Technically, he’s a drunk. He loves 3AM to 5 AM strolls and when he strolls down my street, he really enjoys yelling profanities and racist slurs. Based on his 4AM “TED Talk” a few weeks ago, he is blonde hair and blue eyed, Donald Trump is his president and he hates black people. It’s not the first time that this man has made an appearance over the past few years. The cops have been called many times, he comes back and then after a while, he disappears.
Before his 4AM rants began again, I had a neighbor upstairs who believed in stomping not walking. He loved this especially between the hours of 4AM to 9AM. He also loved a big entrance –slamming doors was his signature move. Weirdly enough, he would also yell “ooopa!” every time he came home. Thankfully, he moved but his exit coincided with the return of strange human #1.
“Life is just one damn thing after another.” ― Mark Twain
In my 12 years in Los Angeles, I’ve learned that no neighborhood is siloed, no matter how nice. You can’t stop the outside from happening and flowing in –which means you can’t stop people from walking down the street or peeing on the street. You can’t stop people from letting their dogs take a crap in front of other people’s homes and not pick it up. There are lot of things that you can’t stop from happening and you will drive yourself crazy if you keep trying to control everything. We, as human beings are not siloed either. Life is not only happening in us, it is happening around us and it is happening through us.
I have a friend who left a job because of a horrible co-worker. She found another job which she was very excited about but lo and behold, there was a new co-worker with exactly the same characteristics as the one she just escaped from. I’ve often said that nothing goes away until it teaches us what we need to know and sometimes, what we need to know is that we can’t control how other people behave. The only things we have control over are our actions and reactions.
“There is no perfection in the offshore…”
Life is filled with dualities. We have labeled them as good and bad but what Life sees is two sides of the same coin, creating balance in an intricate universe. My most recent Netflix binge was the series, 3 %. For the entire first season, the show’s characters fought tooth and nail to make it out of the slums –out of poverty, lack and a constant fight for survival. Their reward was a place called “the offshore”. At the offshore, all of their issues would disappear. There would be no lack, no sadness, no difficulties. Life would be perfect. What those that made it there ended up finding out is that even “perfection” comes with its own set of problems.
“Everything that has the ability to appear has the ability to disappear”
I remember asking myself years ago, “will there ever be a time when I have no problems?” I smile thinking about it now because what I thought I knew then, about “problems”, “happiness” and building a “perfect life” has completely gone out of the window. What I know now is that everything that has a beginning has an ending. Every job will end, every illness will end, the perfect summer will end, Christmas will end but then all these things will begin again –in another way, shape or form. It will all come to pass…
Finland may take the crown as one of the happiest places in the world but it also has one of the coldest climates. A perfect beach day is all fun and games until you have to clean up the mess before heading home. Anything that seems “perfect” has an “imperfect” twin on the opposite side. Life will never stop throwing challenges at us and things will never stop happening. What we have to be conscious of is that there’s a difference between the things that are happening and the stories we tell about them. The stories we tell and the identities that we in turn become attached to are the main causes of our unhappiness. “There’s a mad man outside my home who will stop at nothing to steal my sanity” is a story. “There’s a man yelling outside” is what’s happening.
“Just like that…”
There is actually a time with no problems. It is in the now. As I sit here writing, nothing else matters. I have what I need –air, light, a place to sit and be creative, my laptop and hot tea. In this very moment, there is no madman, no noise, no thing. Just like that, life has changed again. Maybe he’ll come back, maybe he’ll be gone for another year. If he does, I’ll deal with it then; if not, then I never wasted any time worrying to begin with. There’s another question I ask myself each time another “damn thing” shows up, “is it worth your peace?” It never is.