I know I’m feeling better when I start to believe that cleaning out my closet will actually change my life. Or, if I get my office straightened and organized – I will then be in the position to rule the world. But when I’m feeling down, I have the over-powering, pervasive feeling that none of that would make a damn difference. It’s just stuff, stuff that just keeps me busy.
It’s curious, though, that I associate “feeling good,” with believing in something. Even if it’s a naïve belief like – the right protein powder in my shake might change the way I feel about my entire life.
There’s always something that we want, and think will make our lives better – clothes, money, job, a relationship… It’s the – if only I could have “this,” or “that” syndrome. I always said that if you really want to test what someone is made of – give them what they want. If they attain their treasured fame and fortune, it takes away their excuse for why their life is not working. They lose their belief that some “thing” will make their life better. That’s tough.
Many of us strive to “be in the moment,” and live, what Oprah calls, “authentic lives,” but we still always have our eye on the prize, even if the prize is – “being in the moment,” and living our “authentic lives.” It’s in our nature to “want,” and strive for that.
I think if we were looking down at our species from another planet, we’d probably remark how very industrious humans are. Even if it’s someone sitting, strung out on a couch, thinking, “If I get another fix, I’ll be fine.” Or, “Big Bang Theory” is coming the TV in ten minutes (my mom’s favorite), I gotta be ready.
I used to be very Spartan about being attached to things. I knew that “things” did not supply the meaning in life, and I put my money where my mouth was in that regard. I was long into adulthood before I learned how to shop, and, trust me, I can now shop with the best of them. But still, the things that matter most in life, you can’t buy at any store. And when my husband got sick with a deadly cancer, one of the first thoughts was – if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. It’s a great leveler.
Just recently I have been going through a few rough and emotional days, and a friend of mine called and said, “I’m sending you a happy box.” “Oh, really?” I replied, not knowing whether to jump up and down, or not. I know this friend has an incredibly generous heart; I also heard her mentioning that she might be purging her closet.
So, two days later, the parcel arrives, a big parcel. And I decided to open it…all the while thinking (very sadly) about how “things” were not really going to make me happy, and there were probably nice “things” in this box, but…
And then I pulled out a pair of Dolce Gabanna, Black Satin, Thigh-High Boots. After my mouth fell open, I burst out laughing. Laughing! How could I not! My friend…oh, man, she got me. She got me good!!
And it wasn’t the only thing in the box… There were other shoes buried in there, but the next thing I pulled out was a pair of Bright Red Satin, Thigh-High Boots! Holy…RED!
So, the rest of my night is put on hold while I try on all this footwear. And in pulling on the exquisite red boots, came the thought – what will I wear these with?? These boots are beautiful and bold. I have to wear something that lives up it. But…what do I dare? And where will I wear them?
And then came the mind-bending thought – Who will I be if I wear these big, bold, and beautiful boots? Certainly not the depressed, worn-out widow that’s slumped in her chair at home! And then I get what my dear friend is doing. She is diabolical – she is not going to let me stay home and wilt away. She is hitting me with retail therapy in the biggest, and most challenging way she could think of.
And it worked.
As much as we know “things” don’t really make a difference, the honest fact is – we like pretty things. Clever things. Shoes, beautiful clothes, beautiful people, smiles, impressive cars, and fascinating gadgets. We’ve always been attracted to these things, along with good food, the touch of silky fur, and the smell of a good horse.
I remember taking off in our plane early one morning, and our flight instructor and mentor, Captain Frank, was sitting in the cockpit with me. The sun was just starting to come up over the horizon, and it was breathtaking. Captain Frank smiled with contentment, and said, “Makes it all worth it, doesn’t it?” I was so impressed that this thirty-six thousand hour+ airline captain still appreciated a good sunrise after having seen thousands.
But you know… Cavemen were marveling at the same sunrises in the same way, thousands and thousands of years ago. And if Dolce Gabbana boots had been in existence then – there would have been women who would have killed for them.
I’m going to the ballet tonight. And I’m thinking – I’m wearing the black satin.