My mom gave me a beautiful and expensive queen-size mattress as a parting gift before I drove to L.A. (Asian moms are practical like that.) I've used that mattress almost every night for the past two years. I've grown rather fond of it.
Recently, I've had some minor back pain. One of the reasons people have back pain is because of an expired mattress. I had no idea that mattresses expire like sour milk. I don't know how long my mom had the mattress before she gifted it to me, but I recently detected some minor sagging in the middle. Time to trade it in.
The mattress salesman politely looked away each time I sunk into a new mattress and groaned with pleasure. I chose the perfect memory foam mattress and made arrangements to have it delivered the next evening.
The next day, only one man showed up to deliver my curiously small mattress. I wondered, "How did it fit into that tiny bag? Why, it looks like a large sushi roll. Where was the mattress I fell in love with at the store?"
He removed the protective plastic wrapping, laid down a sorry, limp excuse for bedding on my box spring, and began lugging my mother's huge, luscious gift out into the hall. I watched him carry my old mattress out. It was almost like he was dragging out an old, cherished relative of mine. The entire process lasted less than five minutes
I asked the man as I wrote down my signature for him, "I thought it would be bigger… It was bigger in the store." "Oh, it needs a week to puff out." And he winked at me.
I went back to my room. I could feel my cheeks begin to burn. What had I done? I can't sleep on that laid out sushi roll!
I tried to calm myself and sat down to practice guitar, but I couldn't get the sushi roll out of my head. I would work on a section of a song, then, after a few moments, take a peek behind me to see if the mattress had transformed into the one I laid down at at the mattress store. It simply laid rumpled and flat. Another chorus and on to a new song. Another peek. Still mopey and pathetic.
I stopped practicing, laid down on the mattress on my belly to write in my journal about how disappointed I was because I had replaced my mother's mattress with an imposter. Before I could finish the first paragraph, I fell into the most relaxing and incredible nap I've had in months. When I woke up the mattress I laid on was perfectly plump and full, just like the mattress at the store! I smiled and thought, "Silly girl. You should listen to what everyone is always telling you. "Give it time."
After I've released a new song or a new piece of jewelry, I feel like I've made a difference and accomplished something. But, soon afterwords, a general anxiousness settles in. A weird sense of entitlement shows up and I expect strange circumstances to happen to me, my reward from the universe for putting in any amount of effort.
For instance, I expect my favorite band to show up on my doorstep and say, "Hey, aren't you the one who wrote that song? Perfect. We need YOU in our band." Or maybe I expect the senior style editor at Macys to call me up after I design a new piece of jewelry and say, "We want your whole collection to be released this fall in all of our stores nationwide!"
To tell you the truth, I'm not even sure what I'm expecting, just this vague SUPER- accomplishment to materialize.
I have to remind myself of a truth I learned: it's not about outcome (because we can't control that), it's about PROCESS. If you don't love the process of what you're doing, then what's the point? The fame and glory most likely will never come, and that's o.k. I need to stop waiting for these HUGE outcomes.
Finishing that song, writing that blog, connecting with that customer. Those are ALL HUGE outcomes and wonderful processes.
Give it time, and you'll know this for yourself.