For as long as I can remember, I’ve been making deals with myself, or God, or the Universe, or the Devil or whatever I believed at the time was in control of my life. They look something like this (ranging from benign to a little intense):
- If I listen to this Journey song until the very last note, I’ll get an A on my math test.
- If we win our field hockey game, that boy I’ve been lusting after will call me.
- If I finish this blog post by 9:40, I won’t get the flu.
- If my grocery bill is under $200, everyone I know will live through the day.
This is not a nice game to play. It’s a set-up. Because these things are out of our jurisdiction. My groceries can not possibly safeguard the lives of my loved ones.
There are some things at play, however:
Motivation. If I tell myself that the hot boy won’t call unless we win, I’ll play harder.
Challenge. Can I finish this blog post by 9:40? Now we’ve got some throw down mixed up in the task.
Thrill. I’m shopping for people’s lives…kind of gets your heart rate up.
But, still. It’s a cruel sport. It’s a feeble attempt at control. It’s like playing Chicken – pointless and I’m not sure if it’s worth winning for all the stress it causes. The desperation is raw. And something clicked for me recently about the fact that this ‘game’ was a total laying down of any power I actually have to create my own life – or at least my reactions to it, how I move through it.
Because what happens when you don’t meet the benchmarks you set? If your groceries cost $200.01, you’re waiting all day for people to die. That’s not okay.
So, this morning, as I caught myself making a deal, I turned it around. I mean, why should I torture myself? I had about a 1/2 mile left of my rollerblade when the old refrain perked up, If I skate as hard as…Nah, f*** that. If I make this last stretch of road feel as good as possible, I’ll take that with me all day and let it feed me – no matter what happens, no matter what comes my way.
Yep, that’s better. Empowering, enlightening, made me smile…and seems to be working.
Check out the latest interview on The Daily Norm with Alisa Bowman: Writer and Marriage Ass-Kicker…
Image credit: Mulmatsherm
Join the discussion 9 Comments
Deals with the Devil are easier… I’ll have no use for my soul, should it ACTUALLY exist, when I’m dead. I’ll be going to HELL, STRAIGHT TO HELL!! MWHAH HA HA!!
Push yourself as hard as U can. If U break, U needed fixing anyway. That’s my motto.
Yeah, to me, this isn’t an alternative to the hard push…it’s just a mentally kinder game.
I loved this, Julie. Great twist on the old mind game – empowering indeed!
such wise insight Julie. always right on.
Wow! Julie, I hope you’ve had this idea rolling around for a while. Even if I’d had a similar thought (as you did while rollerblading), I’m not certain I could have articulated it, nor would I have connected to any particular reasoning or previous examples. Good work! A great lesson, and something to think about!
Nicely said – and admirable to admit that you have habits you want to break. Yours is a different slant on relevant advice I recently received: When things look bad, reframe the question. Example: Instead of asking why something happens to you, ask for what purpose. Reframing can move you from a passive to active position w/regard to the circumstances – just like refusing to do deceptive deals.
I also noted one more thing I can’t believe we have in common – you played field hockey, too! Who plays field hockey? No one, yet here are two writers who can lay claim to once engaging in athletics while wearing skirts.
Cari! I love that! I hadn’t realized it, but I also just learned the same lesson (changing ‘why is this happening TO me’ to ‘why is this happening FOR me’) – and I must have subliminally pulled it into this post.
And…field hockey players are the coolest chicks on the planet – HANDS DOWN. The skirts are hot, so are the mouth guards.
We really are long lost somethings…eh?
For those of you reading these comments – Cari is a PHENOMENAL writer!!!
Thanks Craig, Erika and ennasnosrap! Love giving you things to think about…
Thanks, and backatcha!