“Hey. You. Get out of my –“
That’s what my mom always says, or actually half sings and half chants, whenever we do something annoying like pick out pieces of cucumber she just chopped up and added to a salad. And almost every time she half sings and half chants this I ask, “what is that??” and she tells me it’s a song from her era. She never knows what song, and she never knows what word finishes the line, but she knows it’s some song. From the 1920’s. I’m kidding, she’s not that old.
So it has always been a mystery song.
But because of things like smart phones and Google, there really is no need for mystery songs anymore, which is why when she half sang and half chanted this half line the other week I decided to look it up right there in the kitchen.
As it turns out, this mystery song is a Rolling Stones song and the actual lyric is, “Hey! You! Get off of my cloud.” After the success of Satisfaction, the Rolling Stones wanted to sit back and enjoy it all, but the increased popularity had brought with it increased expectations and increased pressure for a great next single. As that follow-up song, Get Off of My Cloud was written about their frustration with those expectations.
I feel like it’s important to clarify that I’m not any sort of Rolling Stones expert and I’m barely familiar with their music. In fact, when I googled this information I definitely said out loud, “I didn’t know Satisfaction was their song,” as well as, “Hey! Mick Jagger was a Rolling Stone.” The funny thing is that considering I know next to nothing about them, this is not the first post in which I’ve mentioned the Rolling Stones.
Anyway. Get off of my cloud. What a relevant sentiment!
Think about it… So what’s next for you?… So where to next?… Congratulations! So now what’s the plan?… Wow, how are you going to top this?
You’ve probably been asked one of these questions. You’ve probably felt a sense of ‘whoa, one step at a time, let me just enjoy this’ in response to one of these questions. And yet you’ve probably still asked someone else one of these questions. At least I have, to all three. Check, check and check.
Sometimes it feels like everything is about what’s next and about making what’s next bigger and better, and I think we sometimes lose sight of what’s now. We are always so focused on the future and we are so achievement oriented, where one achievement almost instantly becomes just a stepping stone to the next, more esteemed achievement. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this is inherently a bad thing. I’m all for having goals and working hard to reach them, and I think it’s so important to constantly be trying to become better versions of ourselves. The problem is when this fixation on what’s next interferes with living in and appreciating the now. The problem is when a question about what you’re going to do next starts to sound like you aren’t good enough the way you are right now.
The problem is when all these expectations, all this pressure, and all this preoccupation with the future messes with our clouds. And the problem is not just that we let other people ruin our clouds, but that we sometimes ruin them ourselves.
And do you know what happens when a cloud is under too much pressure and too much stress?
No, it doesn’t. Well, actually, I have no idea. I’ve never heard of an exploding cloud before but I am not a cloud expert. I’m sure my favourite meteorologist Michael Kuss could explain the ins and outs of how clouds work, but for the sake of this post, let’s pretend that clouds are those fluffy pillows in the sky that we can jump around on and that they also have the ability to explode.
And when clouds explode they rain. And we fall to the ground umbrella-less. And we have to walk home with wet socks which is just the worst.
But there’s an alternative. The alternative is that we don’t give people the power to make our clouds explode. We choose to enjoy where our hard work has taken us instead of just focusing on where we hope we will end up. We still set goals and make plans for the future, but we take the time to be proud of where we are at and recognize our strengths and talents that have helped us get there.
So back to that stressful question: what’s next?
Here’s what’s next…I know it’s not easy, but next time someone is threatening to make your cloud explode I want you to look at them and say, “Hey! You! Get off of my cloud.”
You don’t need to actually say it, but try and live it. Try not to let thoughts or stress about what’s next take away from what’s now. It’s hard not to give someone the power to make you feel like you’re not good enough, and it’s even harder when that someone is yourself, but try to protect your cloud anyway.
And if you really don’t know where to start, you and your wet socks should march over to my house where, if you mess with her salad, my mom will half-sing-half-chant-show you how it’s done.