I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed by all there is to do in order to be where, what, and who I want to be. And strangely, the feelings of anxiety have become more pronounced as the plan becomes more clear. Now that I know happiness is attainable, and it’s actually all under my control…well, it seems like a lot more pressure. As the universe seems to declare, “sure, you can have whatever you want,” all I seem to say is, “but wait, you want me to do what first?” That looks like a whole lot of scary work ahead.
In the midst of one of my more unproductive and (somewhat) irrationally overwhelmed times, I stood on a NYC subway platform. Transferring from the C to the A, I was headed to the airport – back to Amsterdam. In my mind I listed the number of things I needed to get done approximately weeks ago, preoccupied by creeping self-doubt. When I briefly returned to the present, I took inventory: suitcase, laptop bag, something’s missing. My leather jacket. My most favorite.
That sinking feeling when you realize something is lost – some/anywhere in NYC. It hurt. I briefly attempted to acquire some sympathy from two ladies standing beside me by sadly declaring, “I just lost my jacket.” They kindly obliged with sighs and looks of pity. As I stood there with a big ‘ole suitcase and various other bags strapped to me, I had no option to go back and retrace my steps. We all knew that jacket was long gone. So I began working on getting over it. It’s just a jacket. I probably wore it too often anyway. Perhaps its replacement will bring me even more joy.
During the following (excessively) long train ride, I kept thinking of the stairway at the first train station. Although I hadn’t been paying attention, and I had no idea the jacket had fallen, I felt strangely certain of when it must have happened. A glimmer of hope remained with my friends who would follow me to Amsterdam just a couple of hours later. Perhaps I could catch them in time, get them to follow the route I had taken, and maybe they would even find the jacket at the station. A laughable long-shot. Grasping at straws might make the recovery period worse. But it’s worth a try.
I arrived at the airport about 10 minutes after my (typically timely) friends planned to leave, after anxiously watching the clock tick away on the super-duper slow air train shuttle-thing. If I missed them, it’d be over. Without a U.S. cell phone, I asked the security woman taking bags where I could find a pay phone. I would have to go far, to the other side of the large airport area. “Or, you could just use my phone.” Seriously? “Why look for a pay phone when you could use this?” Exactly.
Several hours and an Atlantic Ocean later, as I expected, Amsterdam was cold and drizzly. I wore only a sweatshirt that was insufficient and also seemed to regret my careless disregard of layering and, well, decency. This discomfort marked the beginning of a new life without my leather jacket. And, considering the circumstances, I think I was coping quite well with the unexpected hardship. Too many other things are competing to cause me worry. A well-liked, but forever lost leather jacket cannot be one of them.
Two hours later, I met my jet-lagged, weary, and appropriately-dressed friends at Centraal Station. We exchanged hugs and stories of our respective overnight flights. Leading them to my place, it was pretty clear the glimmer of hope I had maintained was no longer. With the intention of sparing my feelings, they didn’t even bring it up. But I needed to close the chapter. “So…you guys didn’t find the jacket, huh?”
“Oh no, sorry.” Sad faces. Agreement that it was a long-shot and reassurance that they tried.
How incredible it would have been if they had found the jacket. This would have meant a kind someone had picked it up and handed it to the station attendant. And my friends, who I narrowly caught on their way out the door, would have followed shortly after to retrieve it from likely the same attendant I had earlier asked to buzz the door open for me. And these friends also just so happened to be on their way to Amsterdam, reuniting me with the completely lost jacket in just a few short hours. How charming of a scenario that -
“Dana, we tried to pretend for as long as we could. But, we actually found your jacket.”
A bag unzipped. And emerged the forever and completely lost red, vintage, most favorite, leather jacket. My already loved friends became heroes. Heroes.
But what are the chances? The question kept coming to mind. The strong feeling about where I dropped it, the kind person who handed it in, the security lady with the cell phone, my friends and their plane, the timing, all of it seems so unlikely, even as individual scenarios.
Getting to some kind of point: I believe in signs. And this sure felt like one. As if I received some direct communication from someone or something that knows more, and perhaps knows why. It’s a sign of what, I’m not sure. But strange things seem to happen more often these days. And I suspect that’s because I’ve finally started listening. Paying attention and listening. And with this, I’m making no exception. That leather jacket was not lost and found in vain.
Forget the doubt. Do the work. Trust the process. You’ll get what you want, dammit.
(spirit speaks to me with sass)