I was so happy to be strolling in the sunshine, down the wide concrete sidewalk to the therapist’s office yesterday. (My family back east will be gasping over this, as if I’ve just admitted to being criminally insane.)
But in Los Angeles, we love our therapists. Mine is more like a girlfriend than anything else. OK, a girlfriend I’m paying to listen to me, non-stop for an hour, but a girlfriend nevertheless.
She’s kind, patient, wise, smells good, and has helped me through some hideously bad years, so I was looking forward to seeing her because I’ve been very up and down lately. I couldn’t wait to vent about how stressful my life has been.
As I was happily strolling toward the tan, five story medical building, formulating my long list of grievances, and poor-me moments, a van was waiting in front. A wheelchair rolled out through the sliding glass doors of the building. The man in the wheelchair had graying hair and was probably my age, but looked older because of what looked like a serious illness. He just stared at the ground. A woman, wearing a fitted dress with a yellow jacket and a worried look on her face, walked behind his wheelchair. They were followed by a younger man who looked like he might have some mental illness.
My great, first-world moment of perfectly formulated self-pity was blown apart before I even got through the front door. Clearly, God plans these things to see if you’re paying attention. As the doors to the elevator slowly closed, I couldn’t get their image out of my head.
When I got upstairs to my favorite position on the comfy, dark brown, leather couch, I told my therapist I felt pathetic complaining about my lack of work and dwindling finances. At least I can get up in the mornings and look for work without having to worry about my health (not yet anyway). And everything I wanted to whine about, I just couldn’t anymore. Oh I mustered up a little, but not with my usual gusto.
Trust me, life is not easy right now. Have I been rejected for every good paying, full time job with benefits I’ve applied for in the past seven years? Yes. Do I have several friends in the same boat? Yes. Are we all pretty smart, dare I say, even accomplished, college grads? Yes.
So, what the hell? Everyone tells me it’s the times we live in. If you’re our age, you’re either freelance or part-time. Period. I’ve even contemplated climbing up on one of those high rise billboards on Sunset Blvd. and not coming down until someone agrees to give me a full-time writing job with benefits. (I’m not kidding, I really did — and I hate heights.)
But at least I have options.
And none of us is without hope, and that’s what I saw on the faces of those people yesterday.
Yes, it’s hard right now, but it’s not hopeless. My mom always said, “God helps the one who helps himself.” And I can do that.
So, I left with a plan, and a mantra that my therapist helped me formulate. (I can hear my brothers going: “Oh dear God, now she has a mantra too?”).
I’ll end every night, in my comfy bed with my mom’s crochet bedspread, and list all the things and people I’m grateful for. And I’ll start every day with my my new mantra which is about feeling lucky to have talents that I can work hard (no, make that – work really hard )to hone, and achieve the success that I want.
Today I feel lucky to be able to do that, because there are so many people who would like to, but can’t.