The temperature outside is hovering around zero (Celsius that is). The already thickly frozen layers of ice and snow on the streets have begun to melt in the past 48 hours of indecisive temperature, making for everyone’s favorite messy mix of slush, ice and water.
This morning as I carefully navigated my way around the puddles that hid layers of ice as I made my way to buy produce at the bazaar, I began to think about this temperature hovering. “Come on!” I seemed to beg of the weather. “Pick a side, do you want to freeze and snow, or not and rain?” I found I wasn’t appreciating the ice below, rain above, slippery puddles. I wanted decisions. And appropriately so, this brought about the thoughts of where I am in my own life, also wanting clear and deliberate decisions. No one like fence-sitters- but why?
I have a little over 5 months of time left here in Moldova, as a Peace Corps volunteer. I have loved my time here. Things were hard, terrifying, enlightening, sad, joyful…things were the stuff life is made of. But now I know I need to think ahead of what to do next; where to go, with whom to be, work or school, domestic or foreign. As we all know this kind of thinking, when thought on too much, brings about anxiety. I am a slippery puddle. I am not warm and melted-flowing, but I am not fully frozen- stuck. Sometimes we start out wet and warm and in time start to freeze up. This is me now. I had been loving my life in Moldova-making my own schedule, working on multiple projects at once with many partners, meeting new and interesting people and experiences at every turn. It’s a rather perfect lifestyle for me. And the idea of going into something that boxes me in (getting colder) and makes me ask how high when they say jump (and colder) and chains me to one desk in one place for the rest of my life (OMG almost frozen!!!)…ok you can see I am not being rationale. And other times we start out frozen. “I am NOT EVER going to do THAT”. And in time, we warm up to an idea, a place, a person. But life is not black and white, warm or frozen.
So why do we tend to be so uncomfortable in the middle. To be moving from one major life decision to the next, having not yet grabbed onto something “permanent” is probably the scariest thing in life. (And to note, permanency is a joke, as Shakyamuni Buddha explained, there are four inescapable realities: 1) we will all become old and frail. 2) It is absolutely certain that everything will constantly change. 3) Everything we achieve or accumulate will eventually fall apart and scatter. 4) We are all bound to die).
We’re all slippery puddles at times. Sometimes we’re warm pools or dry as a bone, sometimes we’re slush, sometimes we’re ice. But we’re always changing and choices will always need to be made. I don’t know how to embrace this zero degrees myself yet. Each time it happens, I KNOW I am in the middle of a huge life choice and lesson, and yet I still get worked up and just want to swim or slide, you know?! Sometimes you just want to have fun and see what happens. One thing I know to do, is as best I can, be light. “LIGHTEN UP JULIE, IT’S ALL GOING TO CHANGE ANYWAY”, a familiar voice echoes. The laughable part is that I am not even sure it’s what we choose or do or make that matters the most. I think it’s more important HOW we do it. Or at least equally important Do we listen, do we flow, do we trust? Or do we move with our head in the sand, making the choices out of fear?
Listen. Lighten. Flow.
Om shanti. Om peace.