the work i do these days is not very emotionally challenging. it involves a lot of data and naming conventions and organization of files for books. title group IDs. eISBNs. no-crop PDFs. pixels. FTP sites. it’s quite easy to disengage at 5:30, take my brain back out of my desk drawer, and get on with my moving, thinking, loving, being-life.
so it’s not often that the contents of my desk-life find their way into my being-life. there isn’t a ton of overlap between my heart and book digital marketing and metadata delivery. this morning, when i woke up wondering which assets of my title group ID were present there, in that place, and which elements had yet to be identified, re-named, and delivered, i was a little surprised by the hazy clarity of my existential question. which parts of me are here? which parts have i not yet figured out? which parts of me have i forgotten to turn in, leaving gaps that might go unnoticed for at least a little while?
during my pre-alarm assessment this morning, it took me seconds to confirm that my title group (title group ID: whitney), is all here. there’s nothing missing. i don’t have to worry about whether or not i’ve been careful to include both eISBNs or ensure the latest currency conversions for sale in Canada. i’m enough for right here and right now.
naturally, as i’ve thought more about this strange waking moment further into the day, i’ve talked myself down from this knee-jerk feeling of wholeness. it’s easier to assume that of course there are pieces that are missing — and, sure, i’ll find them along the way because i’m not finished becoming myself yet. and unlike most long-awaited items on my checklist, i don’t have a countdown for that. all i can be is what i am in this time and space. any book assets in my title group ID that may be missing are not really missing. i am whitney and i am present and that is just enough. so here i am: ready to read and be read.
whether or not we choose to acknowledge and claim it, we are all living on the edge. some of us are better planners. some of us buy travel insurance. some of us decorate our skin with tattoos that express the person we know we will always be. some of us can hardly commit to a nice sleeping bag (and certainly not without a thorough spoken analysis in which pros and cons are weighed before a captive audience), let alone purchase real estate or decide on a paint color (i had my new year’s eve guests tally their votes on paint samples taped to the wall). it’s not really the struggle of indecisiveness that’s at play here, but the basing of actions on a staunch commitment to permanence as we know it. i witness friends making choices with an air of confidence and self awareness that, at first glance, leaves me envious. i wonder if it’s calming to make smaller moves when they are part of a 10-year plan, but i’ll certainly never know what that’s like. as i dig beyond the initial envy of what i identify as “having it together”, i realize that this has very little to do with confidence and a lot more to do with convincing ourselves that we aren’t afraid that things might not go according to plan.
i find myself to be more and more of a risk taker these days– not in an invigorating, adrenaline-rushing way. it’s closer to an acceptance that being a person is scary and, regardless of the posture we assume, there is no such thing as a sure thing. mystery will always be at work in our lives, no matter how feverishly we prepare for and expect the known. the only thing we can really plan for is for our plans to be turned upside-down.
maybe it is a matter of simply speaking aloud what it is that we want or where we feel led to go. we can say it out loud it and give our desires some breath. maybe someone will hear us and hold us to it. and hopefully that person will also sit with us when things change and it’s time to say some new things out loud. so yes, i can make some declarations to mark an alleged commitment to go out and get what i want. it doesn’t mean i’m married to the plan. it doesn’t even mean any of it will come to life, but there’s something helpful about saying the words, claiming it, all the while expecting to trail off in some other direction.
you’re blindfolded and dizzy, wielding a broomstick, and however ineffective, it’s nice when the person grabs your shoulders and attempts to point you in the general direction of the piñata. and you just start swinging and try not to hit any of your friends.