It’s a beautiful, warm spring evening. The air is soft and the sky is just starting to go pink and orange. I’m not quite bouncing on my way to the car, with my tote bag and my water bottle and my sweatshirt the brilliant turquoise blue of my daughter’s softball team, but close. Watching little girls play softball as the sun slowly sinks behind the trees, by the way, has been proven clinically effective in reducing work day stress and existential malaise according to a study I just made up. I’m off for some ballpark therapy.
And then it happens.
SUDDENLY, A DUCK.
A furiously flapping ball of feathers streaks past my head, so close one of its wings smacks me in the face. My anxiety-prone brain sends out a signal for my body to release the kraken lifesaving levels of adrenaline because it cannot differentiate between wayward waterfowl and oh, say, a serial killer. I drop my bag, my keys, my water bottle. Amidst my flailing, the sweatshirt goes flying and lands on my head. From the dirty look I get from the young couple pushing a stroller on the other side of the street, I surmise that I have screamed out a word that rhymes with duck. I sink to my knees on the sidewalk, because sometimes it just feels like the right thing to do. I pant and wait for my pulse to slow. I mentally curse the kind souls on our street who feed the birds that stray over from the pond in the local park.
After a couple of minutes, the panic attack passes. Just as it always does. I’m a pro at this now. I scoop up my things, pop some ibuprofen for the muscle aches that usually follow one of these, and head out to the field. That fucking duck, I think. The irony is not lost on me. I often compare myself to a duck, all floaty serenity on the surface, webbed feet churning wildly below, where no one can see. I think I’ve got it all under control, and then whack! Right in the face.
At the game, I tell my husband why I was late. “You mean you didn’t . . .” He pauses. He’s considering not saying it, but it’s just too good to resist. “You mean you didn’t . . . duck?”
WHATEVER, I tell him. I can handle whatever life throws at me. Even if it’s a duck.
3 Things That Were Good
1. Sweatpants & Coffee has a new blanket fort! Well, it’s a discussion group on Facebook. I’ve always loved cozy places to hang out and shoot the shit, and then Shandle had this brilliant idea. I’m buzzy from all the love and good energy there. You should come hang with us. This is gonna be a thing.
2. I went to see Avengers 2 and it was brilliant and funny and my inner Joss Whedon fangirl is satiated for now. It occurred to me in the theater how deeply nourished I feel after I’ve immersed myself in a really fun story. My brain needs to play, and occasionally it needs to watch superheroes fighting a robot army while having snarky dialogue. Ok, who am I kidding with occasionally?
3. This shirt came in the mail and my daughter loves it. I love mine, too.
2 Things I Did Well
1. This morning, I made a list of all the things I needed to do. It was comprehensive and detailed. Then I said screw it and went to work out (normally working out is somewhere toward the bottom of said list). And as I huffed and puffed in the cool morning air, I offered silent thanks for a life that, every once in a while, lets me shove the To Do list to one side.
2. I made a #pileofshit. This is will make more sense after you watch this video by the lovely Jennifer Pastiloff.
It’s an ingenius exercise in calling out your own excuses. My pile included: 1) I’m too busy or I have no time, 2) I’m too tired, and 3) I don’t know how to do this. Too busy to pursue meaningful happiness? No time for what matters? Too tired to go after what I want? I don’t know how to do something I haven’t even tried? What a #pileofshit! (P.S. You can find the sweatshirt here.)
1 Thing I Am Looking Forward To
Seeing Avengers 2 again.
Photo credit: “Duck – Rutland Water” by Airwolfhound is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.