I’d like to write a book called What to Expect When You’re Least Expecting It.
Or… What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Crazy.
Or… When Life Gives You Lemons… Make Lemon Bars. Are You Kidding With the Lemonade?
Okay, that’s kind of a long title.
How about The Tailspin of Perfectionism?
Or maybe: Disappointment…the Disillusionment of Believing You Deserve Everyone Else’s Perfectly Perfect Lives… or something like that.
The book will be all about how everyone suffers from a “grass is greener” scenario or two in their own lives. It’s almost unavoidable. People with curly hair want straight. Straight want curly. Single want to be married. Married wish for the “freedom” of singleness. Childless wish to hang a little stocking. Some wish they could hang more little stockings, add to the brood. Some secretly wish they could give theirs away. Jobless versus different job. Youthful versus mature.
It’s a coffee v. tea world, people. We have got to stop comparing ourselves to each other. And somehow we have to work as a team to silence the urges to fix one another and volley for sameness. Every story is unique. I am oddly willing to write mine with the characters that I’m given as they come. They all add flavor.
A friend once told me that I had the “cancer of singleness, and that if she was a doctor she would prescribe E-harmony.”
She has no idea the spiral of insecurity that that statement sent me on. It wasn’t the sorrow of singleness I was feeling that day. It was the deep loneliness of feeling unknown and unloved by those whom I thought knew me best.
“Life is hard enough without adding such low expectations to it.”
I’ll throw this quote from Sleepless in Seattle in. I probably shouldn’t add too many quotes from chick flicks or famous actresses, though, since in some ways I blame them for the widespread disease of discontentment as we all watch them in their beautiful lives play beautiful roles with beautifully happy endings. We all want their love stories, lips, hips, and humor. I probably won’t mention Amy Schumer in the book, too vulgar, but if I do it will be a quick thanks for making girth sexy again.
Anyway, later in the book, I’ll offer helpful wisdom about how to make it through life’s pitfalls. It’ll be quirky. I’ll quote Indiana Jones and stuff. More from the hot one from the first trilogy, less from crystal whatever.
I’ll call one of the chapters, “When we least expect it…” This will anecdotally spill my engagement story and subsequent break up but then tie it all in to life being more about the journey than the destination. It’s about finding joy. It’s about taking care of others and feeling taken care of at the same time. Anne Lamott will, fingers crossed, write a publishable book comment for the book jacket or maybe the About the Author.
The book will cover maintaining optimism despite the postponement of personal prayers. Catch the alliteration there? Good stuff. Maybe I’ll do a whole section on prayers and add a picture of the prayer box that my sister gave me. It’s an old painted wooden box with a slot at the top and a latch that locks. She told me I could write prayers down and put them in and take them out later and be surprised at how many were answered. She’s right, of course. She often is, though I rarely tell her. I’ll talk about how what surprised me most has been that the act of writing and depositing prayers is the most cathartic part. I can give the prayers on cute little post-its to the Lord and walk away refreshed. The burden of carrying them all around with me all day gone.
I think the last chapter will be called: Expect Surprise. It will remind the world that judgement robs joy and fuels discouragement. It will say that the more we presuppose and pre-plan without flexibility, the harder it is to love and laugh at life…this messy, think-on-your-feet life. That must be what Forrest Gump’s mama meant about chocolates. We can’t expect sameness, or the green grass of anyone else’s life. My friend Nat used to say, “We’re all dealt a hand, and we can’t see anyone else’s. But, if we could we wouldn’t want their hand.” Card game metaphors usually don’t stick as well as chocolate comparisons, but that one I got.
I’ll add that lemon bar recipe on the back, the one you like. I think the book will be a big hit.