Mind the Gap: The Distance Between What You Want and What You’re Doing to Get It

mind the gap sign, maggie mcreynolds blogIf you’ve ever taken the Tube in London, you’ve seen the signs posted all over that say, jauntily, “Mind the Gap.” They refer to the distance between the station platform and the train itself.

But these days, I’ve been thinking about a different kind of gap: the one between what we tell ourselves we want, and what we’re actually doing—or, more pointedly, not doing—to make it happen.

Maybe you want to get in shape. Maybe you want a better job. Maybe you want a big-screen TV, or to learn HTML, or to find a significant other who knows all the lyrics to obscure mid-century jazz tunes.

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paper hearts with notes, by hefin owen, maggie mcreynolds blog

Who’s Really Disappointing You?

This Valentine’s Day was just about my best Valentine’s Day ever. And it took me almost all day to figure out why: through circumstance, both accidental and planned, there was no one around but me.

Which also meant that there was no one to disappoint me, but me.

I had no expectation of cards, candies, flowers, phone calls, baubles, or beads.

I had no expectation of being invited to lunch, treated to dinner, swept off my feet, or taken to bed.

And so, with others and myself released from the burden of my own expectations, I was free to do whatever I wanted with the day.

I wanted breakfast in bed. This meant getting up to make it, but once I did, I returned happily to a nest of blankets and pillows, and ate it while reading.

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gray rocks, maggie mcreynolds blog

Mental Hygiene: Do You Have Rocks in Your Head?

So there’s this rock.

It’s a huge, heavy rock. It’s gray, and I hate gray. It’s a stupid shape. It is the ugliest rock I have ever seen, and it ruins everything.

People laugh at the rock, and at me for having it. Whenever I get near it, I stub my toe on it. Sometimes, I lie down, laboriously roll the rock over on top of me, and then wail, “Help, help, I’m trapped under this big, ugly rock!”

What in the world am I talking about?

I’m talking about circumstances. I’m talking about all the things in your life that, for one reason or another, you don’t have one jot of control over—at least at the present moment. Might be your spouse. Might be your boss. Might be your health, or your child’s learning disability, or your 10-year-old car with the dent in the fender.

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