Just when you think you've cosmically evolved, you buy a cat. I am generally a doer. A go-getter. A sleep-when-you're-deader. And this past year, it all caught up with me. I burned out at work, at home, and even alone by myself. I would sit around the house staring, exhausted. Wasn't pretty. So I gave myself one of those Annette Benning American Beauty pep talks to climb out of my limited perspective and made some choices to be happy. We traveled this summer, I reconnected with friends, I eased up on my relationship with the dollar, wrote a book. It pretty much worked. I felt evolved and strong.
So, as my chemical balance evened out and my guard fell down, my old neurons started firing again. What next? What big plan am I after now? What is the next big thing I'm going to do to change my life? And while I'm at it, how can I make more money? Okay, these questions aren't terrible questions to ask. I'm not saying I shouldn't want to push forward, have affluence, or keep growing. But when those questions have a hint of crazy in them, they ain't helpin' nobody. Those questions have everything to do with reaching into the future and little to do with the nowness of real happiness. The questions came out of resisting the present by depending on the future.
Right as shit was about to get real again, our dear friend put a fire under our bums to buy a cat. Husband and I had been talking about it for months and after a gentle prompt, we decided it was time. And you know what happened? We adopted her and then we played. Just played. And cuddled. And played. Then we all ate some dinner. And played. And slept.
I turned to husband and said, I feel strange and uncomfortable. He said, why? I said, because I'm completely present and trying to worry about tomorrow, but it's literally impossible because look at our furbaby. (I realize I have also now completely ascended into full-blown writer mode by adding a cat to my repertoire of writerly life habits, and for this I am most proud.) This is the amazing thing about taking a step forward that has nothing to do with changing the future and everything to do with changing right now: your world immediately transforms. This wasn't a project to generate income, power, status, clout. It was a life project. A project to take us out of complacency and into full out living. We stopped marking it and dropped the f@#$ in. It was beautiful.
Everyone needs a life project. Everyone needs a little difficulty in order to expand. We brought a 2 pound kitten home and I immediately looked around the apartment and saw it in a completely new way. I looked at husband and saw him in a completely new way. My sense of Self immediately shifted. The scariness of letting my identity shift so I could add cat-owner onto my previous list of marked traits was diffused by the fact that this kitten needed some food and attention. A lot of love came flooding in and turned down the volume on all of the crap I was used to holding onto in my crowded little brain.
Those big questions about how to move into the future are all well and good, but sometimes they're not the catalysts for change. Sometimes instead of lurching forward, we need to dive inward. Get comfortable with how uncomfortable we are staying in the moment. Dig up the love we have stored down at the bottom of our guts. And just play.