“Will you actually drive it?” —
— as texted by my dad after I announced that I would be renting (AND driving) my very own Uhaul. How else was I to haul my belongings off to storage in the middle of a Spring rainstorm??? It’s true, though. I am that stereotypical “female driver.” What can I say? I lack spacial awareness…or something like that.
But no worries! I’ve got this. I’ve done FAR harder things than driving a Uhaul.
So there we were – me in my 20-somethings and my friend Janelle in her 30-somethings and we BOTH look 16. Our plan was to drive her little car to the hardware store to retrieve the Uhaul, leave her car in the parking lot, and then travel together in the truck to my previous living space where we would throw all of my earthly belongings into the truck as quickly as possible because the ONLY time slot I could get for the stupid truck was from 12-4:00 and we had to clock more than an hours worth of drive time. Apparently everybody and their brother chose that same week to move.
No worries still. I got this. I am the queen of “I’ll handle it”! This is just another “Day in the Life” after all. I made the reservation a few days before so that all I had to do was sign the necessary paperwork and get the key. We found the truck easily enough and I hopped in to make sure I could, ya know, reach the pedals and everything. Turns out, though, that when you drive over railroad tracks in a moving van you are actually supposed to slow waaaaaay down before you roll over them. Janelle was chattin’ away (probably to distract herself from her impending doom from my driving) and before I even knew what was happening we both started bouncing around the truck’s cab like a couple of headbangers at a rock concert. This beast was NOT my sporty Honda. Oops. We couldn’t stop laughing. I can only imagine what other drivers were thinking of us, these two “little girls” in a great big truck laughing our heads off. One of the best parts about my days with Janelle is that we act tipsy without one single drop of alcohol. #lifewin
Somehow we made it the 30 minutes across town, loaded up my stuff (with the help of two other friends) at the speed of The Flash, drove the truck BACK across town, unloaded all of my belongings into Janelle’s spare bedroom, filled up the truck at the gas station, and returned the truck with time on the clock left to spare. It was handled…like a boss.*
I’m pretty sure that I’ve been a “can-do” kind of girl since the beginning. My mom tells these slightly disturbing stories about how I would hide in the closet at age 3 or 4 so that I could practice tying my shoes without interference (and judgement). I was pretty well convinced that any action that could be observed could be learned on my own. As a child, whenever my mother would ask me if I wanted any help I would reply sharply, “No, I do it!” And thus it has continued…
I can do it. There may be some tears and some whining but you best believe I can take care of it. Like back in college when my friends where enjoying “the best years of their lives” and I was in an honors program, and writing a thesis, and working, and taking care of my family’s 2 houses and their 3 cars because they had expatted (it’s a word – fo realz) to Estonia for several years. But I handled it. Or like when I quit my job and packed just enough boxes of belongings to fit in my car and drove from the south to the midwest to start a brand new big city life. I somehow handled that, too.
For the longest time I believed this ability to take care of situations was some sort of super power. As if I had somehow obtained “Survival of the Fittest” status. I’d flex my muscles and think about how awesome I was because of this long list of stuff that I was able to handle on my own. HA.
Something about this particular “life upset” has got me thinking though: Do I handle these stressful/difficult/complicated issues/things/happenings simply to get back into a comfortable state? As if I have handled things IN life but have become lazy when it comes to life ITSELF. Maybe?
Liz Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love knows all too well that we humans are constantly trying to make ourselves comfortable. Hungry? We eat. Thirsty? We drink. Cold? We turn up the heat. Sad? We make ourselves feel happy again. These are all well and good (and in some cases necessary for our survival), but does mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical growth come from states of comfort? Liz humorously writes about how meditation tested her limits of uncomfortable-ness. I mean, for real, anyone who has taken the time to meditate for any length of time knows the struggle is all too real. Until you have meditated you have not yet known how truly excruciating a nose itch can be! Then there’s bottom ache, and numb foot, and low back burn… You want so badly to be comfortable that your brain starts telling you, “If you just scratch your nose, then I promise I won’t even think about interrupting you again.” Which lasts until you realize that your butt really does ache annnnnd it’s only been two minutes… Poo.
There is something to be said for going straight through some garbage in your life. Not over. Not under. Not around. Sometimes you just gotta take a deep breath, pinch your nose, and dive right in. And that’s far from comfortable…
Last fall, as my lease came to a close, I began interviewing for marketing positions in a different state. There were tours of companies, chats with VPs, marketing assignments, and 1st and 2nd interviews… but no job offers. So what did I do? I rented a small space on a month-by-month basis in a half-a-million dollar house that belonged to a friend because I didn’t know what I wanted from life. I didn’t want to handle it. I wanted to go over, around, or under the garbage – but not through it. Four months later there were still no new job offers and I was still discontent with my current job and I was still not sure what I wanted from life. I had found my way into a comfortable groove in life – steady job with great benefits, amazing friends, nice place to live, big city life. And I looked to the sky and said, “God, I don’t feel like I am growing anymore. I’m ready to grow. So, bring it on!” **
That very same day life dumped me on my butt. SURPRISE!!!
*By the way, did you know that it’s a great sin to return a Uhaul to a drop-off point OTHER than the pick-up point? And apparently that sin can only be forgotten after a $100+ charge.
**Never ever EVER say these words to God unless you want your world as you know it to come crashing down. You have been forewarned!