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October 18, 2019

It Ain’t That Complicated | a Manifesto on Life from Alabama

Two years ago my boyfriend and I moved from a hustling, bustling life in a growing downtown historic district that gave us a very ‘cool’ persona to a small suburban town in Alabama. Our previous entertaining of our friends for cocktails before going to eat trendy sushi then sing karaoke at a hipster bar was traded completely as we moved into a small duplex neighborhood, where the coolest Friday night activity was hitting the family-friendly pizza joint a ‘stone’s throw’ away.

We had traded 1897 original brick for linoleum siding, swapped the homeless manifestos we got to hear porch side for the opportunity to drive ‘into town’ to hit the grocery store. Personally, I traded a 90-hour-work-week as a wedding planner while teaching six yoga and pilates classes and balancing a social life for working at home (A.K.A a whole lotta nothing)

In this space of quiet, many things came to manifest: growth as well as deeper love and maturity, but the most fascinating thing that grew out of this time was a surprise visitor. It was a quiet early morning of journaling when I was struggling with anxiety, or perhaps withdrawals from the busy-life, when I wrote, “I wish I had someone to think about other than myself.”

In that last stroke of my pencil, a tail came floating by the window. I wrote in my journal, just like a fifth-grader discussing her big crush, “OMG, A DOG JUST SHOWED UP! GOT TO GO!”

Trotting up from the highway, this 104-pound chocolate lab was panting, knocking into our lives with an overthrown lamp there and a slobber puddle here; with a twinkle in her eyes that said, “I’m about to change your lives forever.” After several flyers and attempts to find this love muffins parents, it was apparent, those parents were us. We named her Eggo, after the eight scrambled eggs she ate that morning she found us.

I realized, much later than would have been helpful, like all good epiphanies, that Eggo mirrors my emotions. On mornings where I would get nervous and put on that silly, ‘CEO Hat’, I often tried to slip on to mirror my old life and friends by rushing around in the kitchen in work clothes, even though no one could see me but her and me, she would pant and scream. Yet in the mornings where I would wake up easy in my tye-dye sweat pants and grab my spiral notebook and write, she would be as calm as a large, furry cucumber.

That discovery of our temperaments matching, promoted further by the cold rainy unplugged morning my soul had been craving, led to the earthing of this here Manifesto, written to you all the way from ‘Bama:

It Ain’t That Complicated

Use Your Phone like a Doorbell

If a current moment in time wouldn’t be a good time for your neighbor to ring your doorbell to chat, why would it be the moment to be speed texting your old college roommate? If you wouldn’t want the online party to be at your kitchen table, don’t invite them via telephone. This rule is especially useful over breakfast, dinner, and breaks – use the time for yourself and the real-life humans in front of you.

Eat like it’s your Birthday

When someone treats you to dinner on your birthday… don’t you order that ‘special’ item, take pictures and savor the bites to come? Maybe even order dessert? It’s an experience. There is no reason you can’t have the same magical presence on a Wednesday night. Just remember to store your phone after the 8th picture you’ve taken of your CousCous Veggie Delight.

Move, then.

You actually don’t need a giant planner, to-do list or reoccurring pilates appointment to stay healthy. If you get the urge to move, move THEN; versus scheduling your exercise into the future. Your body is asking you for 10 jumping jacks or a walk around the block when you get that urge to start moving more. Don’t move the urge out of your body and into your head and calendar by misunderstanding the nudge, just get moving.

Love off the paper.

Gratitude lists are great, but just like scheduling pilates every Tuesday, they move you out of your body and into your mind again. The emotion of gratitude is meant to expand your heart and create a frequency of appreciation around you. Could you correlate this emotion with an action you do every day? When I drive up the two-lane road to my house, I often speak out loud all the things I’m thrilled about. I look a little nuts, but that’s what two-lane roads are for… no-one can see my profile view!

Accept it or change it.

To quote that old Blink-182 song, “Work sucks, I know.” Do something else, or move on. Life if short and you are smart enough to do anything.

That’s it, friends. Roll tide! 😉

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