14 hours in my car, just me and road, and I finally saw the skyline of maybe my favorite American city, Denver. It is 5:00pm and I was sitting in bumper to bumper traffic watching the sunset over the mountains that line the city. Curiously, watching all the other drivers. Some of them, I can tell, are just as enamored as I am with the sun setting. Others are talking or texting on their phones. While others have a look and feel of exhaustion from a long day of work or play. I spend moments imagining their moves on ski’s as they blow down mountains covered in new powder or the others who sit behind a computer and type away all day, similar to how I am now.
Wondering what excites them, if they love living here, and what their deepest desires are.
Finally I reached my destination and my car turned off sighing with the same vigor I did grateful we made it. My first stop in the city is my favorite dive bar. A bullet bourbon neat is my first date to settle in and celebrate being exactly where I want to be.
I walked in and my favorite bartender was there. He sees me and I see him and both of our faces went from autopilot to connection and love.
I sat. He brought me a whiskey remembering exactly what I drink. We did some small talk. Then I sat. Silent. Just being. Watching the city lights flash outside the bar doors. Enjoying the dim lighting and the strangers that come and go.
This was also the predetermined meeting spot of my friend Jackie who I was meeting in the city. She arrived and then another beautiful friend of ours arrived and we all sat. As we sat my exhaustion began to hit. It was the altitude, 14 hours of driving, and the whiskey all at once. I quickly bolted because I knew I had to go to bed. I walked all the way back to my Air BnB and entered the dream realm. Sacking out until morning. Waking up refreshed but also feeling weird.
I felt weird because I couldn’t be social and I had to leave. I felt weird because usually I am the life of the party and love being around people and I just reached a point where I couldn’t do it. I also am a people pleaser. Which translates into worrying about what people think about me and wanting to act in ways that ensures people will still like me or see the value of me.
Thoughts began to circulate.
‘Oh man am I not supposed to be here?’
‘Is this how the entire trip is going to be?’
‘Is this all wrong?’
I recognized I was going down the rabbit hole…
Then I paused. I breathed. Then I sat. I sat in how I was feeling. Waiting for clarity.
Then it hit me. When one thing doesn’t go how you want it to go it does not mean everything else is going to go that way. One thing does not equate everything.
YES, I thought. Just because I had a weird moment it does not mean that everything is going to be weird or bad. It just means I felt weird. It just means I had to go to bed. It does not mean anything else. I am not the thoughts that are trying to sabotage the rest of my trip. I am not the thoughts that are trying to make me believe that the rest of my trip is going to be just as weird as my first night.
I could let these thoughts color and create the rest of my experience here. And I deeply believe this is how many people create a reality of suffering. They let one thing color everything. One thing begins to go ‘wrong’ and then they believe and live in the reality that everything else is going wrong or is going to go wrong.
Do you ever find yourself doing this? Allowing one thing in your life color everything else in your life?
In these moments can you remember all of the good that is also in your life? All of the things that are working or that you love?
When I paused I got clear about what my true reality was: I am in a city I love, I am with one my best friends, and I have a whole week to do whatever I want.
Am I really going to let one night of being exhausted destroy this trip? Hell no.
We can’t always control the things that happen in our lives, aka, my exhaustion. What we can control is how we react to them. What we can control is how we allow situations to affect us. What we can control is how we move forward.
The next time something happens in your life that isn’t ideal and you notice that you are letting it turn your whole day or worse your whole life into the shits, pause, ask yourself what are the things that are amazing in my life? What about today is not shitty? How can I shift and move on just as the situations, thoughts, and feelings do in my life?
Now it is your turn. I want to hear from you! Where do you do this in your life? What did this blog bring up for you? Please share all your thoughts below in the comments and also if you are so called share these words with anyone you believe could use them.
From the mile high city,