Like a lot of people, I spend too much time living in the past. Like maybe slightly less of those people, much of that rehashing is spent obsessing about things I can’t change and that probably don’t matter all that much anyway. I worry over the things I said or the choices I made (or didn’t make) or what other people might have thought about me along the way. It’s an exhausting waste of time and energy, and as far as I can tell, the only purpose it serves is to indulge myself in counterproductive, negative self-talk that is 100% foolish.
I have some definite goals for the new year: drink more water, use my mobile devices a lot less, write more, finish editing my novel, run more, keep taking improv courses, be happy, yadda, yadda, yadda. But, my biggest challenge for 2014 is to really start liking myself and to stop being so afraid all the time. And by all the time, I mean ALL THE TIME.
So, it’s kind of crucial for me to stop using my brain space for all that backwards time travel.
On Sunday night, I was watching and enjoying the Best of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon special, and I found myself laughing out loud for much of it.
Part of my reaction was in response to the clever writing and wit of the clips, but most of it was due to Fallon’s willingness to fully commit to such silliness. I have to say that I admire an comedian who, instead of just going for the joke, goes for the reality of the moment, and in making that choice, is funny. Jimmy Fallon always looks like he is open to try anything, and because of that, he seems genuinely delighted by just about everyone and everything, which is great fun for an audience to witness, or at least, that’s the case for this girl.
Earlier in the semester, as I struggled with self-confidence in my improv course, I sent an email to my teacher to ask for help. Basically, I was crying on my way home every week, feeling totally inadequate and uncreative, and I just, you know, didn’t want to do that anymore.
She sent me a long, encouraging message in which she included the image below, and though her words were quite helpful, I could not stop thinking about this Amy Poehler quote, which has become a mantra of sorts for me:
The fear of looking bad or looking not-good-enough that often plagues me is just the kind of thing a person shouldn’t focus on during an improv scene, or anywhere, really. If I keep worrying about the past or how the present will look in past-tense, I will never commit to anything, and I will never feel good about anything. What kind of a life is that?
And that is why I’m going to work darn hard in 2014 to let go of so much of that fear.
I think it’s kind of time to seal the doors of my backwards time machine, anyway. It’s defective, always going back to all the worst parts and causing me to miss out on some of the best right-nows.