It’s an ugly day. Dark gray, drab. You could say it’s raining on my parade, but it isn’t. Not yet, but it will. On a whim, I took today off work. The car needed to go in for service—oil leak—something to be stressed about. I took it in for an oil leak three weeks ago, two of them actually, and the repair was covered under warranty. Free to me. You get what you pay for, I paid nothing. So here I go again, hoping it’s still under warranty. This time I’ll ask why I’m getting so many leaks.
On the way home from dropping off the car, I told Susan I’m winning. “Winning what,” she asked.
“Life.” I’m winning life.
“It isn’t a contest,” you say. Bull-hockey, everything’s a contest. The other night in spin class, I grabbed the bike right in front of a wall-mounted fan. When I sat up straight, I could touch the fan with my head. Not that I’d ever sit up straight in a spin class, but that fan back there bugged me. It seemed to loom over me in a threatening way, like it would suck up my hair if I had any hair. I got off and pushed my bike forward twelve inches. For the rest of the class, it felt like I was leading the pack. Winning the race. I was twelve inches out in front of everyone else.
Because I had to drop the car off, and I still need to pick it up, the workday seemed like a total loss. Better for me to stay home, squeeze in a run. When I say squeeze, I really mean a leisurely stretch and foam roll, dilly-dally over a long lunch of cold rotisserie chicken that I bought last night for this very purpose (I call this fueling), and then lope off for a two-hour jog around the park. Jeff’s perfect day. But now I’m facing rain.
So a whole day off. I’m going for a run, probably. Sometimes I stress about how little I actually achieve in my life. One of the blogs I read religiously, Jo Hawk the Writer features a daily quote. Jo Hawk posts a quote as one of the meme-picture-things and then uses it as a writing prompt for a two-paragraph musing. Much of the time, she writes about achievement. She writes about how much she gets done during her days (equivalent to what I get done in a week), and describes her strategies for success. I don’t know why I like to read this sort of thing, it often makes me feel lazy, but I do… every day. And then I wonder why none of it ever rubs off on me.
Here’s something interesting about Jo Hawk: I’ve been writing about her as if she’s a woman, but really I have no idea. The name “Jo” seems feminine, so I immediately assigned her that gender, but over the two or three years I’ve read her blog, she’s never definitively said one way or the other. It’s become a game for me, looking for clues, I’m pretty sure I’m right.
In July of 2017, I made a life-altering mistake. I took a job I hated. Just a couple of days into the job, I knew I screwed up… big. I captured that feeling well HERE. My boss was abusive (to everyone, not just to me, and ultimately she was fired for it, but that did me no good, I was long gone by then), and the things I did each day bore no resemblance to the job we talked about during my interviews. Seriously depressed and sinking lower daily, I quit my job. I quickly found a new job with a financially unstable company, and I spent the next year watching us go slowly out of business.
For the past year, I’ve been in a job I like. The company is stable, the people are nice, my coworkers seem to like me. Yesterday at work, one of my coworkers actually told me that people like me. “People say you’re helpful.” I’m not sure what prompted that, if I’m different from my predecessor, but I’m happy she told me. To Susan and me, it feels like we’ve emerged from a long, dark tunnel deep underground. We’re finally seeing the light of day, even if this day is cloudy and gray. I’m winning life right now, beating the odds. Things are going well. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to gorge out on cold chicken and go for a run.