Enjoying falling

By Mir
March 19, 2006

I’m trying this new thing. It’s very revolutionary; I don’t know if you’ve heard of it.

It’s called living in the present. Have you tried it? It’s WILD!

But lord, it is WORK. Hard work. Good hard work, but still. When I’m not living in the past, I’m fretting about the future. This whole present thing does not come naturally to me. At all.

It requires a boatload of motivation, which–at the moment–I have*. We’ll see if it’s enough.

Anyway, I have this very wise friend. And she keeps telling me the same thing, over and over.

She says: Lower your expectations, but not your standards.

In response, I have asked–each and every time–HOW DO I DO THAT?? Because it sounds like good advice, but I’m just not sure how one goes about maintaining standards without having expectations. I’m guessing it has something to do with this whole present-living thing, though.

So it turns out that if you can master that whole thing, you can enjoy falling. Rather than freaking out about what comes next or just feeling terrified, you can just throw your head back and whoop and holler and have the ride of your life. The falling parts… they don’t last very long. What a waste it would be to spend those fleeting moments anticipating the ground coming up and going *SMACK*, right?

Also, I have girl scout cookies. So, you know, if I can’t master this whole other thing, at least I’ll have thin mints at the ready.

*Motivation can come in many forms. At the moment, for me, it’s taking the form of someone tall, dark and handsome. Please don’t be distracted by the cartoon bluebirds circling my head. You won’t even notice them after a while.


  1. Irony Queen

    Please oh please oh please say you’ll provide us with the instruction manual on How to Lower Your Expectations, But Not Your Standards!!! Because, um, my, uh, friend, yeah, she could really benefit from something like that.

    Or, send a Girl Scout my way. Perhaps the Thin Mints can teach me–HER–something.

  2. Bo b

    yay for the bluebirds of happiness!

    (Maybe I can borrow a few, one or two from the edge of the flock.)

    I’m happy for you. Enjoy.

  3. Jessica

    Thin Mints can make just about anything better.

  4. buffi

    Wow! That was pretty deep there, Mir! And right on the money. I should just read this every day. Carry it in my purse, perhaps.

    (and tall, dark & handsome? high five!)

  5. Cele

    I think I got lost at “It’s Wild.”

    But then found my way back, because thin mints are worth coming back for. Which reminds me, mine haven’t been delivered yet. What happened to the days when girl scouts had them in arm when they sold them? Oh, wait. Senilities setting in, I forgot that never happened. Wait, Thin mints I remember. Now that is living in the past…oh wait, is that my exhusband?

    Hey, it must have been a good date, because all we heard about was the salad.

  6. shannon

    intrigue has set in for sure. happiness too. living in the moment is a beautiful thing. it’s hard, sometimes, to remember to do so. however, with the right *ahem* motivation…oh yeah.


  7. KarenT

    Whilst you’re free-falling perhaps you could sing a song? Something like..’faaaame I’m gonna live forever…’ just a thought.

  8. DebR

    So now I’m heading off for bed thinking about Thin Mints and humming a Garth Brooks song. Livin’ in the moment! :-)

  9. Contrary

    Like, oh my God, Becky! Sorry, I just regressed about 20 years. Felt good though. Congratulations on the thin mints (I mean that sincerely as I didn’t get any this year) and good luck with TD & H!

  10. chris

    Wooo hooo, talk, dark and handsome. You totally deserve it.

    here’s hoping the bluebirds don’t crap on your head ;-)

  11. Casey

    WooHoo for Mir! (living in the moment still means I can be excited for you, right?)

  12. liz

    yeah for tall, dark and handsome! want to know what i learned last night? thin mints taste even better with a bit of bailey’s irish cream.

  13. Kris

    I’m sorry, but I’m giggling over here. Every time I hear “Lowered Expectations” i think of that Mad TV skit about the dating service of the same name.

  14. Aimee

    Awriiiiiiiiight. Tall, dark and handsome. Very nice. Yay, Mir!

  15. ben

    Yay for you, Mir!

    (I’d say something terribly clever but, alas, I don’t have anything. So sorry!)

    Truly – I’m extremely happy for you. Can’t wait to hear another movie review!

  16. FrenchIndian

    It must be true that we dream the same things and think the same things. My daughter just told me a dream about falling: SMACK! And even though they used to warn us that dying in your dreams means you’re dead, well, she’s very much alive as she watched herself fall. Strangely, I thought it was because I just finished writing a creative nonfiction (elsewhere) about a girl who dives from airplanes. I thought her dream was prescient to my story but maybe we’re all wondering about falling–and whooping it up. (I linked a few excerpts from your story to my blog because my mission in life is to find common voices on the wind. Let me know if it’s a problem for you but I hope it’s not because I love to find wind chimes in the storms.)

    Sincerely, FrenchIndian

  17. Monica

    I think in addition to Tall Dark and Handsome, singing the theme song from Fame would be a marvelous experience in living in the present! No worries about ridicule, no thoughts of the audience, just open up and sing out. You’ll love it!

    (I was sent here by no one, I swear it)

  18. Bob

    I keep hearing Tom Petty, not Irene Cara.

    Maybe lowered expectations/same standards means taking things (and people)as they come – giving that frog a chance to be a prince instead of insisting on the armor and white horse from the beginning.

  19. Ale8one

    I started to try using this method by chemical inducement, but I couldn’t handle the hangovers.

  20. M00

    “When I’m not living in the past, I’m fretting about the future”
    I think thats the most profound statement I’ve ever seen
    Yikes..thats what I have been doing all my life..however no longer.. I’ll change now ..rather than wait till tomorrow.
    thanks Mir

  21. Dawn

    Ooooo! Tall, dark and handsome. With bluebirds. Excellent! I hope it comes with a side order of “a whole lot of fun.”

    Good for you, Mir!

  22. Alexa

    My therapist is always nattering on about living in the present–she calls it by a name I can never remember (present-ness? gounded-ness? mind-something?), probably because I am to busy living in the past/fretting about the future to pay attention…
    Good luck with TD&H, and enjoy the bluebirds!

  23. dorothy

    My best friend, the psychologist, calls this “living the life in front of you.” I highly advise it, though it’s hard.

  24. ozma

    The present really sucks. So I can’t live there. The past is also icky. I could live in the future but then I would worry about what that would do TO the future. Because if I don’t do the things in the present that I must do then the future will suck. So let’s see…that leaves ???

    Schopenhauer says that we can’t live in the present really, since it instantly becomes the past. He’s kind of a downer, really although so depressing it actually makes you laugh. I like your idea better.

  25. Cori

    Oooh, sounds like fun! Y’know, becuase it’s you and not me. Enjoy the process, Mir!

  26. Amy-GO

    TEASE!! Details, dammit! ;)

  27. Sarcastic Journalist

    I have pretty low expectations of everything. My Motto is “Expect nothing and be pleasantly surprised.”

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