Sometimes, when life hands you lemons, it is incrementally and in ways that you can prepare for. Other times, a torrent of grapefruit-sized yellow fruit will come down with such intentional velocity that they are virtually impossible to avoid. Accordingly, last Friday was the Hurricane Katrina of lemon's life lessons. It's gotten me thinking about resilience, and how important it is. But actually, what's more important than resilience is the ability to learn from your experiences, to see your own role in the trials you face, and to take steps to preventing similar occurrences from happeningin the future.
I've gotten very good in the past few years at rolling with the punches. Being an "artist" and having mostly friends that are also artists, musicians, and writers, I've had a lot of experience dealing with situations wherein organization, logic, or a little more common sense could have easily prevented impending misfortune. But if I'm honest, my own slightly spacey and eccentric ways have built the foundation for my soaring house of mishaps. Losing my things, forgetting to protect my possessions (from those who might steal), failing to protect myself (from those who might harm), and a slightly distorted confidence in man's inherently good nature have all derailed my life in serious way.
When you have experiences that you perceive as negative, it can be hard to take the blame. And I'm not talking about admitting that something is your fault, because that's easy. It's really just an out. Confused? Let me explain.
When I do something really silly, like set my car keys down in the middle of the woods because I need my hands free to take pictures of a squirrel, and then forget about them and subsequently lose them, I obviously know that it's my fault. No one forced me to set the keys down in the dirt, and no one made me irrationally think, "This is okay. This clearing of dirt looks kinda like a triceratops, so I will definitely be able to find these later." So why do I still feel like a victim of my own absent-mindedness? It's a little silly when you consider that you really have all the control in your life. To change your habits, to better yourself, to create whatever you want.
So, deciding to change my habits is the goal-- to buy a huge keychain so it's harder to forget my keys, to put my bills on autopay so my cell phone doesn't get shut off, to only park where parking is allowed so that I won't get a ticket and/or towed. To eat healthy, to be kind, to be present. These are all things within my control, and when I don't do them, I'm actually rebelling against my own best interests. You might say that I'm being too hard on myself, and you might say that it doesn't seem like a big deal… until you take into account that the feeling that I am powerless over myself stays with me all day, after I've gotten my car out of the impound, after I've ordered a new drivers license, after my phone has been turned back on. And all the people and things that have seemed to victimize me- the tow truck driver, the leaves covering the clearing where I set my keys, my rotten luck--all become unnecessary enemies. I mean, that sucks.
Rolling with the punches is great but ducking before you get knocked out seems like a much better idea.