“Mary Poppins says that anything can happen, if we would just get out of our own way.”
Ain't that the truth? I’m in a production of Mary Poppins in Draper at the moment, and we all go around saying, “Anything can happen!” now. At first it seemed silly to me. And perhaps it is. I mean, there are things that can happen, and there are things that cannot happen. But who knows? In the words of Michael Buble: “I guess it’s half timing, and the other half’s luck.”
This is my year. There’s been something in the air since the very first day. Odd numbered years are always better, and 2014 was a year that got progressively worse. I was going through a weird personal crisis at New Years, and I kinda had the feeling that this year was going to be a defining one, whether positive or negative. I had the unexpressed feeling that I could spiral down the path I was on, or I could make some changes and start the exhausting climb upwards. In hindsight, I was aching for the luxury of giving up, to recline in mediocrity, even though I knew I couldn't. So in late December I was clicking through a New Year’s Resolution generator and ended up finding one that resonated in me, even though I’m sure no Buzzfeed employee expected it to improve anyone’s life: “I resolve to make better bad decisions.”
"I might not be able to commit to making good decisions yet," I thought, "but I can make better bad ones." Baby steps.
So I’ve been trying to live by that. I started going to church again. I cut way back on the hours of mindless Netflix consumption. And I faced up to the fact that I only get to be young once, and it would be a shame to squander it with stupid choices I could not pretend were anything else.
I doubt I can take much credit for the improvements in my life. Half timing, half luck. But so far I’ve been hired full-time at the most secure job I’ve ever had, performed one of my all-time favorite roles with a perfect cast, and started dating the kind of boy I honestly didn’t think existed outside the boundaries of young adult fiction. I can’t say if it’s something in me that’s changed or the universe conspiring to make me happy or the calm before the worst 2016 of all time. But I am completely happy. And I haven’t been completely happy in years. It is a strange country to find oneself in. There’s a great quote from a Graham Greene novel: “He felt a kind of loyalty to unhappiness, as if that was where he belonged.”
I don’t know. Things are really pulling together for old Rebecca Waite. And it’s baffling and wonderful and a little bit terrifying. When life is grand I get afraid of losing it; of having everything I've ever wanted in my grasp and then managing to blow my one chance at not screwing up. I have coping mechanisms for dealing with misery. I'm not quite sure how to deal with happiness. I have a daily quote calendar, and one that struck me last year was “Nothing happens, and nothing happens, and nothing happens. But then EVERYTHING happens.” One from last week: “At any point you have the power to decide that this is not where the story ends.”
Anything can happen if you let it.