I’m sitting in a Starbucks in the middle of nowhere near a Greens and a Point Rd, according to my android map lady, listening to co-workers complain about their bosses and watching people scroll mindlessly through their phones, hands shaky from one too many machi-frap-a-lattes.
PS: Why is it always so cold in Starbucks? I mean, dear baby squids of america, it’s so freakin’ cold inside here. It’s like Starbucks bought some sort of “we’re better than you” card at the all-things-good-for-humanity convention. I’m not knocking the Bux, don’t worry. I’m just saying. It’s cold. Unnecessarily cold.
Oh wait, maybe it’s so people will buy more hot drinks.
And, yes, I’m a conspiracy theorist when it comes to these things. Indulge me.
Ok, now back to why I am here at Starbucks, aka the mobile office of the day: Writing this blog post. Here goes.
I want to quit all the freakin time.
I have bitten off way more than I can chew most days.
I have a system of operations I’d like to call Willy Nilly on good days.
I am a Royal Mess worthy of paparazzi coverage in a seedy magazine.
And I am a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.
And you are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
And this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
And I want to quit all the time.
Alas. I love what I do.
It’s not really a choice anymore. I signed up to be here, at all costs and with humble gratitude and at full steam ahead. And at the end of every single day since I started, I have nothing but complete bewilderment and joy for what unfolds in front of me in my work.
Yet. I want to quit all the time.
This is something that is not talked about a lot. We’re told by certain circles that if you follow your dreams, a rush of tiny secret service ants will lift you up and carry you over the ginormous mountains in front of you or, at the least, when we “do what we love, the money will follow.”. However, most of us don’t read the fine print below those guarantees when we sign up to do what it is our calling to do. The fine print says this: It’s gonna require pro level behavior, surrender of anything and everything that is unhealthy for you, fortitude, discomfort, and an undisclosed amount of time depending on your unique situation.
You see, we grow up digesting stories of heroism and adventure. We read tales of knights in shining armor walking through dark forests and getting to the golden green pastures on the either side. We travel through history, grabbing inspiration via people who did the unthinkably brave acts that revolutionized our world. But, we rarely get a glimpse into the daily grind that is behind these fables and events. We don’t know what each person had to say to themselves as they stumbled out of beds in the morning, just like us. We don’t know about the close relationships that crumbled because of their hustle. We don’t know how many times they cried to their closest compadres about not feeling like enough. We don’t know how many mornings they slept in and said, fuck this. We don’t know how many pints of ice cream they felt they needed to eat after a really long day.
I believe we don’t hear about this because we assume that if we really love something, if we are really succeeding, then we will not experience these human moments.
This is not true. Within the scope of your most brilliant, most true, most in-the-flow self is a part of you that is going to have to scrape by with kicking and screaming. There will be days and weeks when you don’t do what you know you need to do. There will be times when your flow looks more like a dribble. There will be occurrences of human error, for which no one and no thing is available to blame.
You will want to quit. And it will feel not only like the safe thing to do, but the valid thing. Even people close to you will say, “It’s too much. You deserve a break. There’s got to be an easier way. This isn’t working. Why not get that regular job? It’s time to face reality. Maybe you can just do it on the side?” And you will listen to them and their words will meet some deep part inside of you that is begging for recognition and retreat and it will sob like a baby in response, “YES. This is insane. It’s too much. Get back on the paved road, you silly fool.”
Yet. You and I. We will know better. We will hear the siren calls for giving up, we will acknowledge that gasp for breath after swimming in high tide after a hurricane, and we will allow ourselves to reach for a lifejacket and a few hours worth of floating on our backs. Yet, we won’t stop moving toward the goal.
I believe wholeheartedly that IF we as a culture shifted into a knowing and accepting existence with risky ventures and mission-oriented pursuits (whether it’s a job or a 30-Day wellness challenge), we would have a better chance of getting through them to the other side. IF we understood that we will want to give up and that needing a break is not only normal, but essential, then we would nurture a better relationship with our visions and our dreams. We would allow ourselves the time we need to get it done. We wouldn’t beat ourselves up for taking a break. We’d stop apologizing for not being perfect. And we’d apply a warrior spirit that includes a wise cushion.
Look at my blog last week. Zero. One (amazing) day of posting last Monday and then zip. No Truth Tuesday. No Gritty. No Fit Tip Friday. Folks, I needed a break. And while I showed up for my Daily 15s every day and even created a bunch of new wild exercises, I still beat myself up about the other more visible components. I convinced myself I was losing my edge and falling short and, certainly, I was disappointing people. And, then, I realized that sometimes our bodies and our spirits beg for a break because we have to congeal. We have to collect. We have to reconfigure everything we have learned. We have to breathe and give air to what we’ve created.
I choose a life that is not a treadmill. That allows me the space to move in and out. To roll with the punches. To bounce back. To reflect. To rekindle. To quit for a moment and then to come back with the force of a thousand times its starting weight, madly in love with my pursuit in a way that would have never happened had I not allowed myself to be ... human.
I have unconditional love for what I do. And if I didn’t demand a reciprocal unconditionality from it, then I’d be involved in an unhealthy relationship. Unconditional love allows you to be human.
Does your pursuit allow you to be human? Does your pursuit allow you to test the waters? To reflect? To ask questions? To work on yourself in silence? To make mistakes?
It must. And when it does, holy moly, I’ll be on the other side of that high tide to greet you with a huge high five.