I have a lot of friends who are very important.
They run their own companies and travel all over the place. They do speaking engagements and have high-profile clients they do brilliant work for.
Since I left my full-time job about six months ago, some might say I own my own business, but really, I’m just trying to scrape together enough work to pay my bills. I spend the rest of my time just trying to prove I’m not a total waste of oxygen.
Oh, and get dates. (Which is another discussion for another time, but here’s a preview: No, it’s not going well.)
Even on my busiest days, I still find plenty of time to read people’s blogs, write idiotic tweets about the fact that I’m going to see Justin Bieber: Never Say Never and take pictures of my new kitten.
But trust me when I say that screwing around on the Internet is not the same as taking time out of the day to live. Relax.
Shrug off the feelings of creeping isolation and feel like I’m actually part of the world.
When I was still working in the suburbs, hating my life, I would spiral into this soul-crippling rage as I steered the Shining Camry back to the city. Because I’d spent the whole day living out my slow, painful death in Arlington Heights.
And, inevitably, the traffic would jam up around Park Ridge. (Oh, how I do not miss that life.) Instead of pulling over and stabbing a pedestrian — not that there would have been many to choose from — I turned the radio to the classic station and just…breathed it in. Instead of sending irate texts at stoplights, I closed my eyes for a few seconds and remembered that there was more to life than my horrific commute.
Little things like that made all the difference. They always have.
Fast-forward to the present: The past few weeks were kind of awful. Really awful, actually. Related in equal parts to the above statements about the creeping isolation of freelance life and date-getting.
And for a most of that time, I wallowed. Until I realized that’s not the kind of person I want to be: the kind who stays in bed until 11 a.m., the kind who eats her feelings in the form of four meals a day (plus snacks), the kind who writes hundreds of thinly veiled tweets a day about her problems.
So one ordinary day, I got out of bed and took my life back in tiny increments.
I made a to-do list and attacked it.
I ate a nice lunch and played with my kitten — just to play with her, not to take pictures I could tweet later.
I rode my bike to the Gap and browsed the sale rack, tried on jeans and found a pair that actually fit. I bought socks covered in tiny flowers.
I called my mother as my laptop booted up. I had a few extra minutes, because my computer is a piece of crap.
Inside the café, one of three little girls who had been running around for half an hour marched right up to me, twirled her cup proudly in her hands said, “This has coffee in it!”
By the time I was halfway through my iced tea, I was in love with the world again.
Then again, it doesn’t take a lot for me. But it’s not so much the effort it takes as it is remembering how wonderful it feels when I make it.
March begins today, and spring is on its way. In like a lion, right?
And that lion’s roaring that there’s always time to fall in love with the world.