Thursday, November 1, 2012

Let Someone In

I followed a great daily email challenge from Get Buttoned Up throughout October. It provided daily prompts with small tips and actions that all came together and helped me really get prepared for the holiday season. The prompts helped me get my gift list together, my craft list, my budget, my food plan, and my Chrismas card list all put together. Pretty neat! Speaking of the holidays... I have very strong feelings against the growing focus on consumerism and the use of Christmas as a huge marketing tool for so many companies... but I feed into it. Big time. I put my tree up earlier and earlier each year. I seriously would have already had it up and decorated if I hadn't promised Jeffrey I'd hold off at least until November 1st.

I almost pulled all the decorations and the tree out this morning before leaving for work. Ha!

However, I'm not a huge fan of Christmas carols. I'll probably put some on while I decorate the tree tonight and through the weekend, but I'll be tired of them after that.

With October's success, I happily signed up for November's Buttoned Up challenge. November's daily prompts are arriving with a focus around giving and gratitude. The prompts will give me suggestions on how to give a little bit to someone else each day. This idea lifts my spirit. I love being generous, and I love brightening up others' lives. But... I'm kind of lazy sometimes. And I'm coming more to terms with the fact that I have a LOT of only-child symptoms that have stuck with me into adulthood. I pretty much spent my entire childhood and teenage years fine-tuning the art of getting what I wanted. I learned how to manipulate people to make them think that giving me what I want was what they wanted to do all along! A lot of times this seems harmless - me getting to watch a program on tv rather than the one Jeff wants to watch, my group of friends meeting me at the bar that I choose for happy hour. However, I recognize that it's a strong, recurring pattern in my life and in my relationships. At a conscious level, I love all beings and want to put collective benefit over my own desires. But my actions don't always reflect those wishes.

This morning's email prompted me to let somebody cut in line today. At the bank, in traffic, wherever. And I thought about my drive in to work. At least five cars made me cringe with their inconsideration. Someone in front of me in the right lane suddenly realized they needed to turn left, so they held me and a ton of other cars up while they figured out how to use their blinker and nudge the steering wheel to the left. While keeping pace with the fast cars in the left lane, one of the giant Guinea pickup trucks rode my butt for a few miles with their headlights shining directly in my mirrors. Then, they tried to hop around me in the right lane just to move one car ahead in line. I didn't let them in. That was pretty inconsiderate. Most of the time these folks are just assholes (like I'm being when I get aggressive). But sometimes they're not. Maybe that timid lane-changer was in a horrible car accident recently and is trying to become comfortable behind the wheel again. Maybe the jacked-up truck is being driven by a person who can't sleep well at night, but if they're late to work one more time, they're fired.

I get so wound up and tense during most of my commutes. I think often, "If people would just recognize that we are all trying to get somewhere, and that none of us are individually more important or better than another, then driving would be so much easier!" That's what I convey when I'm being a pushy, aggressive driver: that I believe that I and my time are more important than You and Your time.

The truth, from about six years of hour-and-a-half-commute experience, is that the best drives are the ones when I'm not stressing about anyone else out there. I'm not stressing getting anywhere in any amount of time. I'm just chilling in the right lane, leaving space in front of me for anyone who needs to hop over, and enjoying the scenery. Enjoying the moment. I'm not in the past, analyzing the way my boss said something to me earlier that day, and I'm not in the future, in that moment when I'll arrive home and walk in the door to cuddles from Jeffrey and kitties. I'm in that present moment - right there.

I'm going to let someone in today.