#Mortality

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You know how every time a character in a movie needs a change of heart, they witness something that reminds them how short life is?

That just happened to me.

Tonight, I left a regular day at work to go to a regular doctor appointment and then my regular exercise class (spin) and my regular Tuesday night pub trivia. I was feeling super full, having eaten too much sodium paired with a beer, and paid my tab early and left.

Half a mile before home, I was approaching the last big intersection in my route. All of a sudden, I saw a bike flip, and a man wildly roll across the road. He had been hit by a white Prius.

Everyone stopped. There was a three second delay at least. Finally the car right in front of me put on flashers and I saw a woman run out into the road. The man in the car next to her did the same. The Prius pulled to a stop on the other side of the intersection, and the driver at fault ran to the victim as well.

As far as I could tell, the victim was alive. He was unmoving in the road, but in the fetal position, which tells me he was conscious enough to move instinctively. Three drivers and a pedestrian were helping him. The Caltrain was going by. It was chaotic.

The traffic began to build up behind the scene of the accident. I was first in line behind the immediately witnessing cars. I had an easy way to go around the scene, but I felt obligated to stay and stare in shock and empathy. I wasn’t helping at all, but it felt wrong to drive away. Finally, one of the drivers who had stopped to help the victim began directing traffic around the scene. I was the first to take his cue. I was so relieved.

The guy was likely alive and was probably going to stay that way. The reckless driver stopped and did the right thing. But I was still left with a huge, full-being shake-up. This guy had to have been in SO MUCH PAIN. And he was there. Did he have people who would know and care for him? Did he work in an industry where he’d be disabled from his job forever? Moreover, if he did actually die from the collision, where would he end up and would he be good with his life?

This is all WAY too deep for a regular Tuesday night. But I chose to leave early and witness this accident and be reminded that being miserable for some greater end goal is not worth it because a white Prius could hit you on your regular Tuesday night. You can plan for the future all you want but some things just aren’t in your control. Saving money is good. Flossing is good. But doing stuff you hate and believing that this stuff you hate will someday become better is not worth it. Something I hate is my self-taught habit to always apologize for myself. Like my wants and needs aren’t good enough. That’s, uh, insane. Apologizing is good when you’ve done something wrong, but it’s not so good when you are making yourself feel wrong.

So, as I reflect on my movie-plot-device evening, I’m going to go to sleep. At like 9pm. Because I like sleeping more than I like being tired throughout a busy day. I owe it to my colleagues and my loved ones to be bright and ready to support them. And I won’t apologize.

I’m a closet idiot, and other very true and verified facts

Fun story: I’ve been anxiety free for at least a month.

 

This isn’t like smoking. You don’t fall off the boat once and then maybe binge for a few months before remembering how much it sucks and resolving to quit again. (Note: I obviously have no idea what addiction is like.)

 

Anxiety is a come-as-she-pleases bitch. She senses a weakness in you — whether you have a low-grade fear of something happening in your life or you just haven’t been sleeping enough — and she attacks. You can’t breathe right; you lose even more sleep.

 

Have you ever, say, really needed to break off a relationship or get out of an unhealthy workplace? Once you left, you felt that INCREDIBLE RELIEF that doesn’t necessarily sink in right away. But, with time, you recognize the incredible relief it provides.


This guy relaxes like a cool genius. 

 

The last month without that ish, then, has been EVERYTHING! I made a lot of changes in my life, including the end of a job that a lot of people constantly ask about. I don’t even care that I have to answer questions about it constantly. I am happy and able to handle stress without imploding.

 

I know anxiety and mental health are such tricky topics, and that’s why I talk about it often. Just gotta keep it fresh, yo. You don’t have to live with that pit in your stomach or constantly feeling like YOU suck. Because you don’t. (Er, maybe you do, but that’s not anxiety then.) I thought I was clinically depressed. Then I talked to a kickass doc who snapped some sense into me and told me to make moves and take charge of my own happiness. And I did. And I am so happy.

 

Listen, a lot of things go into happiness. You really do need to sleep lots and eat well and exercise. You do. Science, bitch. But you also need to do things solely because THEY MAKE YOU HAPPY. I don’t know why, but that always seemed like such a weak and selfish motivator. I always thought I needed to be sacrificing for others’ happiness — or rather, what I perceived as their happiness.

 

When I was a kid, I remember once choosing what I wanted to do for my birthday party. I tried to make it whatever my guests would want. Then my mother said, “Why are you planning a party for them? It’s not their birthday.” BOOM. Relief.

To me, making myself happy means cleaning my apartment, sticking to a skincare regimen, and eating açai bowls approximately 5x per week. I exercise because I know I need it, and because after a lot of it, I realize I like it. Happiness is not always having some crazy plans. It is sitting on the couch and laughing with someone else. It’s writing a letter to someone without them knowing. It’s that surprise and smile you get when someone realizes you remembered something about them. Why wouldn’t I choose to do these things?


(No, seriously, I can’t get enough açai bowl.) 


I’m the last person so many people would ever expect to be speaking about happiness and fulfillment in the face of awful stuff like anxiety. I like to laugh, and I hate to get upset. This is how I apply my #FunkyFresh self to real-world, personal issues. I kinda like it. It makes me happy.