Right now, there’s a monumental mess in our world and I don’t think anyone is embracing it. At least, I hope not. The mess started out with a conversation about a virus heading our way, and now it’s impacting us in all directions. I envision a gigantic cyclone gathering speed as it’s picking up the Earth and tossing it around. We’re still up in the air about everything, but eventually we’re going to land. It’s messy now and it’s likely going to continue to be messy for the foreseeable future.
I don’t like messes. My mom always insisted that if you take something out, you need to put it away when you’re done. Her words were ingrained in my mind beginning with my earliest memories of puzzles and picture books, and her message has guided me through both the literal and the metaphoric messes in my life so far.
My personal desire for tidiness aside, I understand that some people thrive on mess. I don’t mean they’re dirty or sloppy; rather, I think they like riding their own roller coasters. If they’re not creating drama on their own, they are reveling in the drama of those around them. They embrace the mess. I’m not judging them. In fact, sometimes I envy that ability.
While embracing the mess might be a good strategy, at least for now, I’m working first on accepting the mess. I know for sure that the climate is a mess, the pandemic is a mess, our government is a mess, our healthcare system is a mess, and our economy is a mess. While I cannot embrace these messes, nor can I change them on my own, I can do what I’m personally able and adopt an attitude of acceptance, at least for the time being. It’s a path I can live with, as long as I remember that it’s my path and it doesn’t have to belong to anyone else.
As I’m figuring out how to accept what’s going on in my world and in my mind, the messiness constantly challenges me, particularly in the form of words and the sentiments conveyed by them. I wish someone would pay me a dollar every time I hear the phrase “new normal.” Or, “we’re all in this together.” Or, “in these unprecedented times.” These are messy expressions, having a different interpretation by whoever’s saying them as well as by whoever’s listening. Nevertheless, it’s fun for me to fantasize about how to spend these imaginary dollars I’d be receiving.
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully embrace the mess, so for now I think I’ll just work on accepting it. For me that means a conscious, daily decision to stay in my own lane and make the choices that work best for me.
Does my plan make sense to you? Or are you someone who enjoys the mess? If you are a mess-embracer, please help me understand why and how that strategy works for you.