I once saw an interview with Billy Joel in which he explains how inspiration for his music would rouse him in the middle of the night, almost as if it came to him in his dreams. He’d wake up with melodies in his head and he’d scramble to feverishly write them all down so they would not be lost. You can say the inspiration for this blog came to me in the middle of the night following an evening of Mexican food and margaritas; an evening that left me stumbling into the bathroom frantically searching for antacids and reading material. I thought to myself how my sleep interrupted is one of those little “life lessons”, and as such I decided to capture some of the educational experience that have recently come my way.
I will begin with the most recent lesson I’ve learned. Never try to engage in rational thought after having just woken up following an evening of Mexican food and margaritas. Case in point: I was reading an article in Newsweek that was written by one Sharon Begley. I thought the name sounded familiar. I realized the only Begley I know of is the actor Ed Begley, Jr. I wondered if Sharon and Ed are related, perhaps married even. But if that were the case, she’d be Sharon Begley, Jr., not just Sharon Begley. I paused a second to absorb that statement, then I mentally kicked myself in the head for being so idiotic and went on my merry way.
Another thing I’ve learned recently is that cats just love having their foreheads pet and their bellies rubbed. They do not, however, like the base of their tale grabbed, touched or looked at in any shape, way or form. This segues to the next learning experience which is there are few things in life faster than the claw of a cat who is having the base of his tail squeezed ever so slightly. Granted, this is something I already knew. But when you take into consideration the fact my blood had been thinned out by the tequila in the aforementioned margaritas, you’ll understand why it takes more than just a little band-aid to stop the bleeding.
On a grander scale, I’ve learned – or should I say was reminded – that change in life is constant. In many ways, our lives are like rivers that flow mightily on their own yet remain dependant on so many other factors in order to survive. And not unlike a majestic waterway, our life meanders over time. The banks on which we once found friendship and security may no longer exist today because the passage of time has caused our lives to shift is a new, sometimes more necessary direction. We may try to contain our momentum towards change and force our personal rivers to flow in neat, straight lines. The fact of the matter remains we are never in complete control of this direction, and to resist change is like to refrain from breathing. You can do it, but you won’t survive long.
I’ve learned to let go, for the most part, of the “why’s” that cause to the meanders in my life. That’s not to say that analyzing the factors and circumstances that lead to the change in the first place isn’t important. This is, after all, a blog about lessons learned. Rather, I try to focus on the “what’s next” aspect of a recent change. It’s in looking ahead that we continue to grow and develop, and that’s one lesson it took me a long time to learn.
So I sit here with a roll of Tums next to my laptop, my finger wrapped in gauze and a pulsating numbness in my head that is screaming for water, Advil and just maybe a little hair of the dog. I think about the last time I over did it at our local Mexican place and why I didn’t remember that particular lesson last night. I contemplate what I will do the next time the cat rolls on his back and gives me that ‘puss-in-boots’ pout that begs for his tummy to be rubbed. More importantly, I drift down my river taking in all the glories that have been thrown my way, not consumed by the recent changes in current, but instead focused on what’s around the next bend.