Faith in Uncertainty

When life feels settled, things feel certain, and there’s little time for guessing what’s around the corner, it seems as if breathing comes easier. A little bit of boredom at least means that there’s probably not a whole lot to be losing sleep over. 

But when everything is up in the air – hanging like a cloud, debating whether to pour rain or let the sun peek through – it’s easy to concentrate on the question mark hanging over each and every situation. My life, as of late, seems to be one GIANT question mark.

I don’t know how everyone else handles lulls like this, but for me, I check everything. And re-check. And check again.

I check job boards, I check emails, I check my bank account, I check Facebook, I re-check emails, I check blog stats, I re-check Facebook, I check new job boards, I re-check emails. Etc. Etc. Etc.

It’s a little pathetic, I know.

The thing is, I don’t even really know what I’m looking for. 

I’m waiting for that one BIG thing – the job offer that would put my monthly income where it should be, the opportunity that would give me something to talk about, the lifeline that might pull me out to solid ground again.

And that’s how I know it’s not going to happen right now.

It’s not about being pessimistic, it’s about knowing that every big thing that’s ever happened in my life occurred when I wasn’t looking, wasn’t too invested, and was able to let go enough to be ok with any outcome – a place I’m so far away from at this point, I’d have to take three planes and a boat to get there.

Right now has become my mantra. I want to be swimming in an overflow of financial abundance RIGHT NOW. I want to have some amazing book deal in my hands RIGHT NOW. I want to be free from the stressors that I’ve been feeling RIGHT NOW.

Screw divine timing. I want things to happen when I want them to.

Unfortunately, I’m too aware of the fact that things just don’t work that way. But in the meantime  (did I mention that I HATE the meantime?), I have got to go through a “checking fast” – disconnecting from the uncertainty that comes from obsessing over email, job boards, etc.

Before writing this blog I was toying with actually setting parameters for myself – getting rid of Facebook on my phone, only checking email once a day or when I know that new emails have come in, severely restricting my online time to certain hours of the day. Then I started questioning what I might miss out on if I committed to such stipulations.

Clearly I wouldn’t miss out on anything substantial. But my mind is a stubborn asshole that likes me to believe that good things only come to those that dedicate themselves to being a psycho go-getter.

The truth is, all of this only shows my utter lack of faith – in myself, in the process, in the greater good. And that’s just not going to get me anywhere.

So for now, I’ll start out small. No more checking my inbox immediately after opening my eyes in the morning. No more checking Facebook one more time before I go to bed at night. Hopefully the rest will come naturally – with just a little bit of prodding.

Here goes nothin.’

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How Facebook Has Royally Screwed With Our Happiness Meter

I have a bit of an obsession with happiness – what causes it, what makes it stick, what can obliterate it all together. Perhaps this is the reason why I have an urge to ask complete strangers whether or not they are completely and totally happy with their lives. Because let’s face it – most people aren’t, and most have perfected the art of hiding it.

Why hide it? Well because happiness has become a measurement of success of sorts, a real indication of how well you’ve been at living. Hate your job? Can’t stand your spouse? Then by god, what have you been doing with your life? Not being happy is a sure sign that you just don’t have your shit together – or so we have come to believe.

It’s also a pretty damn good way to measure ourselves against those around us. If, for instance, your relationship is bobbing like a half-dead fish in the water when your BFF calls you up to let you know how her new beau bought her a ridiculously disgusting spread of exotic flowers – well, then chances are you’ll be feeling a bit like a failure. And how can you possibly compete with those people who seem to be thrilled with the idea of waking up in the morning, have their calendar filled to the brim with exciting happenings, are enthralled with how perfect their families are, and have prince charming to share their magnificence with?

Those people exist, right? Well, according to Facebook they do.

I’ll admit it. I’m a bit of a Facebook whore. In fact, I probably spend more time Facebook stalking than attempting to find a decent paying freelance job. However, that simply makes me an expert of sorts (because I like thinking of myself as an expert). Which has led me to notice a few things:

There are two types of Facebook personalities:

  • The type that always has something utterly depressing to say and will passive aggressively attack those who have “wronged” them (the ones you want to block from your news feed or just punch in the face).
  • And the type that always has some exciting weekend to look forward to, the perfect partner to gush about, and the most amazing job they could have ever hoped for – you know, the perpetually happy type.

So one day I, in my unhealthy obsession with dissecting happiness into little manageable bits, discovered that Facebook had given me the sense that a huge portion of my peers (some 400+ of them) were far happier than me (minus the Debbie Downers, of course). It was obvious after browsing through thousands of pictures of smiling faces and sorting through status updates, each with the underlying message of: “Look at me and my fabulous life!”

Funny thing is, I have those pictures too. And I’ll admit to writing one or two status updates that boasted of something I have had to be happy about – because each of us chooses the side of ourselves we wish to show and the parts of our lives we want others to admire.

That is the reason why Facebook has royally screwed us over. All those people whose profiles tell us they have their shit together? They have bad days too – they just don’t take pictures of it and plaster it all over for the world to see.

Facebook is our way of entertaining each other and should be taken as nothing more. That’s just a little hard to remember when you are sleeping on your parents couch and brooding over the fact that your life seems to have veered off into a ditch. I’m just sayin’.