Being, Living
Comments 4

Life Gives You Lemonade When You Don’t Know What You’re Doing

A few years ago, I met a family whose newly turned two year old son was going to start his term in my classroom.  “Milby,”  dad calmly informed me, “is pretty mellow. He is just weaning off of his binky, and my wife is about to deliver his baby brother in a few days.  We’re really excited, but I am afraid that all of this change is going to be too much for him.”  Ahhh, to be a child, when everyone around you goes the extra mile to keep your day to day living as smooth as silk. As a toddler, adults can be sympathetic when too many things are changing all at the same time.  We do our best to orient little ones into a new classroom, into the new role of being an older sibling, and literally holding their hands when growth and unease come together and they don’t quite know what they are doing.Though I find comfort  in predictability, I have always embraced change and the mind opening that comes with it.  What I don’t like though, is going through change and not knowing what the *bleep*  I am doing.  I get that there is always a learning curve, and I often quote  Ms. Mint who shared a line she likes, “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”  I get that.  I am not as hard on myself as a few people might think.  I do ‘give it time’.  Really I think I’ve got that part down.  But in spite of it all, the patience, the forbearance, and the positive visualizations, sometimes I just look up when I don’t know what I am doing and think, “Really?!?!?!  Really?”

When I say I don’t know what I am doing, some things I am talking about are:

Instagram.  I have gotten the hang of taking pictures and posting them.  I am still figuring out how to edit, crop, add text and post them with my left hand while navigating through a crowd.  How do people do this within seconds?  Is it useless to post pics of things I liked about the Renegade Craft Fair two days later?  Do I make up my own hash tags?  I admit that I don’t understand, but if another person looks at me and wants to say, “Get with it, grandma,” someone may just get smacked.

Twitter.  Don’t even get me started.

Exercise.  Physical fitness is a tease.  She acts as though she likes me.  She makes me feel like I have a shot at a long term relationship with her, and then the next day I am emotionally and physically confused.  Right when I am in a groove, feeling fine, feeling capable, she pulls away and I am left with longing… longing to feel better, longing to go further… and Physical Fitness says, “nah…. not tonight.”  Bitch.

House Plants.  It’s not brain surgery to take care of a plant, but my husband and I get so stressed when we need to take care of our one ficus tree, Bertie.  Seven drops of food or fourteen this week?  Did you spray it with the plant soap?   There’s the tray, then the thing that keeps the pot off the tray unless you want to use stones, but make sure you have mesh at the bottom of the pot first, but wait, is it two inches of soil under the roots, or just fill up the sides instead?  Yes, Bertie was named after the reluctant king which is fitting because we are reluctant plant owners.

Writing and blogging as a potential profession.  I get frazzled when bloggers say things like RSS, or UX, or other code-like things.  Whaaatt???    I like the writing part though.  Isn’t that enough?  I am apprehensive about telling more of my offline world about this blog. I don’t know what to do about that.  As Guru Gal observed, I am able to remain intuitive when I write because I have no history with my readers that can get stuck in my head.  How much longer can I look people in the eye when they ask me what I am up to and say, “oh nothing,” when what I really want to do is gush about what I am doing and how excited I am in these latest confusing, BUT exhilarating endeavors?  Instead I put on a lazy face and shrug my shoulders.   I am the Scarlet friggin’ Pimpernel.

So yes, I am a bit clueless about many things presently.  Or maybe just overwhelmed.  Not knowing what I am doing while doing it is quite maddening.  Clueless or not, maybe plowing through each day already puts life on my side, as if I am telling it, “Hey, I don’t know WHAT I am doing, but I still care, and I am still trying.”   I am further along today than I was yesterday, and further along than the day before that, and certainly the week before that.  Right as I am about to have a funeral for Bertie or give Twitter the bird, people and events are still coming through that have done more than hold my hand, they’ve served me up lemonade and skipped over just giving me the lemons, out of awareness that I may not have the mental bandwidth to squeeze it myself.  I found a community yoga class in the city with an old instructor who normally teaches at a different studio, but whose style of teaching I really connect with and have missed; the couple that lives across the hall are landscape “Bertie friendly” architects;  I randomly met a doctor looking to lease my friend’s apartment whose free advice about his specialty addressed a specific concern of mine and what to do next;  I met some sweet new local bloggers recently to help keep me motivated;  and my husband and I just spent a wild afternoon with family friends visiting from Tokyo, who finally convinced us that now is the time to take that long awaited trip to Japan, and how to start planning for it.

Such is life, with the blessing of its changes, but supply of confusion and doubt along the way.  It may not hold my hand to make it easier all the time, but it definitely helps when you give a damn, because life will give a damn for you right back.

Featured image c/o The Layered House 


  1. Wow, I can relate to all of this!! You wrote it more eloquently than I ever could… 🙂

  2. Oh sweet D, it took me forever to hammer it out but am pleased it came across just as I'd hoped! Thanks for the encouraging comment!

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