All of my best dreams happen while I’m sat on the toilet.
Just this morning, my company went public and I sold a billion shares. I pee my way to Paris and trot along the Champs-Élysées in 40-inch heels. My walk is flawless, I’m like a gazelle.
I carry a Hermès bag filled with white truffle shavings and I tip people in truffles. Doorman gets a handful, driver gets a handful, maid gets a handful. People ask me for advice but I’m so wealthy I’ve forgotten how to talk, so I respond in a series of clicks and groans.
I flush the toilet and the dream ends abruptly.
Some of the most poignant moments I’ve had in my life have happened on a toilet, and with the average lifetime dedicated to 92 days of toilet-sitting, isn’t it time to shine a spotlight on the commode?
A trip down toilet road…
When I was seven years old, I locked myself in a school toilet cubicle, and it was utterly terrifying. To this day, I’m afraid of being trapped in a loo, and I always triple-check locks before I close myself into a stall. I eventually escaped by crawling under the toilet door. Thank god for floor-to-door gaps!
Going to the toilet is a great way to reset my mood when I’m angry at my husband.
Often I’ll pretend our bathroom is an exotic temple on a Lonely Planet itinerary and I’ll shut myself away for 30 minutes, perched on the loo, breathing slowly, meditating on the sink.
I happened to find out I was pregnant during one of my temple excursions. I thought taking out a pregnancy test would be a fun surrogate for lighting an incense stick; I also thought peeing on a test strip would be a nice way to mix up my regular session.
Oh, how fate laughed at that one.
Being desperate-to-go invites the worst kind of toilet trip.
I’m sure we’ve all had a few moments like this, where your only option is to follow your urge and purge? When I was 27 I climbed Adam’s Peak in Sri Lanka and desperately needed to pee during my descent. I found a random hut with a filthy hole in it and I peed until my eyes watered with relief. The cockroaches only swam into view once my bladder was empty. At which point I clamped my legs together like a volt at Gringotts.
I’ve also visited some utterly fabulous bogs and particularly enjoyed using the facilities at The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert during a recent stay. When a toilet is good, relieving yourself can be quite a luxurious experience!
Where is this even going?
I assume you opened this story under the assumption that this was more of a metaphoric reflection than a real flashback. So I’m going to address the elephant in the poo and tell you why my life is going down the toilet and why I’m okay with it.
The way I see it, life is a series of evacuations, and for every time I’ve had to let go, I’ve made room for something new.
Fear of the unknown is sort of like going to the loo.
You can make all the predictions and assumptions you like, but sometimes life surprises you with a pregnancy, or constipation, or dreams that you’ll be a billionaire.
Trying to be okay with the unknown is hard!
I’ve spent the past thirty years trying to make myself ‘okay’ with sudden change. I’m not there yet. Every time I’m confronted with the possibility that the shape of my life as I know it is going to shift, I tend to get stressed.
My immediate reaction to change is usually visceral, and I generally spend the first 24 hours venting my mood in an emotional Whatsapp podcast to my girlfriends.(I have zero shame and will send 20 messages in 32-second increments throughout an entire evening.) 😏
What to do with all that poo.
Once you’ve got sh*t off your chest, change management tends to get a little easier. I believe tantrums are healthy, as long as they don’t hurt anyone. And that’s why my life going down the toilet is a good thing. When life goes wrong, the universe will generally send you a nudge towards something new. Whether that new thing is a job, a baby, or a helpful friend, the only thing you need to do is to make yourself receptive to possibilities.
Throw fear in the receptacle and get reciprocal.
What if the world isn’t out to get you? What if people are trying to help you? Flush away your fears and give your connections a chance to usher in a different way of doing things. The other night my husband and I were watching The Office again, and we were laughing about the episode where Dunder Mifflin is going to have to start selling their paper on a new website instead of over the phone. Michael, the regional manager, was completely change-resistant and insisted that the old way was the best way and that a website could never do what a person could. Michael was terrified of change, even though it was meant to make his life easier!
Try not to be a Michael Scott.
Don’t forget to flush.
It’s common to feel the effects of change in the form of stress and panic, but if you do feel like your life is going down the toilet, remember to flush. Flushing is any activity that you can do to cleanse yourself from worry. Put together a simple plan that reduces triggers and recalibrates your calm.
My three step flush
1. Pray or meditate — I will find a quiet spot and pray or hold a mantra while doing some washing up!
2. Disconnect my phone — I put my phone in another room and stop checking it for a few hours.
3. I don’t drink coffee, I limit tea and I drink a lot of water — flushing is also physiological and I feel so much better when I hydrate regularly!