reading, reflections, spirituality

being spiritual-ish and the forgotten pleasures of reading women who write things as they are

I’ve been doing things a little differently lately: blogging less and journaling more; going to at least one meeting every day; reading sobriety-related literature; looking at the bottom of my life’s barrels to find gratitude; eating regular meals; most of all turning to other women, not only in meetings but also in books (Nora Ephron and Anne Lamott being two fine ladies who tell it like it is).

This is not to say I’ve been panicking less, just that I’ve been less, oh, open about the fact that I feel like my entire world is going to collapse over the next 21 days. And I’ve been trying, really trying, to live in the moment I’m in rather than twenty thousand moments in the future.

And I was feeling fairly decent about life and my spirituality, and I was heading to Brooklyn to check my mailbox, when I realized I’d left my keys at the Mid-Manhattan library. Maybe things don’t go like this for you, but in my life there are moments when I think to myself “oh, you’re going to leave your keys there!” as I put my keys down and even though I tell myself this I still put my keys down and I still forget them and I don’t realize this until I’m two trains and one borough away from getting them back.

All sorts of unfortunate things have happened to me as a result of hearing — yet nonetheless ignoring — that prescient voice telling me what’s what: unplanned pregnancies, stitches on various body parts, broken casserole dishes, flooded basements, broken noses (not mine), car accidents, you name it. You’d think by now I’d have learned to listen to the voice.

Instead I’ve developed a sort of Voice Agnosticism. Not wanting to admit I might have a point in looking out for myself and definitely not believing I have any sort of predictive skills about the future, I instead tell myself I’m being a worrywart or paranoid or turning into my grandmother from the inside out. Heaven forbid that I use The Voice to tune me into my follies and faults. That would make too much sense.

After trekking back to the library and getting my keys (and nearly offering to marry the security card who had them), I wandered to Bryant Park for a breather. I finished up a Nora Ephron ebook I’d borrowed from the library and started in on Anne Lamott’s Grace, Eventually (which I’ve read already but wanted to read again) and in between essays I reflected about my day. Halfway checking in, halfway gratitude list: I’d networked, asked someone out to lunch with good results, done well on on a job interview, heard from my Monday-night date about our next date, gone to one meeting (and had plans for another), journaled about some (perceived) troubles, and checked three books out of the library. Losing 75 minutes of my day to a key snafu seemed the least of it.

So I relaxed and I walked to Grand Central and took the train to the night meeting someone’d told me about and I met a delightful group of women who struck me as approximately the kind of women Nora Ephron and Anne Lamott would be had I met them in a meeting and had we gone to the Gramercy Diner for food afterward. It occurred to me that while I’ve long had women I could turn to in sobriety, they’ve been younger women whose lives are more akin to a phantom daughter I might have. But tonight I got the women, the grown-ups, talking about how parents can get nutty (and mean) in their old age and how expensive dental work can be and where all the good men are and whether carbs are really bad for you and the best places to find $5 thrift-store dresses. I’m seeing them all again on Sunday, which is nice. I need women my age, or close approximations thereof, with whom to explore the mundanities of life. I’m almost 40. It’s probably time.

Reading more Anne Lamott on the train home, thinking about how no matter how bad or scary things get that I’ve got my intuitions (whether or not I choose to follow or listen to them) and women like that and other spiritual tools to get me to the other side of my perceived crisis, I realized I’m — more or less — okay. Not “okay” in the sense that things are going the way I want them to go, but moreso in the what’re you really going to do about it right now anyway? kind of okay.

So now I’m feeling like I’m coming down with a cold, and with two editing tests due by Monday (when I also have a date) I’m not altogether pleased. But I’m oddly not particularly alarmed. Yes, I’ll have to cancel my planned weekend jaunt to Boston. I’ll also be medicating myself to an inch of my life — ok, not really — and drinking lots of water and eating cookies, because if you can’t eat cookies when you’re sick then when can you? And I have a certain degree of faith that the things I do over the next 48-72 hours will see me through to Monday. There’s no use worrying tonight about what will happen tomorrow. I’ll wake up in the morning — and, if not, that won’t be my worry anyhow — and the days and time will go on.

Meanwhile, the cookies are delicious.