Erin's Journals

Monday, March 13, 2023

Just a thought… You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength. [Marcus Aurelius]

You can watch a video version of this journal on my Facebook page, or here on YouTube.

Welcome in, my bleary-eyed friend. Two things people are talking about today: the Oscars, which I will have watched after writing this (and we’ll cover a few aspects of the show later this week in the Gracefully and Frankly podcast) and, of course, the second thing is the time.

I used to hate the Monday after we put our clocks ahead with the heat of a thousand suns. When you get up in the middle of the night, that hour makes a lot of difference, and my body clock would take a week to adjust. That being said, I’m not going to complain about it, because no one has asked me if we should move our clocks or not. And there are enough opinions out there on changing the time that you don’t need mine.

But I do want to talk about the concept of time. On Facebook Saturday I posted this picture.

It is about NOW, obviously, and how it is the only time we have.

I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately, especially the time spent away and the time I wasted, worrying about whether my friends were having a good time. And in the days since Lisa Brandt and I discussed this very thing, how ensuring everyone in the room or even, say, the lineup at the grocery store is not being bothered by anything, especially anything related to what I might be doing, is NOT my responsibility, not my superpower… I can’t stop thinking about it.

It’s a really eye-opening concept, and shakes up what those of us who grew up in either volatile or uncertain surroundings have ingrained in our DNA. Am I doing enough to make sure my mom isn’t upset? What was that sigh about? Is she mad I’m reading while she’s vacuuming? If I take too long finding my store discount app on my phone, is the guy behind me going to be angry? Is everyone at the dinner party okay with the music, the presentation, the meal?

See, this is why some people are easy, gracious hosts who regularly have guests over. I am not that person and I think it’s cost me some possible friendships here on the island. One couple inadvertently intimidated me so much with their high-end coffee maker (and I’m talking really high-end, like new-car-price high-end) and their particular wine tastes that I couldn’t bear to have them over to reciprocate their two invitations and risk not measuring up.

I know how ridiculous that sounds. So I ask myself, and you: at what age do we decide that it just doesn’t matter? It’s not our responsibility? To shake off the fear of not fitting in, meeting a certain standard or keeping the peace in uncertain surroundings?

I don’t know. It’s exhausting. But that’s been my journey this past week, with pieces of wisdom driving home that message almost daily in my inbox.

Mistakenly thinking I have that superpower of making everyone happy all the time has cost me precious time, and the chance to really make memories.

Now, on the other hand, my job as emcee, hosting a day-long event as I did last Thursday for a large corporate group in Victoria, BC, is exactly the thing I’m saying I should let go of: I am hired to make sure that everyone is having a good time. But it’s the difference between me taking responsibility if the buffet isn’t good (and it was) and just handling my own job: what I say, how I deal with screw-ups big and small in the moment.

Have I spent the last three or four days thinking of things I could have done better at the event? Of course. If you don’t, you don’t improve. You welcome feedback, which I’m happy to say has been 100% positive. You use it as fuel to be better. But unlike a recorded show where you can go back and edit, and believe me, occasionally Lisa or I will say, “Uh, yeah, that may have been over the line; let’s take it out,” it was live and in the moment, and nothing that happened can be changed.

It’s why all we have is NOW. We move forward, knowing it’s never too late to change for the better. We can alter our opinions, growing as compassionate and intelligent humans, and learning from our mistakes. And, most of all, we can remember the words of the stoic Marcus Aurelius: “When you arise in the morning, think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love….”

Sure beats hating that the clocks went ahead, doesn’t it?

Have a good week – and there’s a brand new Drift story for you tomorrow. It’s Raggedy Ann Learns a Lesson and I think you’ll like it. And Episode 11 of Gracefully and Frankly drops on Thursday. Grab a cuppa and we’ll talk to you then.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, March 13, 2023