Most people have spent the earlier parts of this Sunday complaining about the awful “spring forward” time change. Losing an hour of sleep isn’t really all that hot of a concept for a population of people who, most of the time, would give their left arms for an extra few hours of pillow time. As for me? I’m jumping for joy (not literally… I’m far too lazy for unnecessary jumping). While I’m feeling the need for the nap right now, I’m thrilled for what this time change brings. The most important part? SUMMER.
I’m a firm believer that Mother Nature takes this lost hour we’re all so distraught about and gives it back to us each and every day until we “fall back” in November. There’s that glorious period of time – lasting anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes usually between 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. – where the world is right. It is both night and day outside, leaving your ambition for fun in limbo between the nighttime party attitude and the daytime Jimmy Buffet peace of mind. You enjoy the comforts of the day’s heat and sun, with all the hope the night has to bring. This period of time is best spent with people you care about, on patios drinking wine, grilling out, catching a baseball game or congregating around the nearest watering hole to celebrate the day ending in “y.” It is also best enjoyed alone – in a hammock with some Third Eye Blind, in the car with the windows down, or sweating it out with a long run.
It’s brilliant, and getting that momentary hour of perfection makes all the midwestern winters and gloom completely worth it. How do you know when that time comes? You feel it. You feel yourself hopeful, nostalgic and completely content, all at the same time. When that beautiful hour comes, it doesn’t seem to matter that you bombed a presentation at work that day, or that the guy you dated turned out to be a total tool. And I honestly think it’s something only the midwest can appreciate – because we know those days are few and far between, that they’re only here for 4-5 glorious months of the year and they ought to never be taken for granted. Here in the midwest, we know anything is possible and not everything lasts. The weather changes hourly, and when it changes for the better, we know exactly how to embrace every single moment of it, knowing full well that it may snow the next day.
But while the time change is predictable and comes like clockwork twice a year, I know better than to think I could predict the same of my own changes. The time change only reminds me that change is inevitable, and fighting it won’t do anything except leaving me backstage in the concert that is my life. I’ve blogged a lot about change before, mainly because it’s a constant struggle for me. I’ve said a thousand times how I’ve fought against it, grasping at something resembling the “way things were” to give myself some sense of familiarity, never understanding that even some of the most seemingly awful changes can actually push us forward if we’d only let it. If we stop fighting change, stop being set it our ways and stop desperately trying to reverse the past, is it possible to actually let change throttle us into new life?
The answer is yes. Change sucks sometimes, especially when you’re not the one making the changes. When someone else or some outside forces gets to call the shots in your life, you’re the one left with the struggle of accepting that you actually aren’t a super hero, and you can’t control the thoughts and actions of others. It’s an awful feeling, isn’t it? It’s the kind of change we never asked for, the kind that sneaks up on you and demands that you change your attitude or train of thought, no matter how ill prepared you are for it. Suffering the loss of someone you care about, losing your job, or a breakup – they all completely fuck with your sense of normality and stability, and force you to move on without a how-to handbook or a rubric on what you need to do in order to succeed.
But while most of us, including myself, see the terror in that – of being left without an itinerary on life – there is the possibility that we ought to embrace the awful things that life throws at us. I’m not a religious person, so I’m not ever going to pull the “everything happens for a reason” card or the idea that God has put you up to this shitty task. I only preach the idea that we are given one life, one shot, one opportunity (Eminem lyric… get ittt), and you’re only going to waste it by trying to explain to yourself why you got fired or why he left you. As adults, we fight constantly with notion that we can’t change someone’s mind or control someone’s actions. It drives us nuts, and we spend more time worrying about why things are the way they are than we do assessing how we should move forward and react. Newsflash: You may not be able to control anyone else, but you can control yourself.
This is a brand new concept to me, because I tend to live by a certain moral code and have a hard time understanding why people don’t act the way that I do. But, as difficult as it is to admit, I’m slowly realizing that I shouldn’t spend my time trying to tango with anyone by preemptively trying to figure out their next step. All you can do in your life is be you, and be that well.
And the bottom line is that if you’re being a really kickass you, then you ought to be able to handle the curveballs that the pitchers in your life are aiming straight at your pretty little face. Dodge them, so they don’t leave a scar. And since you can’t dodge them all, then you’ve got to find a way to make all the scars and all the bruises a part of your future, and not your past. Oh, and get a really kickass plastic surgeon. Please let me know if anyone has a good one.