A Lesson in Making Do with Where You’re At in Life

I like metaphors. I like them so much that I take mundane occurrences in the every day and aggrandize them into life lessons. Over-glorified moments twisted with a truck-load of positivism, spun into something better. Oh, the world in which I live!

So I’ve got a metaphor.

Last Sunday afternoon we were experiencing an Indian summer, not atypical of Southern California. It was hot, I was wearing shorts and a tee, my bangs were sticking to my forehead, and my skin was sticking everywhere else. We were at home, finished with the morning chores, the run to the farmer’s market, the 10am football games, an afternoon of nothing ahead. An ideal situation for me. Even more so for my husband. He had just sat down at the computer, when I suggested we go to the beach. We were there exactly twenty four hours prior, but I was hankering for a re-do and thought, it couldn’t hurt to ask.

It was not unfair of him to say no, either, but there I was, left with a decision to head to the ocean water on my own and trample in the waves, or stay. Due to a fear of being swallowed whole by fierce waters (to blame: a near drowning experience that resulted in a missing bathing suit bottom after being tossed around like a rag doll in the wash), I can never brave dousing more than my bottom half when I go alone to the beach. But the hot weather had me wanting more – a fervent dumping of my entire body into deeper waters. I needed a hand, though. Strung along were other excuses – I was avoiding the drive to the water which would sacrifice an hour of my weekend, en total, along with the cost of dreaded parking meters.

I realized that in that moment, the beach was something I did not have, but wanted. It was another case of wanting more out of life when plenty abound. In much the same way that travel can be a form of escape from the mundane, so too was the beach a way for me to escape an afternoon in idleness. In a matter of moments, I started to think of what I did have, and it dawned on me to apply my mantra of making do.

As crazy it this may sound, I decided to create my own ocean. I wanted to dip in water, to cool down, to play and frolick. I scoured the tub, dug the plugger from underneath the bathroom sink, and turned the faucet to Cold. I filled the tub with water and was reminded of the kiddie pools we used to own. Those tiny things we would spread out on the lawn and clamber into, practically sitting on top of each other, all arms and legs. For some reason, I wanted to replicate that childish scene. I put on my bathing suit (you gotta dress the part, you know?), and dunked right in. I moved around a lot, which caused the water to slosh. Just like that, I had created waves. I know it seems crazy, but I got what I wanted – an escape from the mundane. It was nice. I was happy.

Now let’s aggrandize.

In honor of World Mental Health Day, I wanted to share that on THAT particular Sun-day, I got something right. I didn’t run away from my unhappiness. I acknowledged what I wanted to do. I tried to make the situation positive and bright. I worked with what I had, which I know can sometimes be the hardest thing. And as this post is titled, Make Do with Where You’re At In Life, maybe today isn’t a day that you can will yourself out of bed. You sure can try but if your limbs are too heavy or the bed too soft, then make do and imagine you’re on a cloud. We need to raise a planet where there is no social stigma for these things. Where we protect people’s feelings. So what if a thirty year old wants to pretend she’s made an ocean out of a dingy bathtub? So what if an adult needs to be a vegetable for the day? It is only when we preserve and allow for these activities that we can make the world a bit more bearable, more light, more happy.


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