Trials + Tourniquets

Personal

She looked across the table from me. With scattered remains of tortilla chips and a bowl of guacamole sitting between us, she gave her unsolicited opinion. I’m not sure if I wanted to hear it at the time, but in retrospect, I needed to. It’s like you placed a tourniquet on that part of your heart, so you can stop feeling pain, she said in between sips of iced tea, but you’re not just preventing pain…you’re preventing the fullest experience of joy, too.

I felt like I got punched in the gut.

I didn’t want to admit how awful I’d been feeling lately, but she saw right through me. I admitted to being caught up in comparing myself to others, battling entrepreneurial insecurity, and feeling like I sprinting without a destination. This coupled with the barrage of social media updates from friends who make delicious dinners every night, take showers before 5pm, and book weddings more often than I blink, I felt myself closing off from friends, twisting pressure on my tourniquet to stop the pain.

It was then when I realized I was becoming so focused on my discomfort that I stopped focusing on my joy. When I shifted my perspective to finding every good thing in life, it soon began to pale everything else in comparison. Sure, I might have had to throw away dinner because I added too much salt, but walking to El Pollo Loco at sunset was equally as nice.

Last week I snapped this photo on my phone of Polo and JD as we walked along Laguna Beach…

I’m much happier focusing on just how good life is…instead of focusing on everything I don’t have or am not. With my toes buried in the sand, I soaked up inordinate amounts of joy and marked the moment as my happy place. Life is a balance between pain and joy, but I’m content focusing on the latter.