I have been complaining long and loud about all the stress, all the changes, all the uncertainty, regret and guilt of the past year. The complaining has run its course. It's time to start letting go and move on.
So, I'm sitting on my couch, indulging in sinfully rich truffles, considering what direction I should go, where my focus should lie, how my energy could best be used--and one thought keeps leaping into my consciousness: What would Stuart do?
I can see you out there, politely raising your hand to ask, "Excuse me? Who's Stuart?" Good question, Grasshopper.
Stuart is my old friend from high school. We lost contact with each other between August of 1984 and December of 2006. In that time, my funny, confident, uber intelligent friend became, well . . . he became exactly what he already was, only with a life of experience added to that estimable mix.
During the 22 1/2 year hiatus in our communication, Stuart went off to college, went to work, started a successful business, and then another, took up motorcycle racing and, couple years ago, won the Championship Cup Series Southeast Region Overall Amateur Championship (now there's a mouthful!), was flown by BMW to Germany to test their new sport bike (!), took a motorcycle trip around the country (and blogged it to share with his friends and family), and just because he felt the pull to add music back into his life he took up the drums and now plays in a band. And this is just the stuff that I know about after catching up with him for a handful of weeks.
All that plus he has amassed a retinue of equally interesting friends. Including a Riding Instructor for the California Superbike School; a mother/daughter team of librarians; a cook formerly in the employment of Francis Ford Coppola; a software writing Reiki healing master; a gym owner/body builder--former Mister Teen Tallahassee; a plastic surgeon/competitive motorcycle rider; a blogging, non-closeted grammarian, blues singer with a respectable day job; yes--and a mischievous talking cat. Impressive considering those are just the few I know anything about.
Work that he loves, exhilarating hobbies, fascinating friends, and few regrets. Stuart lives the balanced and diverse life that most people outwardly aspire to and inwardly envy.
Which brings me back to my new mantra. With all the unexpected (and mostly unwelcome) changes happening in my life, I ask myself, "What would Stuart do?"
Going only on the tip-of-the-iceberg familiarity I have with his life, I think I would be correct in guessing that Stuart would judiciously keep from his varied experiences that which was good, learn from that which was bad, let go of the rest and move on. He would probably waste little time sitting on the couch eating truffles. He would 'pull himself up by the bootstraps', tend to business and launch into some refreshing new hobby that would stretch him intellectually, physically and emotionally. Oh yes, and he would drink beer. Lots of it : ) But he wouldn't pathetically drink alone while wallowing in self pity. He would go out with friends, toss a few (or many) back and plow forward.
I don't know what direction I'll head in now, but I do know that, using Stuart's example as inspiration, I will leave the truffles and the couch behind and plow onward. Just like Stuart would do.