After my husband passed away 10 years ago, Plan A was that I'd find someone new to enjoy life with, intimacy, blah, blah, all that fun stuff. Plan B, which seems to have received the most traction thus far, was to hoard cats, wallow in self pity, drink Pinot Grigio, eat cheese and fall asleep while watching late-night comedy.
Some days I feel lost, like Delta Dawn from that 1973 hit song as I walk around the streets of my little town. Other days I feel like Sarah Connor in the movie Terminator. I see myself as a survivor - a badass! I can handle any adversity. BRING IT! I would definitely break out of that funny farm, load my cats into my jeep and retrieve the guns I buried in the desert. Just kidding!! My cats hate the car.
In our increasingly 'winning based' culture, we place a great deal of value on an individual's ability to keep it together. If you don't you are considered a loser or crazy or both. Relationships suffer. You get a 'counseling statement' from your employer. Could it be that so much of our society's depression, anxiety, and over-medicating comes from the unrealistic expectation that in every aspect of your life you're supposed to be totally on your game?
We all know that none of us is. Some days things fall in line quite nicely. Some days everything goes very wrong. And sometimes it's our fault and sometimes it's not. A good friend's shoulder to melt down on, an expensive cigar, a leg up, a second chance... at times we all need some version of these in order to carry on.
I recently ran across a TedxHouston talk entitled 'The power of vulnerability,' with Dr. Brené Brown, a researcher and storyteller. She claims that an individual's ability to take risks and be vulnerable are the source of one's joy, creativity, belonging and, (yes the 'L word) love, and lead to a wholehearted, courageous, compassionate and connected life.
Sounds nice to me.
Despite all the bad stuff, I do somehow remain optimistic. I believe Joy is just around every corner, and it's worth looking for and risking for, and I'm worthy of it. And, honestly, I have no interest in saving humanity from an artificial neural network-based ubercrazy intelligence system. Let the machines have their way. Mansions are nice. Where's the Pinot?