I'm giving up on omens, signs and predictions. I've finally worn myself out with all of it. It took 50 years and a jump out of a plane at 13,000 feet, but I'm finally ready to just let things roll.
Short of a postcard from God with instructions that cover at least a year in advance, I am no longer going to try and figure out which move will get me more of what I want.
That turned out to be my real definition of willingness. I'm willing to do what it takes to get more of what I want. Anything else, and I'm not going to be happy, but will talk about it a lot.
That's really self-will and has led to a lot of chatter about how to get more of what I want, how to avoid what I don't want, and loads of fear and anxiety about failing at all of it. I consider it improvement that I've stopped saying it's what I need, and I'm at least willing to concede the small ground that it's my own self-imposed list of desires.
However, temptation still abounds.
For example, when I moved into my new apartment in Chicago, there were still more things than I had space to tuck them all away. It's amazing how one human being can keep paring down and still have so much stuff. That's the lament of someone who's doing OK in life, so I'll move on quickly.
The storage space I was assigned was way over on the other side of the building and involved propping open two iron gates. That part had me stumped until a new neighbor, Sheila Love, came along and grabbed a short piece of wood neatly jamming it just so, till the door held. I've tried duplicating that move since without success.
Anyway, she quickly volunteered to help me carry boxes over hill and dale and we exchanged the usual getting to know you data. It turned out that Sheila and husband, Andrew, are looking to move to Charlottesville, Va., but wondered if it was the right decision. "I'm hoping for a sign," she said. Sigh.
I gave in and admitted the whole Jefferson family connection, and my connections to Virginia. Fortunately, she took all of that as a good sign.
But, it could turn out to be more like my adventure when I moved to New York City when I declared I was never leaving. Two quick years later, I'm sitting in Chicago.
That might make meeting me more of a mixed signal.
This whole living just one day at a time is a much simpler tool, but first requires a big girl move. In order to successfully be in the moment, I have to let go of finding proof that this was the right moment in the first place. Sounds ridiculous, like the dog chasing the tail, but we do it anyway.
Frankly, every time I got some enormous sign that all was well, I breathed a sigh of relief for about an hour and then asked for another, rebuilding my anxiety. It was never enough because the future keeps coming at me. It's the ultimate hamster wheel and the only way off is to accept that everything is unfolding exactly as it's supposed to, and that's good enough.
Now, I've been able to do that every time I'm in a brand-new situation, like jumping out of a plane or being interviewed on live television. I realize my limitations and let go and inevitably have a much better time. What's really amazing, though, is how often I ran right back to trying to manage certain areas despite the luxurious feel to letting things just be.
But I'm finally worn out from all of it, and that's great news. No more second-guessing what the future may hold and being only half-present in front of those I love. The truth is I have no idea where things are going to lead, but I like where I am so far. More adventures to follow.
Martha Randolph Carr is the author of the novel, The Sitting Sisters. Her column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc., newspaper syndicate. She can be found on Twitter at MarthaRandolph, or e-mail at Martha@caglecartoons.com, or visit www.martharandolphcarr.com.