Feeding the second wolf

In every person there are two wolves who are always at war with each other. One is evil, the second one is good. Which wolf wins? “The one you feed.

Each day, I wake up and face two wolves. Just like you. One whispers I should cancel the plan I have made that evening. It’s a first date. I have kindly turned down the usual “coffee or drinks” offer, suggesting we check out an old theatre I have been meaning to go to for months now. It’s the oldest standing movie theatre in the city still in use for showing movies. I like the idea of going to watch old films in an even older building, but it has been difficult to find the time, interested parties, or the courage to go alone. Until I finally make plans to go see Rocky on a Wednesday at 7:00pm, with a person I will meet for the first time.

Evil Wolf has all the excuses neatly lined up early Wednesday morning as I get ready for work. It’s saying it’s cold and gets dark super early. “Ugh meeting someone new too,” anxiety chimes in, “After work at that,” Evil Wolf piles on its case for staying home instead, where it’s warm, cozy, safe- known. The day doesn’t help. It’s on Evil Wolf’s side by 10:00am, nonetheless, with bad news to kick start my day. It’s raining too, and it will rain all day. The wet, cold, gloomy January day engulfs me in its depressive state, exhausts me; all before noon. Evil Wolf is encouraged by the turn of events in its favour. It’s a long day already, surely, I can’t handle a stranger, at a strange place, after a strange day. I consider many excuses, mostly telling the truth: “Hey, sorry work has been very exhausting. Can we reschedule?”


Second Wolf, with its good natured wisdom, always looking out for me, chimes in too, holds its own against all odds; against a wet, cold, rainy day, against bad news at work, against fear of meeting a stranger in a strange place. “What would you do if you stay home?” I sheepishly admit to myself. Too stubborn, and too committed to unplugging, disconnecting, time spent offline, I have blocked all entertaining websites I could use for a night of mindless unwinding. I would be totally alone and restless until sleep rescues me. Second Wolf is looking out for me, I know. We have been there before and it’s never a good idea to choose the easy way out: Easy decisions, as they say.

Still.

I check out the cinema’s website to try and let marketing work its magic on me, to no avail. The day has emptied me and I cannot fathom letting it continue past 5. With pending victory for Evil Wolf, I open the app to speak my truth, to say my sorries, to reschedule- only to find the gods have beat me to it: “Hey, should we buy tickets now or when we get there?” It’s too late now, I know, too rude, to respond with the sorry excuses; should have messaged earlier, that’s on me. Second Wolf encourages me, reminding me of the value of valuing others’ time, even strangers off the apps: How by disrespecting others, we disrespect ourselves. And would it be so terrible to finally check out the theatre, spend an evening watching a movie, and potentially meet the love of my life? I get home through the rain, get ready, and show up to the best day of my year yet.


Feeding the second wolf

Of course, Rocky was a masterpiece. It only took me 28 years. And it was a lovely date. We went for drinks afterwards and we were surprised when time rushed past midnight.

That’s not the best part though. The best part was letting Second Wolf win, and in doing so casting a vote for the person I want to be, reaffirming the value of showing up, even when I don’t feel like it, how one thing leads to another, and the living adds up and knocks the internet out the water. I loved the theatre like I thought I would: It’s another spot to add to all my spots in the city- to invite friends to, more dates, or even for a solo movie date after a workout class- can you believe it’s walking distance to my workout studio? I love pairing a good workout class with going to the movies afterwards, and there’s been this gem right next door this whole time.

Even better, by feeding Second Wolf, you starve its evil twin. After such an amazing time, all the excuses of Evil Wolf seemed silly; trivial, petty. So what if it’s cold outside, rainy even? And what’s got what happened at work got to do with what happens after work? What’s any of it got to do with spending an evening watching Rocky on the big screen, in an old theatre full of unique characteristics, with the buzz of excitement from fans filling up the air, leaning in to whisper nothings at the stranger next to you, and ending the night knowing things you won’t forget again? Who would choose an evening spent on the internet over an evening spent getting lost in a city too busy to love you back? And when I call my girlfriend Saturday evening, we spend three hours talking on the phone, mostly about men, and I tell her alllllll about my date: No good story starts with, “so I was on Reddit Wednesday after work and…”

Until next time,

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