Life is 80% choices.
Boy is that a relief. A truth. A fact(ish). It can be an empowering realization -if we let it be.
But sometimes we swell the 20% so it’s big and puffy and fills up the room. Like my face the morning after sushi (Is that just me?!) It doesn’t always feel like a choice- I know. And it’s so easy to hear others blaming circumstances.
I would be happy but...
I would work out but...
I would move but...
I’d quit my job but...
I don’t always hear my own but. Yes, that’s funny (hear my own but/butt- get it?) I’ll pause so you can giggle like the third grader that I am.
But sometimes I do hear it and I don’t know how to climb over it. Because it doesn’t usually feel like a but at the time, or even a choice, it feels like a fact. It feel's like the 20% of life that isn't a choice.
A friend was asking if I was more like Parker or Grey. G and I love to stay in bed and wear pajamas. We can introvert like a BOSS.
We can and do spend hours each weekend- just like this. It's our favorite.
He loves to be around a small group of people he knows (ditto). He hates to be around big groups of people he doesn’t know (ditto). Not like at Target or an amusement park- but like at a big party with slightly known acquaintances.
Like Parker, I am a big feeler and a life enthusiast. We can be very LOUD and chatty. I notice the little things and I must announce their presence to others with glee- "Look at the moon- it’s beautiful!" (Parker says bootiful and I can’t correct him because it’s so adorable.) It's why I write.
However, Parker loves a crowd (and getting lost in one would not bother him one bit). His toe tips on extroversion much more than mine. He’s always up for an adventure or a last-minute visit to a friend. He’s spontaneous. Flexible.
I wonder how much of our introversion/extroversion is wired in brain chemicals from before birth, and how much is circumstantial? It’s hard for me to believe that our environment has nothing to do with it. I have always a huge feeler/thinker. Even as a small child, I would present questions and thoughts to my mom that would stop her in her tracks. My brother died when I was three. I recall being sometimes scared to leave the house- thinking- I think they left him somewhere. What if they leave me somewhere too? I realized then- the simply act of leaving your house and walking down the street can be dangerous. The simple act of loving someone and needing someone can be scary. Loss can hurt. Love and loss shapes who you are for life.
I don’t need a lot. A small group (or even one) of people that feel like safe. Someone who can go deep with me. Someone I can trust implicitly. Someone who will show up without me having to ask. Someone I understand. Someone who understands me. I remember when Grey was first trying to talk- and I was watching the level of difficulty he experienced trying to get even simple needs met. I recall thinking of how so so frustrating and terrifying it would be if you could not express your needs and hopes and desires. And really, I realized that is true for all of us- autism or not- One of our greatest pains in life is to be misunderstood. We all want to use our words to be understood, and to connect with others. Regardless of our personality. It's simply part of being human.
Recently while on a walk, I was listening to the song Walls on repeat. Click HERE to listen. I love this song (I linked a version I love- the Lumineers covering Tom Petty). It holds simple lyrics that stop me every time.
And all around your island
There's a barricade
It keeps out the danger
It holds in the pain
Listening to these words made me instantly cry one morning. I cried because of how well these words knew me, and how well I knew these words. Was it the loss of Doug that makes the world feel scarier than it should? Is it introversion? Is it anxiety? Is it autism? Is it Parker’s lack of safety awareness? Is it my genetics and brain chemicals? How do we separate who we are, how we are genetically wired, and our life’s ability to completely rewire everything we are inside?
2020 was a crazy year. Staying home went from an option, to a requirement. And like so many of you, I am getting more in touch with how I am wired. Despite a pandemic, I feel like I am less scared of being out in the world, because I've had more time to realize who I am and how I am wired. It’s been a healing year. It’s been a hard year of restrictions. It’s been a year that has helped me realize- I don’t want or need resolutions or bucket lists. I just need to continue to seek the small perfect moments that make me feel alive. They are there- pandemic or not. They are there regardless of your life’s choices or circumstances. They are there.
Will you seek them? The moments where, for a flash in time, you feel gratitude and joy and peace and purpose.
Welcome to 2021, my friend. I don’t know the answers, but I will keep asking the questions. That’s all I got for now. I can’t tell you how happy I am to have you here with me.