I distinctly remember back in 1999, as a thirteen year old hormone-saturated-wannabe-goth, hearing the lyric “the real worries in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind. The kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday”.
Well, my family recently experienced our 4pm on some idle Tuesday.
Wake-up calls like this tend to spark a reevaluation in your life. They produce an overwhelming compulsion to shed all the bits that don’t make it better. The unessential.
For me personally, while being faced with this behemoth buzz-kill, I noticed a profound shift in the things that bugged me. I was more patient with my partner, more appreciative of my body and I was more present with my people. The “small stuff” did not want to be sweated.
While chatting about it to a friend I found myself saying ‘it’s like, now that I know where the drama is coming from in my life, I don’t have time for any of the other little dramas. I’m not even looking for them”.
I don’t know about you, but to me that is revolutionary, revelatory and a little fucked up. In that moment I realised that as soon as a big drama arrived on my doorstep, I made the choice to close the door on the pointless dramas. The complaining, overthinking and worrying. Being concerned with what people thought of me, the people-pleasing and the second-guessing. It was all a choice – and I could’ve made it sooner.
I started pondering everyday drama, and the more I did the more I noticed a culture that encourages it. We have been told that contentment is boring… and therefore we subconsciously create drama.
Entire industries tick over with a mandate of making insignificant problems in people’s lives significant. Think about this statement by Professor Gail Dines “If tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business.”
In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about this popularisation of displeasure in relation to creativity, citing many famous creatives that perpetuated this attitude (YOLO Oscar Wilde). They describe the creative process as a brutal, unenjoyable one and she says “Far too many creatives have been taught to distrust pleasure and to put their faith in struggle alone’.
I mean, even Oscar + 10-time-Grammy winner Adele recently spoke about concerns that she would no longer be able to write hit songs because, in her personal life, she was finally happy (by the way, that album – 25 – has put her on path to be a billionaire by the age of 25).
So with this in mind, and with me considering very deeply the concept of time, and how well I spend it, let me share 3 very-short stories about my decision to drop the drama (and how it has made my life better already);
1. Once Upon A Beach
Standing on the beach with my daughter, I would usually feel self-conscious about stripping down to my togs. Worried that my curves were too curvy, my legs were too pale and doing some mental arithmetic trying to figure out when I last waxed my bikini line.
But today, I couldn’t be bothered with the drama of it, because the water was twinkling, the daughter was giggling and, frankly, my arse looks just fine. So I let go of those silly thoughts and jumped on in.
2. Once Upon An Email
I got a terse email (from an even terser person) that would usually leave me questioning what personal actions of mine, had invited such charmless words and behaviour.
But today, I couldn’t be bothered with the drama of it, so I simply stood firm in the knowledge that I had always been kind to them. I realised it was their stuff which allowed me room to hope that they were okay. It felt much better than resentment. I sent them love (and possibly an irritatingly chirpy reply) and walked away feeling good.
3. Once Upon A Teabag
It had been a disorganized morning and I finally got to the kettle when I saw a used teabag, sitting in a pool of caffeine on the bench. My pet hate.
But today, I couldn’t be bothered with the drama of it, because, while my hubby is not so skilled in teabag disposable, he is amazing in countless other ways. The thought of worrying about a soggy bag of leaves just seemed pathetic. Not snapping at him made it all the more delicious was I then realised that the teabag had been used to make me a tea and leave it by my computer.
Those are just 3 small examples of choices I made to drop the drama – and life was easier and happier because of them.
Because here’s the awkward, oh-so-easily ignored truth of life – one day, real drama is going to come knock-knock-knockin’ on your door and when it does, I can promise you, that the little dramas of your day will fade into oblivion.
I can almost guarantee, that whinging about teabags, worrying about love-handles or thinking about snipey emails will seem like an utter non-event. A waste of time. There will be different priorities at hand. We do not need to seek our drama, it is already seeking us.
So, unless you’re Meryl Streep you don’t need so much drama in your life. Maybe it’s time to make the choice to let it go.
(Actually, Meryl you’ve been nominated for an Oscar 19 times – even you can give it a rest).