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youthfully gray Yesterday, ideas were nipping me like magical mosquitoes. Persistent. Pesky. Proud. But today? Not so much. Today is different. Today, I am a bit stuck, lost, paralyzed. Not in a bad way. No. Today, I feel pressure whereas yesterday I felt freedom. Today, I feel overwhelmed whereas yesterday I felt inspired. Today, I feel little whereas yesterday I felt, well, a little less little.

Why?

Yesterday, I wrote a very honest and heartfelt and spontaneous ode to my new friend Nic. I meant every word I typed. And as I typed those words, caffeinated passion pumped through flagging veins. As I typed those words, I felt like I was, however fleetingly, part of something bigger than myself. {And for fellow Happiness Students, Meaning - or feeling like you are part of something larger than yourself - is one of the elements of happiness!} Anyway, I was jazzed yesterday. And even more so when Nic liked what I had to say and then when Nic's friends liked what I had to say. And then, today, Nic responded to my love letter with one of her own. Thank you, Nic! You make me sound far more amazing than I actually am (I am not yet published!) and for that, there are no words to convey my gratitude.

But now. Here I sit. Again alone. Again at a small table. Today at Starbucks. And it is Friday and for those of you who are new here, (welcome!) today is my day to update you all on the Happy Headache (a.k.a. the untimely-given-this-recession-gut reno of our new place), but for some reason jabbering on and on about construction chaos seems a pinch frivolous. I mean yesterday I was waxing poetic about invisible threads and self-realization and rape and today, I'm going to talk about hardwood floor choices?

Yes. That's exactly what I'm going to do. Even if it feels a little funky. Wrong. Inappropriate.

Here's the plan: I'm going to talk about hardwood floors and then I'm going to tell you why I talked about hardwood floors. And if you don't like this agenda, bye bye. It's Friday and you should be outside playing anyway.

After much back and forth, many high-octane debates about the virtues of light versus dark, we have decided to go dark. Those of you who have been with me for while might remember that I've already written about this. Redundancy. Uh oh. Well, I happen to love redundancy. Once upon a time, we were leaning towards light. I wanted an airy, ethereal, cloud-like foundation for our future home. Architect noted that white floors smack of country/beach homes, but this didn't dissuade me. A country/beach home in the big city? Genius! But now. Now we like dark. We picked a deep, brooding chocolate brown. A Nietzschian shade. We liked an even darker stain, almost black, but the fact that the sample got scratched over night made us rethink things. Also, black floors plus White Cat is an ugly equation. Okay. Fine. So what?

So. So what is the point here? I'm not sure if there is one. And you know what? That is okay. Sometimes, points are overrated. But now that I think of it, this post has a point, if not a few. Uh oh. Here comes a list. I hate lists.

(1) Minds are meant to be changed. In a few measly months, we went from loving light to loving dark. This is okay. It is okay for us to change our minds about aesthetics and beliefs and desires. As a society, we are so obsessed with consistency. We glorify schedules for our babies and for ourselves. We deplore inconsistency in politicians and in regular people. Maybe, just maybe, flexibility is not a bad thing? You went to law school, but now you don't want to practice law? You were an insanely private person, but now you thrive on floating personal anecdotes into the world? Yup. We are not robots. We need not program ourselves. We need not heed codes of consistency. We are real people. We are meant to wander, and stumble, and evolve, and change.

(2) Light and dark can (and should) co-exist. It is okay, even healthy, for me to talk about something darker one day and something fluffy and light the next day. Our population is not divided into Serious People and Silly People. No. I think we are too quick to box things up. It's easier to do this. We crave categorization because it makes navigating the world easier. But you know what? Anderson Cooper doesn't just wear pinstripes and talk about wars. I once saw him shopping for very fun, hip clothes at Barney's Co-Op. It is okay to read Plato and get highlights at Oscar Blandi. Hey, it's even okay to read Plato while getting highlights at Oscar Blandi. It's okay to talk about sad things and then switch gears and spout joy. This is okay. No one is perfectly happy or perfectly sad. Life should be a tapestry of the silly and the serious.

(3) We should embrace complexity. Have you ever noticed how popular simplicity is these days? How many books and blogs there are telling us to de-clutter our existence, to streamline our selves? Well, I have. They are everywhere. And sometimes if I am being intellectually lazy, the very fact that all these books and blogs exist makes me feel bad about my cluttered, chaotic, chameleon life. But then if I drink a little coffee, I feel better. I wake up. I realize that this need to simplify, taken too far, is perhaps itself a pathology. Because it's all about complexity. Uncertainty. Insecurity. The commingling of dark and light, black and white. It's all about those muddled, opaque and gorgeous grays.

What is this post about? Even though I made a trusty little list with comforting bold headings, I'm not so sure. And maybe that bothers you. Maybe you'd prefer a simpler, sleeker, cleverly-packaged commodity here. But that's not what you're going to get. In the silence that peppers even the busiest day, I hear voices. They tell me to figure it out. How to present myself. Who are you? they ask. They tell me I will not drive Dooce-style traffic, or gain a massive following, unless I figure out who I am. (For the record, please note that I am not knocking Dooce. That chick has some magical metaphysical mojo and I wish she would share said mojo (and her traffic) with this rookie.) Am I a Mommy Blogger? Or a Personal Development Blogger? Or a Book Blogger?

These questions echo. Waves of confusion buffet me, but then wash away. And I'm left standing there, alone and chilly. And I cringe and laugh and shake. And to these voices, I answer: I am a person. One person. Riddled with doubt. Laced with confidence. Hungry for something else. Something beyond supply and demand. Something beyond popularity and sales. Something bigger than numbers and comments and sweetened praise. Something else.

No more Either Or. These are dangerous words.

Philosopher. Parent. Wife. Sister. Daughter. Friend. Neighbor. Writer. Blogger. Reader. Celebrity-stalker. Coffee-lover. Wine-drinker. Blonde. Serious. Silly. Sad. Happy. Content. Confused. Reaching. Questioning. Answering. Humble. Proud. Lost. Found. Looking forward. Looking back. Looking around. Looking in. Lonely. Surrounded. Young. Old. Girly girl. Tomboy. Scared. Invincible. Nostalgic. Realistic. Spoiled. Conservative. Liberal. Real. Fake. Down to earth. Superficial. Indulgent. Stoic. Sappy. Stormy. Sunny. Cliched. Unique. Painfully insecure. Brilliantly secure. Here. Somewhere else. I'm all of these things. And none of them.

I'm me.

I'm dark. I'm light. I'm youthfully gray.

___________________

First things first, do you have light or dark floors in your home? How have they held up? How do you feel about complexity? Is your life a mixture of dark and light? Are your days gray (in a good way)?

Not Just a Bra

This Is Why