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In the pause: How to reorder life’s messy moments

“It’s all messy: The hair. The bed. The words. The heart. Life…” ~William Leal

Sometimes this is how life feels—messy. We want everything in order, in place, fixed, neat, perfect. I get this in moments, but overall life seems to trend much more toward messy. It’s nature. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that there is a natural tendency of any isolated system to degenerate into a more disordered state. In other words, entropy naturally increases unless there are outside influences that restore or re-balance the system.

If we apply thermodynamics to our very illogical, emotional human lives, those outside influences are critical to prevent the systems of our lives from disintegrating. Friends, family members, passion projects, exercise, eating well, hobbies, art, books, spending time outside. All of these forces help to re-balance our messy lives. They help us restore some sense of order, peace, and equilibrium. Life will always tend to entropy. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help to put it back together. We can only fight entropy together.

In the pause: Soothing a worrying mind

I’m so glad to be home, so excited for what’s next. And I’m not going to lie—I’m a little nervous, too. The second I solve one challenge or put one more concern to rest, another one is waiting in the wings and immediately steps into the spotlight of my attention. It’s moving, it’s job searching, it’s getting Phineas healthy and settled, and it’s the personal and professional to-do lists that never seem to end. None of this is bad at all; it’s just stuff that needs doing and I’m the one who need to do the doing.

Mine is a naturally worrying mind. I do my best to stay focused and composed though those pesky concerns are persistent little buggers. And unfortunately, if I can’t find a good one, I invent one. You know, just to get ahead of things! I don’t procrastinate well. I’m just not built for it; I often wish I was but it’s not my nature.

I was talking to my friend, Alex, and she reminded me about all of those posts we read when someone gives advice to their younger self. And they all say some variety of “Stop worrying. It’s going to be okay.” I try to imagine my older self telling myself today the same thing.

If like me you can’t stop worrying at least put the worries over there, way over there, so you can keep moving forward. I take a long walk. I take a deep breath. I remind myself of all of the difficult things I’ve done before, all of the trying circumstances I’ve survived. And that helps. Staying calm in the face of challenges is difficult, and it’s the only way to get through them. And get through them, we will.

Wonder: Give yourself the gift of all your feelings

I talked to a friend yesterday who just isn’t feeling the holidays this year. She’s had a difficult year, and the holidays are proving to be stressful and draining to her already. I listened to her for a long time, and was glad to be there for her. When she looked at me and said, “You know what I mean?”, I said, “Yes. I do. And you don’t have to do the holidays this year. You’re an adult. You can choose.” She burst into tears, not out of sadness but out of relief. She hadn’t thought of the option of opting out. And she felt better. A little lighter.

This is an option open to everyone. Do whatever you need to do to feel lighter. You can feel whatever you want to feel and do whatever you want to do—holidays or no holidays, for every reason or for no reason. And if, like my sweet friend, you need someone to just listen for a while, I’m here. I’m all ears.

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