I want to start out by making it clear that I have nothing against cowboys.
One of the new developments in my life is that I recently got a manager, Bob, to book performances of my writing. I’ve never had a manager before, so I didn’t know what to expect. But Bob is a wonderful fellow. He says he thinks of the folks he represents as family—which is something a lot of people say, but I get the feeling Bob actually means it. So, I was eager to keep Bob happy. But then he suggested I perform with a cowboy.
“Carrie, I know this is a crazy idea, but I want you to think about it!” Bob said.
“I will,” I said (wondering, as I said it, if I actually would).
Actually, I like cowboy culture a lot. But I don’t know a thing about it. I don’t write cowboy poetry. I don’t know how to use a lariat. (I only have the vaguest idea what a lariat is, to be perfectly honest.) I have a couple pair of cowboy boots, but the last time I was on a horse was a several decades ago. Simply put, I have no cowboy credentials. So, when Bob suggested I perform with a cowboy singer, I was more than skeptical—I thought it was a dumb idea.
But then I remembered this promise I’d made not to say, “no.”
You see, most of my life I’ve followed the prevailing advice that says a person should have specific and detailed goals. But then my life fell apart. After both my husband and my company dumped me, I realized that I actually knew very little about who I was or what it was I wanted out of life going forward.
I tried to start over again: I tried to create the kind of detailed dreams I had dreamt when I was in my twenties, but then a few things happened to change my mind.
First, I noticed that most of the really interesting things that were happening to me had not happened because I planned them. They happened by chance.
The second thing was that I realized there wasn’t a lot of time. Whatever it was that I still wanted to do in my life, I would be well-advised to get going because I’d been running the meter for a while by now.
The third thing was that I met my best girlfriend, Angel, who served as my unpaid life coach and constantly reminded me how important it was to say, “yes,” even when “no” was much easier to say—perhaps especially then.
The fourth thing that happened was that Angel died.
Angel died too young and she died only after a colossal fight—because there was still so much she wanted to do. It was then I realized—when I really understood—that the micromanaging style I’d used to plan my life had outrun its usefulness. It was time to let my dreams evolve. It was time to go with the current. It was time to simply say, “yes” to the universe and be prepared for the ride.
So, that’s what I’ve been trying to do… with occasional success. I like to know what’s going to happen next, so this is a huge challenge for me. Then—just when I think I’m sort of getting the hang of it—my manager, Bob, suggests I perform with a cowboy. I can hear Angel laughing now.
I’ll be performing next week in New York City with a cowboy. Wish me luck.
Till next time,
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Happy Birthday Barbara Engel!
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