1,000 foot drops terrify me. I’ve always been afraid of edges, but the recent hike I went on with K and his sister reminded me of just how powerful fear can be.
The ascent wasn’t scary at all. It even felt spiritual at moments; wind blowing through the trees; clear mind, full heart, can’t lose (thanks Friday Night Lights).
The descent was another story. The view looked different going down, I could see the height at which we were hiking and the lack of any barriers between us and an extinguishing fall. My mind began playing a moving picture in my imagination of me slipping and falling off the edge. Thoughts of my friend who died falling off a rock wall in Zion National Park this spring crossedmy mind and made my fear feel real and relevant. My body was seized by terror and the only reason why I didn’t freeze was because my sole goal was to get down to level ground as soon as possible. My body went into autopilot and wouldn’t stop until I reached the trailhead.
Looking back on the experience from the safety of stable ground, I realize how fortunate I am that I don’t experience that feeling of fear on a daily basis. Whether it be from PTSD or crippling anxiety, I feel more empathy for people who must manage how fear takes control of their bodies. I’ve taken peace of mind for granted since I stopped having those childhood bad dreams that feel so real. Hiking this week reminded me that fear is real and has the power to make people behave in atypical ways.
I was on the phone with a Canon customer service agent, who began the call telling me, “We can definitely help you with the error you’re receiving,” and ended the call by telling me my printer had a hardware malfunction and I’d need to get a new one.
The agent informed me of the Canon loyalty program, that offers a discount to current Canon customers, to apply to a new purchase to replace whatever item they’re getting rid of. This got me excited. I love discounts.
“How much of a discount do you give to your loyal customers?” I asked.
“10%,” he replied.
I gasped. 10%? If I saw a sale advertising 10% off, I’d laugh. I felt insulted. Between the low ball discount for loyal customers and the shipping delay of 5-7 days, I decided to take a trip to Office Depot.
I bought a Hewlett Packard product, because my loyalty is worth more than a measly 10%.
How do we allow more joy into our lives? Is there armor to dismantle? Are there relationships to renew? Is it time to stop turning to the news to be entertained? Can we let go of judgement; both doing it and fearing others are judging us?
The beauty of joy is that it’s accessible to everyone. And although it may be tempting to feel guilty about experiencing joy, when it feels like humanity has lost its collective mind, it’s times like these when harnessing joy in our lives is so important. Joy is pure, and can be found in the most ordinary of moments. When’s the last time you experienced joy?
I’ve been getting rid of a lot of stuff lately. Practicing what I preach when it comes to understanding that the things we have don’t define us—we define ourselves. One of the challenges of getting rid of something like a pair of cute shoes that I haven’t worn in over a year is that the endowment effect kicks into gear.
Basically, the endowment effect says that you value something more because you own it. This is why the question, “If I didn’t already have this item, how much would I pay for it?” helps when purging clothes that don’t fit or haven’t been worn in years. I’ve been thinking about the endowment effect and how it seems like it’s at play with all the horrendous gun related terror that’s been weighing heavy on my mind lately.
It feels like our country’s gun politics are a box full of wires that have accumulated over the years: old cell phone chargers, speaker wire, USB cords, extra ear buds, phone chargers for the car, wires that go with the t.v., wires that go with the computer. They’re all tangled up and doing nothing except for frustrating the hell out of us because to untangle and get rid of them seems impossible. Yet, we hold on to the mess because it’s familiar to us. We own it. It’s ours. The Second Amendment and all its semiautomatic outcomes are literally killing us.
We cling to the right to bear arms like it defines us. As if by letting go of it, we let go of our autonomy, our identity, ourselves.
From where I’m standing, our world looks like a mess. A complicated tangle of policies that don’t serve people, institutionalized racism, consumer madness that trashes the planet, and so on. It’s overwhelming and heartbreaking when you start to think about it, so our tendency is to either ignore it or be paralyzed by it. It’s time to declusterf%*! our world, one outdated thought//system//policy at a time.