Last night, I curled up on my couch with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and a Breaking Bad marathon. I wish this one episode came with a warning label because Bryan Cranston butt naked in a grocery store is a sight I could have lived without. In between episodes, I caught sight of my swollen eyes in the mirror and the pieces of Kleenex that were stuck to my face. Today and yesterday were tough for me, but loss is a part of life.
Yesterday I thought let it be then, not now. Even though I knew this was coming for months, to say that I’m heartbroken would be putting it mildly. And in this stretch of we’re not together anymore, you start to grasp at air. You try to remake moments of your life. You wish away the twists and turns to come, but at this point (after a couple break ups) you know how this goes.
And between my broken window, parking ticket, and breakup, what I’m looking for today is a little “It’s going to be okay.” The “WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE!!!!” parental admonishments didn’t help, and I found out I’m wearing my underwear inside out. Because today, my mind is elsewhere. So you might be thinking right now “Where’s the rope?” You might be thinking, “What? Did Eeyore get fired and you’re his even rainier replacement?” No, and it’s not all bad. Right now, I’m thinking, “What would Oprah do?” And Oprah wouldn’t cry. Oprah wouldn’t complain. Oprah would probably write a screenplay, meditate for four hours, then drink a watermelon mojito while reading a book in one sitting.
So I, like Oprah, am putting on red lipstick and recapturing my joie de vivre.
Joie de vivre is the delight of being alive. It lives in rehearsal dinner toasts, and it clinks it’s way up to the top of Splash Mountain. It flutters up your spine and pours out your smile. Joie de vivre is whistling a happy tune and dancing in your car even when people are staring. It’s Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” and recording a “Before I Die” list in your diary. When you say, “Someday I’ll birth babies and meet my heroes,” you’re anticipating miracles. You’re showing up for life and you’re doing so with gusto. Joie de vivre is letting the songs of your gratitude drown out the screeches of your sorrow. It’s realizing that someone, somewhere wishes for the things you have and take for granted. Someone, somewhere is far worse off than you are. Someone, somewhere lost their life early. They don’t get to (like you do) walk out onto palm tree-lined streets under skies that are rarely anything other than blue.
I feel like an alley cat who just got ambushed by alpha cats, so now I’m licking my wounds. I feel like Alan Parrish in Jumanji when his Dad left for the benefit super pissed off at him for not wanting to go to boarding school. I feel like Elizabeth Gilbert crying on the bathroom floor before she ate, prayed and loved her way through her divorce. But there are always going to be Manic Mondays, dreams dashed, shocks, pains, griefs, devastations, break ups, disappointments and scoldings from my parents. We can count on those like we can count on Lindsay Lohan checking back into rehab.
But at least I have my life, and at least I have this day. So I am going to pull out my big guns – my Oprah ammo. I am going to be strong and hold on tight to my joie de vivre.
I can’t remake yesterday. So instead of wishing for things to be that never will, I will say thank you and goodbye. I am thankful for hopefully a lifelong friend, and I say good-bye to a romance that gives the best of them a run for it’s money. And in weeks to come before I’m just barely awake, I will greet the world like it’s one I haven’t seen before. Because even though sometimes we cling to the past or fear the future, each morning is like a newborn baby. It’s not yesterday and it’s not tomorrow, even if it looks a little bit like those. It’s true that each day is a gift, and as Henry David Thoreau said, “To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”
There are going to be good and bad days. What matters is what you and I decide to do with them.