(Another great guest post by Corey Rotella!)
“HELLOOOOO FOOD LION!!! It’s so good to be Baaaack!!!!!”, I announced as I walked through the automatic doors. It’s my modus operandi to dramatically announce my arrival at that particular store. Thaddeus, Marcus, Kia…the workers there are no longer surprised by my antics but there was a time when they did not know what to make of me. They thought I was off my rocker, but the truth is there is always a method to my madness.
I’m not sure at what point I noticed how many people live on automatic pilot. I was guilty of it myself; standing in line, wishing time away as if those moments had no value because they were so very mundane. I only know that once I became aware of it, I was unable to let go of that knowledge.
Maybe it’s because in my line of work, I see people who would give anything to have that time that I so carelessly took for granted. Maybe it’s because, through recovery, I’ve learned that enough of my moments were stolen by myself destructive behavior. How I reached that awareness is not nearly as important as what I do with it, so I made a decision. I would do my very best to not go through the motions in life and whenever the opportunity presented itself, I will help others to do the same.
How does one go about doing that? Well, for starters, I began talking to strangers. In lines, in Walmart, in banks; I ENGAGE! A simple hello or empty platitudes do not do. They are too easy to brush off. No, this sort of communication requires some effort. Sometimes I just announce the weirdest events of my day, and trust me when I say there are plenty from which for me to choose. It shocks people out of their head and brings them into the moment. Ultimately, that is my goal.
Too much time is wasted regretting the wreckage of the past or living in fear of the wreckage of the future. It robs us all of the present. Even when the present is mildly uncomfortable, it’s real. Concrete. Memories of the past are blurred by time and fear of the future is nothing more than attaching emotion to what MIGHT be. Staying in the moment is the antidote to a life lived on autopilot. If shunning social norms by loudly announcing my grand entrance to a grocery store full of people helps me to achieve that goal, then it’s a price that I’m willing to pay. Until next time shine on, my friends.
Corey Anne Rotella co-authored the book CNA Edge: Reflections from year one along with Bob Goddard and Hannah Hedges. It’s a collection of essays from their blog CNA Edge: a Voice from the trenches of Long Term Care
She also writes commentary about her life experiences on her personal blog Chasing Wonderland https://howdoyoueatanelaphant.wordpress.com/