We just show up and pretend we know what we’re doing

August 06, 2015. Photo by Fred Solis.


“Amma admitted what we already knew: She doesn’t like soccer after all. She explained that there was just too much kicking. I asked if she’d like to stop playing and she said no, she would continue on valiantly because of the snacks. I thought this made for a pretty decent philosophy. Life: lots of scary kicking made bearable by snacks.” —Glennon Doyle, Love Warrior

A friend of mine just turned 30 and asked a general public question. “What do you wish you had known at 30?”

A few things popped into my head, but it’s hard to say something smart and yet not imply you know what you’re talking about. So I just said nobody really knows what they’re doing—we just show up and pretend we do.

There’s truth in that, right?

There’s a part of me that panics just a little when I think about nobody really knowing what they’re doing. Someone has to be in charge, don’t they? How are we supposed to survive as a society without the adultiest adults doing the adulty things?

And where are they again?

Glennon Doyle, in her book, “Love Warrior,” said at her lowest and most lost points—which, if you read her book were excessively low and lost—her literal cries for help were very basic and truthful cries like… “What do I do?”

Her answer was the best I’ve heard. This is the kind of stuff I hope to grasp. “Every day,” she said, “is an eternity. […] I tell myself that I will do only the next right thing, one thing at a time. I start to think of my life as a path. I can only count on the next step to appear once I’ve committed to the step right before it. I wake up every day and ask myself: What would a […] normal, grown-up person do next? She would get up and make her bed […] she would drink a glass of water […] she would go to work […] so I do these things, one thing at a time.”

I’m also throwing a shout out to choice. Choice is what you do with your precious time. I make it a point to craft as many singular particular moments into just what I want them to be. And I now do it unapologetically. I’m an excellent time waster, but I’m getting much better at choosing things that simply move me forward.

It might be a big life choice that opens up new doors or creates a great big u-turn. Or it might simply be moving forward into the laundry room and doing a load of laundry.

Seriously, how satisfying is it, as an average person on an average day, to finish a load of laundry? Wash. And dry. And fold. Especially when there are still dishes to do and a dog to walk and a yard to rake?

Laundry done = rock star.

That, along with intentions to conquer all the rest, is adulting at its finest.

Small successes snuck into chaos. One right step that leads to another.

One snack in midst of a lot of kicking.

A couple of weeks ago I came down with a head cold. Nothing serious, just your typical and seasonal half-side-of-your-face-works, Benadryl-and-Airborne-fueled illness. Once the fog lifted and my airway opened back up, I felt an immense appreciation for waking up with a working nose. I could smell the coffee again and walk three feet without having to concentrate on taking in a full breath.

I don’t often consciously feel grateful for breathing, but on that morning, I did.

I guess those few days could be considered a “season of waiting.” That’s a term I’ve read and heard about and also questioned. I think I’ve come to realize that days spent waiting, if that’s all they’re spent doing, are treading dangerously close to becoming wasted days. But still, I was semi-sick, just getting through the days, waiting to feel normal again.

At the same time, the undercurrent of my daily life didn’t change. I still had work, I had a kid to get to school and pick up again, I had pets and said child to feed. It all happened simultaneously, so can that technically be called season of waiting?

Maybe it’s just called “life.” Or “today.”

Some todays are harder, clearly. Others are close to perfect. I am trying to look at the former ones a little differently if I can.

Shelley Plett is a graphic designer with Kansas Publishing Ventures