Same Same, but Different

Something very weird is happening right now. Actually, there are a lot of weird things happening right now. Let’s start with the least disruptive: because I can only do a handstand minus the wall when I’m outside (and also in a quest for cute Instagram photos), I spent a lot of time practicing yoga in the yard this weekend, and consequently there is poison ivy all over my back. ALL OVER. Granted, it gives me a good excuse to walk around my apartment without a shirt on in the muggy New York summer (shades drawn) (well, usually), but this certainly isn’t what I would call “fun.” Work has also been wild this week, and I’m leaving my apartment again this weekend to stay with D&D’s dogs in the Upper East Side, a staycation I can’t wait for, yet I’m desperate for a weekend at home in the Heights, curled into my chair with bad Netflix and little miss. All of these things contribute to weirdness in my already-very-weird life, but those aren’t what’s making my life weird at this moment. No, it’s something more funny and frustrating all at the same time. It’s funny because I’m acting so ridiculous, and it’s frustrating because I’ve had these conversations with myself before, and I can’t believe I’m having them all over again.

Lately I feel like I’m in the exact same spot I was a year ago, after six months of feeling like I’m a whole new person; like I’m a whole new person that’s exactly the same, with the exact same surroundings that have changed completely. People are still together but now they’re planning weddings, not Saturday nights; he and I are planning my next tattoo, only now it’s my sixth. I sleep in the same room that looks entirely different, and I’m having a conversation with myself I’ve had before, but even that’s a little different, too. “It’s all in your head!” the mirror tells me, “it’s just because you want a good story.” I tell her maybe it’s going to be right this time, and then I play Maybes and What Ifs, and she reminds me what happened last time, and why sometimes it’s silly to dream. It’s a conversation I had with myself just over a year ago, and now I’m having it again. Same same, but different.

Maybe things are in transition, and in an effort to prepare me for something totally different, the universe is throwing me a curveball of familiar, like a reminder that I pulled through last time, so just hold on for now. Maybe it’s just a fucking coincidence and who even cares tho really. And really, I’m probably reading too much into the situation, in need of an escape from the long days at my desk, and the long summer weekends where my free time sold out faster than a Taylor Swift concert. But all the same things wrapped into everything that’s changed are making the conversation that I’m having with myself again very strange, like a constant reminder of how much I’ve matured, except it looks the same as when I thought that was true the last time, too.

Someone I follow on Instagram posted one of those corny but poignant quotes recently, and I took a screenshot on a whim: “The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow.” On the least disruptive level, I sincerely hope that means that the poison ivy all over my back is healing and I won’t be in this kind of itchy-gross agony that has plagued me all week. It could mean that work is going to calm down soon, or that I’ll appreciate next weekend more than I already know I will, the only weekend in July where I have no plans but to enjoy my own apartment. But no, right now I think that means something more frustrating and funny all at the same time. It’s frustrating because I can’t figure out how to feel about this situation, and it’s scaring me that it feels so familiar yet foreign; and it’s funny, because I think this is what they call growing up.

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Ctrl + Alt + Reboot

I spent more time complaining last week than probably anything else (except working). I complained because I was sore from a tough yoga class last Sunday, and then I complained because I wasn’t doing yoga. I complained because I was stressed out at the office, and then complained even more because I couldn’t soothe the stress with a glass of wine. I complained because I’m trying to figure out my budget for the next six months and don’t know that I can reconcile another plane ticket for something I absolutely don’t want to miss. I tried to stay on the good side of positive, holding on to the Weather Channel’s promise of a beautiful weekend and a chance to catch up on sleep as the hallmark of my complaining streak to end, but by Friday night I was in no mood for anything that wasn’t sitting on my couch after a late night in the office, coconut water in a wine glass pretending it was the same (it wasn’t), hoping that my neighbors would turn down the music so I could sleep away the week and wake up on Saturday in a new attitude.

This weekend was exactly what I needed after a full week of seemingly non-stop complaining. I had long-standing plans with my partner-in-crime R to test out a Bikram yoga class (that’s the hot one), and my lovely friend M had been looking forward to Saturday, where she hosted two classes about the wonder of essential oils. Both things were massive successes in such minor ways. The Bikram studio R attends was so welcoming and enthusiastic, and despite sweating through everything I wore for the rest of the day, I felt amazing: stretched out more thoroughly than ever before, and proud, because I tried the class, made it through, and even saw some crazy improvements in backbends by the end. The oils class was even more interesting, because even though I’ve been using essential oils for years, I didn’t know a quarter of what M and her cohost share with us, like how oregano oil is as powerful as penicillin as an antibiotic, or how lemon oil on the side of your nose can help with congestion. After all the classes were over, M and I sat on her couch and just chilled for an hour, talking about the day and drinking seltzer until it was far past my bedtime, and I walked the two blocks home with the kind of smile that comes from a really satisfying day.

There’s something really nice about having plans to look forward to on Whole30, since it’s totally different from the “typical” weekend plans. I mean don’t get me wrong, when R and my fashionista C started putting up Insta-photos of their Saturday night I had the WORST pang of FOMO flood my brain, desperately missing the nights where we all go out for dinner and see what happens, never knowing if I’ll end up home by midnight, tired and a little buzzed, or if I’ll wake up on R and H the Scot’s floor, still in my party clothes with contacts in shot glasses next to my head. But in this case, after a full week of complaining and crankiness, it was really nice to know I had fun activities to look forward to that were more than “buy more vegetables and eggs and prep enough food to feed a hungry girl for the week.” Maybe it’s a sign of growing up that I can plan things for weekends that don’t involve terrible decisions. Although on that same token, I can always just plan on the healthy things and have a drink after to celebrate.

For whatever reason, there are a lot of milestones coming up in the next week, including a super major massive one tomorrow for me. I’ve actually been looking forward to this week for a while: it’s the home stretch for Whole30, the weather is finally turning around from cold and dreary to lukewarm, though still dreary today. We’re about to start a six-month period of big things, as tomorrow marks an anniversary of when everything started happening, and the new beginnings coming up soon are too numerous to try and mention. A little reboot of my life and my attitude was a good prescription for a crappy attitude, complaining about everything instead of celebrating everything that’s just around the corner. Of course, I’m still going to complain when I’m stuck in the office without snacks again, or when I see someone eating a Twix in front of me (“ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME.”), but I’ll do my best to keep it to myself for a little while. If almost passing out in a Bikram class or spending two hours covered in potent oils taught me anything on my long Saturday, it’s that staying in the present moment, with a deep breath and a smile, will come back to you threefold over complaining about the same thing, one more time and again.