It's a rainy morning and I should be out of bed, preparing my almost-two year old's lunch. I should be taking a shower and getting dressed before the kids wake up. I already had a cup of coffee but coffee doesn't do anything for me anymore. I have reached the cap on the tolerance scale when it comes to coffee and the only other option would be energy drinks or pre-workout. But I don't want to feel energized right now. Instead, I want to remain in bed, cozy, listening to Luna snoring beside me and enjoying the silence of the dim-lit room, the sound of a bird's chirping outside my window, the rain clapping against the top of the air-conditioner. I want to stay here, in this moment, before the day gets rushed, loud and busy.
The time is 6:56 am, and I have been up since 5 am. Not by my own choice, but by my husband, who wakes up early to head out to work by 5:30 am. He woke me this morning with a light kiss, and a laugh, when I squinted open my eyes and he informed me I was snoring with my mouth wide open. He was holding a mug in each hand, and I was grateful. My gratitude pushed me out of bed. How could I turn away his effort? "Okay, I'll get up," I said, and rolled out of bed. My first destination was the bathroom, where I emptied my bladder and washed up. Second destination was the front porch, where we tend to sit together on mornings and late evenings, typically with our coffee and cigarettes. In the morning, our time together can vary in two different extremes. Either we are talkative, and share about the day we each have planned ahead of us. OR-we sit in silence, privately preparing ourselves for the day we have ahead of us. Today was for talking, although there wasn't much to say. It is raining after all, and therefore the kind of work he does is limited to indoor activity, which he had one or two indoor jobs lined up. There wasn't much going on with my day that would be different from any other. Get up, get the kids ready, drop off the baby and go to work. Leave work, pick up the baby, and work some more. So, instead of sharing about my day, I shared about the book I've been listening to on my car rides to and from work.
"It's motivating. I like it. And he's funny too," I said, referring to Kevin Hart. I recently finished listening to his first book on audible, and moved onto his second, The Decision. I told my husband about some of my favorite points so far, including the topics of blaming others and playing the victim. My husband seemed interested, and he commented on how much better it is to listen to a motivational speaker who is funny, than one who can be drawn out and boring. "You know, like therapists. They can be so boring," he said, in his Ricky Ricardo accent. Actually, it's his real life, heavy, latino accent, but I like to refer to it as the Ricky Ricardo because people understand what I'm describing.
I gave him the side eye but let him finish his point. (ahem....keep in mind I am a therapist, and I don't think I'm so boring...but let's not get caught up on that thought). When he was done, I thought back to the days I worked in a residential program and remembered how fulfilling it felt to speak to the patients about not only their pasts, but their potential. "You know," I started, "I really enjoyed working at the program because everybody was there all the time. You really got to know the patients. And I have realized through the years, I enjoy talking to people not only about the "why" but also the "how'. I'm a therapist, and I know it's important to understand why we feel what we feel, and why we do what we do, but if we get stuck there, we won't get to the moving forward part. A lot of people get caught up in the why, but only some think about the how. Like how do I get better, how do I stop doing the same things over and over again. How do I stop repeating the same mistakes. How do I change my life. How do I reach my goals. How do I move forward." I paused. "What does it matter to know the why, if we don't think about the 'what now'?" He nodded his head in acknowledgment, and we both remained silent for a moment. i think we both needed a second or so of silence to think of our own lives, the journey we each have lived. He has his, as I have mine. We both have made several mistakes and taken detours with dead ends, but the one thing we have in common is we both have persisted to achieve something. So far, our shared something is our family. Not to say our marriage and family life is perfect-but we were two wounded human beings, with our own baggage, who both wanted to make something better for ourselves and for our kids.
I sat there, thinking about my vision for my practice, still figuring out what it will grow into, and certain of what I want to do. I enjoy motivating people, seeing their eyes light up with hope. But I also realize that I'm not the hero of anyone's story. It is the individual who has to make a choice. It is one thing to think about the how, and another to act on it. To be willing to take the risk of "failure", knowing you will face judgment and criticism, and remembering that those same people who are judging you and criticizing you are human also, with their own pasts, their own baggage, and at the end of the day, they are human just like you. We are all on a journey trying to figure out what success and happiness looks like, and it doesn't have to be a big feat like becoming a Nobel Peace Prize winner or a New York Times best seller. Happiness and success could be as personal as not picking up that drug each day, or not having an angry outburst and rupturing yet another relationship. The goal can be holding a job long term, having meaningful relationships, or perhaps, just for today, it can be staying in bed a little while longer, (after your husband has gone off to work) and enjoying the sound of the rain.
It's now 7:34 am and the little one beside me has awoken. A little smile and mischievous giggle can do a lot more than coffee to get the day going. Til next time-