row…I just need to figure out, where they are headed, how many at a time and possibly for how long….

 

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It takes but one person…

We met in one of those public speakers’ forums, back then when I thought being in front of a crowd of people was my calling relaying out a message, while being relevantly eloquent. He was a speaker of this particular meet. At the end of it, as people mingled moving towards the snack bar, I just sat there in my seat looking around wondering, what the hell I came to these things for? I looked around hoping maybe id feel or see just one thing, one person that made attending these forums worth while. But nothing!

“You look lost” a voice called out from behind me. I turned to see who it was. “You look like you are in search of something, and it doesn’t look like you are finding it here.” He continued. I got uncomfortable. Who was this stranger that was reading my mind? “I’m Bow….you are?”

“Puzzled… For how long have you been observing me?”

He smiled, trying not to laugh.

“I’m curious. What is it you are looking for?” he paused and looked past me like he was trying to make something out. “Don’t answer me yet. I want to hear the answer….but under less impersonal conditions. Just tell me your name and I’ll get the rest of the details from the register. Assuming you signed it as you came in…”

“I did.”

“Okay then…your name? If you don’t mind, of course.

“I’m Bosibori.. “

That was that. I went back to my life. I had even forgotten about that overly confident speaker, when one Friday afternoon, I received an email from an unfamiliar address. It was an invitation to brunch in the most interesting English I had seen in a while. And then it hit me: This was that speaker dude from that thing I had attended. His choice of words and literature had piqued my interest so I accepted.
That was the beginning of my most interesting friendship.

We’ve met every so often since, when our schedules allow. He has this confident air to him that could come off as ego. He has his finger on the pulse of everything business and personal branding. Well spoken and quite persuasive. I tend to think that his persuasiveness stems from the authoritativeness in his voice, that as-a-matter-of-factly manner of speaking. But even with all this, he isn’t the serious type. He actually lives and breathes sarcasm. He is the life of the party…the one that is known by everyone in the room. Bow is a somewhat “pompous idiot” with whom about 75% of our conversation is back and forth banter or a test of who knows what more. We always have a good laugh whenever we meet, the kind where your ribs ache and tears are just about and you are literally gasping for air and now everyone is staring at the two of you amused by how loud and unruly your laughs are.

As I said, Bow is witty and he gives his two cents only when he is certain, after keen observation. This particular evening we had met for lunch that stretched into happy hour. I must have said something or done something that triggered what he said after,

“You are one of those people just wait and allow life to happen, the reactive type, because you just do not have a plan. Are you smart? Sure. But you have no specific deliberate plan for yourself. See, one has to be deliberate about these things. Intentional. Which midget, you just aren’t.”

I wanted to get defensive. And if you know me, you know I had a string of grammatically correct sentences just lined up for a counter. But, he spoke some truth that day. In my head, the “plan” (term used quite loosely here) was to get done with school, get a job…live a good life. This isn’t exactly a plan. This was one of those things I needed to be called out on and I was glad it was sooner rather than later.

I took a sip off my glass, nodded in agreement smiled and kept the conversation going. I however knew that I had a lot of contemplating to do…

Here’s My Take…

I’ve been trying to write something to put up for the past few days, to no success. Quite honestly, between work and school and about a thousand other obligations, I’m left with very little time and even less energy for much else. While I am well aware that this, writing, isn’t a must, I’m also aware that I can’t live life just doing only what I think I am supposed to do. I also have to make time for things I want to do. I don’t want to be that person that looks back in hindsight years from now, and wishes she did more with her life than work and meet deadlines. I have to strike a balance between my obligations and my passions. And if this means rearranging my patterns and moving some things around to give time to my interests, then so be it. Yes, it’s so easy to get caught up in it all…the deadlines, the due dates, the must dos in the to-do list: life gets heavy sometimes, but if there’s anything I have learnt these past few days, is that we can always, always, make time for the things that matter.

From the few moments I was able to steal for myself to write something, I have about 7 drafts, sitting in my computer that I never put any up because I didn’t feel they were good enough. So they just sit there on my desktop gathering proverbial dust. No one else has seen them…and probably no one ever will, because to me, they just weren’t good enough. We have such great expectations of ourselves that we don’t even realize it when we are burning ourselves out. We expect a lot from ourselves and rarely ever give ourselves enough credit. We are our own biggest critics. We are ruthless with ourselves. Whether it’s with our performance at work, or at the gym, or our own perceptions about ourselves; we judge ourselves more harshly than anyone else…long before anyone else. Most times it is involuntary. We subconsciously expect ourselves to achieve certain levels of “greatness”, and anything less than what we expect of ourselves is just not acceptable. I mean, granted, we need to have standards, we ought to have standards, and my saying this by no means implies that anyone should drop or lower their standards, I just mean we should be a little less harder on ourselves and learn to loosen up a bit. See, I began to write as a way to distract myself, pass time, get my thoughts in order even…but as soon as I realized that people are actually reading, I felt like I had to put forward something stellar, “just okay” would not cut it. So piece after piece after incomplete piece, I was dissatisfied with what I had written. I was in my head, beating myself up to be better, to be less predictable and less common. But that wasn’t what this was about when I began. However, we are human and most times, we don’t like to fail or to be just okay. Go big or go home, they say….but what about just enjoying it? What about just doing it because we like to?

A lot of these things we strive at aren’t do or die. Sure, be good at your job, but don’t kill your life over it. By all means, start a business, but enjoy it while you are at it. Write…tell your friends about it, but don’t over think it, just do it. Sing, annoy everyone around you with how bad it is, but as long as you like doing it, honey, unleash that horror 😀 . Go to the gym, lift some weights, do those crunches, but you owe no one a set if six-pack abs just two weeks in . My point is, life is already too willing to beat you down with its cruel jokes, and some of the cruel people it hosts, so be kind to yourself. It’s okay to want to be great at something, the least you can do for yourself is to enjoy it while you are at it. I know I for one enjoyed writing this piece.

 

Unsalvageable

I am goofy. Quirky at best. He on the other hand is sophisticated, worldly-wise. Quite easily one of the most intelligent people I have ever met. Cultured even, you could say.. The kind of guy that reads books and travels. Watches podcasts and knows the history behind the type of music he listens to. The kind that cooks and has a very specific taste. You know, the kind of guy that is easy to fall for.

He is everything I am not, and a lot of what I would aspire to be. I guess that is why it was so easy to get entangled. I never really understood the #Sapio until he happened. How intellect could be ever more arousing and alluring than anything physical. Of course, this isn’t to say that I didn’t notice his pretty brown eyes behind his glasses and his almost pink cupid bow lips. His unblemished cocoa skin. He is a pretty boy. And his voice… good Lord, his voice. I could still hear it; the way he said “Baby girl”, it had me feeling like I was walking on a huge puffy cloud, each time.

It was never love at first sight or this torrid love story though. It was never this intense crush. It happened slowly and steadily. The more I got to listen, to see, the more impressed I was. And this impression turned into a fondness, and before I knew it, It became natural that we wouldn’t go days without talking. I liked talking to him. Sometimes, I even longed for it… And maybe that’s how I knew that I liked him. And perhaps, he liked me too.

Time went by, all the like in the world, however, couldn’t be enough to cover for the fact that we were worlds apart. So different…so out of sync. We didn’t see eye to eye on a lot of things… even sometimes the most basic. And so over time our conversations became laboured…and the silence got louder. And at last…there was nothing. I tend to think we had both seen it coming though, the end. He before I most probably. I saw it coming one time too many…but my child-like hopeful nature kept me thinking that perhaps, just perhaps, we could beat this.  Ooh how wrong I was. We couldn’t beat it…because we couldn’t beat who we are. I am this free unstructured soul, the happy-go-lucky kind and he, this well structured soul, one of those proper types…and one changing for the other would mean destroying the very essence that drew us to each other to begin with. It was best to just let it be, after all, no harm no foul. To leave it at that and hope that years from now, when we saw each other at a mall somewhere, me with my two kids age five and three, and he holding a shopping bag with his three kids and wife tagging along behind him, we’d smile at each other as we kept walking, and I’d be able to tell my kids, with no “potato” in my throat, “That’s an old friend of mommy’s”😊

 

Hopeful

I do not like to think of myself as an optimist. I’m more of a day dreamer with child-like hopes. Stupid, I know, in such a hard, wet blanket world.

This doesn’t mean that I’m oblivious to the real world. I’m quite aware of the difficulties and hardships that surround me. The pain and disappointments. The constant struggle of self-improvement. I am well aware, but everyday, no matter how suckish the previous one might have been, I purpose to have renewed hope. I purpose to be HOPEFUL.

We must accept finite disappointment but never loose infinite hope- Martin Luther King Jr.

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