“I know girl. But if the only way to avoid the lows is to avoid the highs too, it’s not worth it.”
This past weekend was one of those perfect, lazy city weekends. Despite an initial prediction of 90% chance of rain on Friday, the weather was clear and sunny, just hot enough to feel like summer and not too hot that having a picnic in Central Park after work is uncomfortable. The Nickname Posse minus C had plans to do exactly that once we realized the weather would hold, and M prepared us all a feast, cheese and meats and olives and more; the night that we all thought would end early instead found us in the Park till 10:30, laughing, finishing the last bits of sangria, and willing the bugs away so we could savor the final few moments of a perfect night. The next day evolved slowly and easily, brunch with my dearest K and M turned into drinks back at his place, turned into a walk in the parks of the Heights, summer sun and the bouncing Lakeland running ahead of us keeping the smiles that started on Friday on our faces. Sunday I finally made it back to the mat, with an early Bikram yoga class to sweat out everything from the past few weeks and rehab my back a little, and when I crawled into bed later that night, exhausted and wishing for one more day like the past few, I had to laugh a little before sighing deeply. Life is good right now, I found myself saying, just before my tired eyes shut for the night.
These types of weekends aren’t rarities, but they aren’t commonplace anymore either. Life is evolving quickly here these days, the rush of the summer’s end calling attention to some big changes in everyone’s lives, weddings, birthdays, more. It makes the next part of this year like this huge, scary unknown, like we know exactly what’s going to happen yet the situation is completely out of our control. Then again, now that it’s officially four weeks out till my birthday, maybe I’m just reacting to being in what feels like the same exact position as last year while officially entering my late 20s. These questions were on my mind last night for a while as I settled in my chair with a cup of tea and Netflix, trying to make sense of these big questions where I’m not even sure I want an answer.
Something I’ve been doing in yoga lately is switching up my usual mantra to one that carries a meaning I struggle to embrace: Choose love. This doesn’t mean dating or family or really any kind of love in particular. It’s just a reminder to choose to focus on the good things. Choose what gives back love and smiles instead of choosing to dwell on the negative; in the context of this weekend it mostly meant I needed to focus on the benefits of Bikram practice instead of how badly I wanted to pass out during the standing postures, but it has wider implications for the weeks to come (or at least I think it might).
I was texting my soul sister E in the midst of the aforementioned Netflix-ing and contemplating, and she mentioned those words at the top, which were exactly what I needed to hear after a weekend like this one. I won’t go into the context – it’s of little consequence, really – but it started to make sense on a number of levels, and I had to write it down before I forgot. Why is it so hard to choose the positive? When the focus is avoiding what could hurt or what could be difficult, it’s too easy to miss that without the low moments, there’s nothing to make the high points that much better. It’s not a matter of seeking out the low moments to experience the high, but a reminder not to give them the attention they crave. I have a feeling in the next few months there’s going to be a lot of low moments, after a spring and a summer filled with highs, but I think in the end that’s okay. Because I also have a feeling that I can choose to look at the low moments not as things to break me down, but as teaching moments in looking to always, always choose love.