Friday, June 21, 2019

Unicorns and Choose Your Own Adventure

Let me let y'all in on a big secret.

I cheated when I read Choose Your Own Adventure books.

Vintage The Green Slime #6

In case you need a refresher, CYOA was a series of books where you got to direct the plot. At the end of each chapter/scenario, you had a choice to make. Based on said choice, you advanced to another chapter/scenario and had to deal with the consequences of your choice. As I read, I obviously wanted to get the best case scenario, so I read ahead. And y'all, when I say I read ahead, I mean, I didn't just read the next option, I read the one after that, and the one after that, and well, you get the point. In other words, I maintained the control of the story all I could. 

I've been thinking about these books a lot lately. If you have talked to me in the last month or so, you know life has been quite, well, a lot. I'm not going to share what that specifically means for those who aren't aware (and if you are indeed curious/concerned, just reach out, as that probably means we're due to catch up anyway), but suffice it to say, it's been some kind of adventures. 

As I've navigated through, I've been thinking about those old Choose Your Own Adventure books, and how I tend to try to take on life the same way. I (and specifically my anxiety) tell myself I need to worst/best/any case scenario any situation. I tell myself that if I control and plan all the outcomes, then I'll be ready to go in all ways. If I can just do an exhaustive planning session of "What If?" with particular emphasis on the worst stuff, then I'll be okay. Y'all, let me tell you what you can probably already guess, that does not work. Given this is my default setting, I've had to really work to reframe and repackage my coping and emotional regulation skills. 

Goodness, it has not been easy, but I'm trying.

One of the primary ways I've gotten through lately is the people in my life. I have always known I have amazing family and friends, but they have really, really been there recently.

Some give words via texts, calls and visits, others give coffee, and I even got a UNICORN to grow!


And yes, if you had a hunch, a metaphor was going to sneak in rn, you know my brand.

I've come to realize that I have to feel and be in the moment more. No amount of looking ahead and trying to anticipate scenarios is going to solve anything. There are certain things within my control, and the reality is the stuff that isn't, well, I need to stop worrying so darn much about it. Easier said than done, but so worth the shift.

Because if I spend all my time in the muck and the worst, then I fail to see the best. I can't be that unicorn, and/or I miss that little unicorn of joy that is showing up even in the darkest of places. The best place to spend my energy is growing myself and taking care of myself and just being myself. It sounds so simple, and it is if I just remember to focus on the unicorn that I can be. 

I talk a lot about self-care and balance as an educational passion, and if nothing else as of late, I'm been reminded of how I can and should make that a personal commitment more. That's meant more simply sitting outside on our deck, more reading in the beautiful weather (stay away, humidity, kthx), more stitching (particularly with friends in mind), and more just connecting with the humans I love both near and far. 

It's been a reminder not to plan ahead because the scenarios will come as they will. It's also reminding that some of what I'm in right now is unchartered waters, and I can only do the best I can with what I've got in each hour/page/chapter/moment. Like most things I write about here, it's a far from fine-tuned process, but I'm getting there.

Oh, and sometimes this all means, it's okay to buy yourself a cookie cake just because you want to celebrate that you survived a random Tuesday...