Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Rule(s) of life

I've been thinking a lot this past week about rules. I've decided I'm sick them.

When you stop to think about it, we live our lives by an alarming number of rules. And by rules, I mean things like: don't wear white after Labor Day. Major in something where the jobs are. Always participate in the office Christmas thingy. Never send an email as a thank-you note. Take only an hour (no more) for lunch. No open-toed shoes at work. Don't have long hair after 40. Or 30.

Some rules are non-negotiable. Those are laws. Pay your taxes, get your car inspected, don't speed, etc. Laws are usually just rules all grown-up and legitimized. Adolus Huxley, a philosopher I studied in college, called them "Perennial Philosophies".... the things you have to do regularly to stay balanced. And legal. Those are okay.

No, what's been bothering me is those rules that were somewhere, somehow ingrained in me by others. The rules that I've allowed to beat me down solely because they may have served my Mom, my boss, or some old boyfriend well.

I'm tired of making my bed and feeling guilty when I don't. I like using a fresh towel after every shower - even if it is ecologically disrespectful. I'm sick of trying to heed family advice. I want more than one Diet Coke a day. I revel in watching hours of Gilmore Girls DVDs. I don't want to answer the door. I hate checking the mail everyday.

AND SUDDENLY, yesterday, it finally dawned on me. These are not my rules. Why do I spend such a large chunk of my day minding these externally-mandated rules that don't enhance my life in any significant way?

Yep, it's time to use some judgment. To separate the essential rules from the extraneous. To find out what works for me. In my life.

So I lay awake last night and came to this conclusion: I'll have three rules, and three rules only, by which to live my life. The rest will be negotiable and may not be practical (or funnest!) for me. They are from the Bible, and are: to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.

That's it. That's enough.

So, no, I won't stress over making the bed. That was my Mom's rule, not mine. I will use 10,000 towels a day if I want. I won't feel silly for spending time making peanut butter/bird seed crackers for the birds at Freeman House. I will cut my hair whenever I feel like it. I will send an email thank-you note. I will be proud of my college major - I chose and earned it. I will sing to my cat, and blare my new Anna Nalick CD. I will eat banana pancakes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, if I want. I will lean back in my chair and wear white when I want and leave the dishes undone after dinner to catch these country sunsets. I won't feel guilty or incapable or remorseful for any decisions I've made or am making... despite what my Mom, or boss, or ex-boyfriends think.

These are my rules. This is how things are done in my life.

What about you??

Monday, July 25, 2005

Adventures in Adjusting

So it's not exactly true that I have no idea why I'm here. Maybe I just don't have a really good one.

Moving to Stickville is obviously requiring a sense of humor and some innate coping skills. Lucky me. Take yesterday, for example. I loaded up and drove 17 miles to the nearest Wal-Mart. (Yeah. So long Central Market.) I was in need of some hair dye (what's up with these random gray hairs?? I look like Cher.) Oh, and I also needed Pine Nuts. You know, for whipping up a batch of that delicious, zesty basil pesto that Giada What's-Her-Skinny-Italian-Butt makes on Food Network.

So I'm there, in Wal-Mart, and cannot find Pine Nuts. I look everywhere. Finally I flag down an associate. "Where do I find Pine Nuts?", I ask.

She looks flabbergasted. "Hon, I'm not sure what yer sayin'. Pine Nut??", she replies after some hesitation.

"Yes, ma'am," I say. "You know, for pesto," I add hopefully.

Yeah, she obviously doesn't watch Food Network. Ever.

Finally, she says, "Well, it's probably on Aisle 9 with the Bacon Powder."

Now it's my turn to look flabbergasted. I've heard of Bacon Bits, but Bacon Powder? What in the world do you sprinkle that on?? Is it a low-cal version of Bacon Bits?? Really, these country folk are a rare breed.

So, I take off in search of the Bacon Powder which could lead me to my elusive Pine Nuts. After about - an eternity - I find 2 little banged-up bags of Pine Nuts on Aisle 12. I toss them into the squeaky cart that sounds eerily similar to Sheryl Crow's voice and start to wheel away. Then I stop. I have to see this Bacon Powder. Maybe I'll even buy some. You know, as a true-faith gesture that I am assimilating into the culture here.

Then I catch it out of the corner of my eye. Squatty little canisters of powder. Of Baking Powder.

Omgosh, I'm an idiot.

Remember that part in Sweet Home Alabama where Reese Witherspoon says, "People need a passport to come down here"??? She's onto something.

I think I'll call or write my elected redneck representative today.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

In the beginning....

It's funny. One day you're happy, dedicated to a promising career, and staying on top of your laundry. Then suddenly, the next day, even - you find yourself disoriented, pacing the aisles of Target at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and wearing the same polka dot Tommy Hilfiger panties you were on Monday. How come life is so messy? And why are your 20s so dang hard??

Hi. I'm B. Actually, I go by Brin. I'm a 20-something girl who, after years in the city, packed up and came here. To the sticks. To a creaky, 120+ year-old house with rambling rose bushes, broken windows, and a stuffed-up library. Ask me (as so many have) why I'm here, and I'll smile and say, "it's just where the wind blew me!". But we both know better. You and I know that I still have no idea why I left the city, my job, and my boyfriend and bought Freeman House. Or even what I'll do now that I'm here.

Maya Angelou says, "Surviving is important, but thriving is elegant." I like that. Matter of fact, I think I'll try my hand at this 'thriving' stuff. You know, just try it. If it doesn't work, I'll go back to surviving.

But first, I need to wash my polka dot panties.