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Archive for January, 2008

It starts around 2:00 in the afternoon for me. The feeling.

The pit in my stomach that says the weekend is going to be over in a few short hours.

And worse, that Monday morning is on its way.

I’m a drama queen. I make it sound like I walk out the door and into a torture chamber on Monday mornings.

I don’t.

I have a wonderful job. It is an interesting, creative job that allows me to help foster kids and families. that allows me wonderful benefits and a competitive salary (for my field, don’t get excited), and that allows me to work with some interesting, funny people. Why the Sunday blues then?

I’m not sure really. Well, there are a few things. The place I work is the busiest place I’ve ever worked. I know others work in far busier places, so I definitely don’t say it in comparison. But for me, it’s busy. I call it Campbell’s condensed soup. When I was there six months, it felt like three years. It’s just this constant influx of e-mails, ideas, projects, and questions. It’s not high pressure really, and yet there is this thing about being there where it’s just thick with busy-ness and work.

It’s just not what I saw for myself. I’m not sure what that means really. And maybe everyone feels that way. I’m a grown up with a grown up job that pays for grown up things and contributes to my grown up marriage and lifestyle.

That sounds glamorous, doesn’t it?

I guess it’s my lens that’s maybe flawed. Or maybe I have a point. How do you know?

I have a shot at a new job that I interviewed or over a month ago. References are checked, and I’m just waiting for the call. But do I want it? Not sure.

How do you know?

I would love love love a personal consultant with a crystal ball to tell me the “right” decisions to make in life. Can you imagine? No doubt. No questions. Just knowing that there is a “right” way.

Everything inside me knows that the very act of making the decisions and taking leaps and choosing different roads is a spiritual exercise. It’s trusting and understanding that you’re now going a direction that’s now moving you in an infinite number of other directions. Which can be scary and awe-inspiring and also very minute in the scope of the infinite number of other decisions that can be made at any time.

And quantum physics goes so far as to say that we’re living parallel lives in all the ways we think of in our minds. So, if I want to do hair and makeup, I’m doing it somewhere, sometime while I’m approving foster families and working in the soup¬†factory. I like that perspective, and it’s comforting. It calms me down.

So easy to write about. Much harder to live.

So, here I am on the night before Monday. I think about my current job. I think about my potential new job.

I wonder: will that job be the job that makes the day before Monday a better day for me? Will any job?

Or is it me?

I think I know the answer.

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The moment.

I’m a person who has spent a lot of moments in life looking toward another moment.

I’ve been a hopeless New Year’s resolution-er for most of my life. Sadly, I have lacked creativity in coming up with good things. They’ve always seemed to revolve around losing weight and meeting Mr. Right.

Well, I’ve done those now. Now what?

Tonight I’m meeting up with some friends to eat, drink, laugh. I’ve spent the last hour “getting ready” (that thing women do that starts with a shower and culminates in hairspray). While I’ve been doing that, I’ve had one eye on Henry, because my other is in New Hampshire for the presidential debates. (Fair enough. That’s probably a more interesting subject than this. Sorry. You’ll have to wait until he has a blog.)

While I’ve looked at myself in the mirror from every possible angle, he has sat patiently chewing on a bone or a toy of some sort. Sometimes in the hallway, sometimes choosing to drag said toy to the computer room, where he usually noshes on such things.

So, I’m done now, and I looked at the clock and thought, “Wow, I’m early, what will I do until it’s time to go?” And I looked down at this wonderful little fluffy creature that’s new to our lives and just watched him live in the moment.

That’s what animals do. They just exist. And it’s so beautiful.

Now I know they lack the higher brain functioning that we humans possess, and don’t get me wrong, that’s a miraculous thing. I can balance a checkbook, debate my husband about all the ways the U.S. child welfare system fails kids, plan a vacation, read. . . well, you know. You’re reading this. Obviously you possess the same type of brain functioning. It’s wonderful, and I appreciate it.

But no amount of meditation or practice will give me the ability to just live in the moment like animals do. I can and will practice and do my best to bring myself back whenever I can. But not like they do.

I’ve spent the greater part of today worrying about some interactions with friends that I had over holidays. Nothing really happened, but I have just had a pit in my stomach for the past eight hours about some very normal things that are happening, like my feelings of growing apart from these friends and not really knowing what to do about that.

Rather than focus on the feelings, I’ve focused on the worrying which takes me out of this moment and into this other place that I’m not even sure has a time or place. But I know it’s not here, now.

This dog is a great teacher. He says nothing. Occasionally licks my face or bites my hand. Cuddles. Does tricks. Loves us like a dog does.

But he’s teaching me. Every day. In ways I didn’t think about before. God, what is it like to have your own child? It must be a treasure trove of lessons, one after another.

This is good for now and maybe what I can handle for now. The lessons aren’t earth shattering like picking up calculus in two days or curing cancer. But they cut me to the core and show me life in a new way.

And that ain’t nothing.

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Defining success

Sometimes it’s just the little things for me.

Like making it back to my first day of work after vacation without being a complete and utter bitch.

Or having eaten junk food for two weeks straight and only gaining 2 pounds over the holidays.

Or getting Henry to sit, stay, shake, or come and be successful at it. Which he has been lately.

I shouldn’t derive a greater sense of happiness from this, but I do. I’m mad, really. No, really.

It makes me feel I’ve been “successful” or a “good mother.” And who can’t use a dose of that once in a while?

But I know the reality. I hear my therapist in my ear, as if he’s sitting on my shoulder or something. And I realize that I’m attached to the outcome, labeling it “good” or “bad,” “successful” or “unsuccessful.”

And my mood becomes contingent on it, which is a dangerous place to be.

Take, for example, the (likely) opposite scenario that would have occurred if I had come home tonight to a puppy that didn’t sit, stay, shake, or come when I asked him to. A puppy that jumped all over me and tore my favorite jeans (which would likely then spin off into my own personal soap opera about how I can’t afford any clothes and we should have never gotten the puppy, etc. etc. etc.).

What then?

I know the answer, and I’d like to think that by sitting here writing about it, that makes me more aware and less likely to react next time.

Maybe. Probably not.

But it’s a start.

So, class, contingency is the word of the day. Can you say contingency?

And I think I’m learning that it’s as important to be aware of contingency during happy, sad, fearful, and angry moments as well as every other moment there is.

Because, as Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast.”

And if contingency is front and center, I’m screwed.

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