On Having Your Shit Together


Having shit figured out is a red herring, a mirage on the horizon in our peripheral vision that keeps us questioning what we’re seeing.

It’s not over there. There is not there, there. The whole idea of a person having their shit together makes it sound like life is this neat and tidy thing you can sort into static categories of fixed states.

What would that even look like?

Our shit is constantly changing.

And yet, there is some shit that really matters to you, right? Those are your values. Your priorities. I think the clearer we get about that stuff, the more we can roll with external changes, and the more those external changes can feel aligned with who we are and what we know to be true in the midst of so much uncertainty.

But this notion of having our shit together? It’s a sales tactic.

For the past five years, I’ve paid self-employment taxes on a quarterly and annual basis. Does that mean I have my shit together? Our government certainly doesn’t have its shit together.

I love being organized and on top of things, and in many ways I am these things. And there is also so much shit I don’t get to. A to do list that snakes from one day to the next. Does this mean I don’t have my shit together? No. It means I am alive.

May I never complete my to do list, not before my last breath. And even then, I’ll exist in some new form, beyond shit and no shit, beyond waking and dreaming and sleeping and thinking and creating.

What is beyond?

How did I get from figuring shit out to existential questions before morning light?

The thing with end times is that they aren’t really the end. What will come after this moment of chaos and crumbling?

Last night, I had a beautiful moment with Mani. This weekend is the seventh anniversary of the weekend we met in real life for the first time. It was my 38th birthday when we had the one-night stand that would become the rest of our lives — many of you know that story already.

I looked into her eyes and had this vivid image of God sitting around and suddenly jumping up with a great idea, a light bulb moment about us finding each other. (As an aside: Does God say, “Oh my God”?) “Why didn’t I think of this sooner?!” God asked godself in my imagination. In God time, that was just a few minutes ago. Life is long and short and bound and timeless. If “God” is not your language, substitute “Dog” or your deity of choice. The Universe will also do nicely.

Anyway, we first connected via email in a moment of flux — spring, 2009. Ten years ago! Imagine several rivers swirling and eddying, where it can be impossible to discern which is which in the confluence. Kind of like that. I was married with littles, with a coaching business and a sunny home office and a sweet house on a dead-end street in Burlington, Vermont.

My life was completely settled. She was in Phoenix, and something I’d written catalyzed a decision that would blow the doors off of her life. Little did either of us know that two years after that first word exchange, we’d wake up in each other’s arms.

You might think you have your shit together.

If you sweep your shit under the proverbial rug and the rug gets pulled out from under you, guess what you will have to sweep up? ALL THE SHIT YOU AVOIDED.

If you don’t have your shit together, welcome to being human and guess what, this doesn’t not mean you are a fuck up. Sheesh. Who instilled that idea in us, anyway? It’s toxic and false.

Where am I going with this? I need a second cup of coffee. It’s early. Today is my last day of being 44 so I’m taking stock, my friends. The hardest and most terrifying moments of my life are inseparable from everything I call a blessing today. Shit comes together and shit falls apart.

The best we can do is stay close to the ground, talk to the sky, the mountains, or wherever it is your help comes from. God isn’t a white dude in the clouds wearing a robe and mansplaining your life purpose.

No, God is in you. I see it in your eyes. I see it in mine.

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