In an alternate reality I shuffle in from the bus stop, my oldest two safely whisked away to Oakdale elementary. The blustery winter morning along with my steaming cup of coffee make me feel almost human, almost awake in these early hours. My youngest daughter is snuggled in bed with my husband still. They should be up any minute now. I tip-toe over to the couch, reheated coffee in hand, looking over my doomed to-do list for the day and feeling…. tired. Who am I anymore? Anxious. Am I doing this right? Confined. What am I missing?
Present reality finds me shifting in my seat in front of the computer, my hips hurt. A patient at my window waits for his final orders before leaving the Dr.’s office. He also shifts uncomfortably, standing while I finish with the patient on the other end of the phone. I hang up and schedule his echocardiogram, hand him a lab slip and inform him that the Dr. will call when results are in. My phone rings three times while I’m filling his orders and they go to voicemail. I now have two additional patients waiting on the bench. Lunch can’t come soon enough and when it does I sit in my chilly car while the engine warms before zipping off to my studio apartment for a meal alone. Just breathing. Tired. Who am I anymore? Anxious. Am I doing life right? Ungrounded. Do I even know where I’m going?
I realize that life has much less to do with circumstances and much more to do with perception. I am confident that I would be just as malcontent and fretful were my life a picture of modern day success (according to my imagination) or disheveled millennial squalor that it is. I’m quite sure that I could be as happy in each setting as well, given the proper bitch-slap to the face.
I’m sick at home today, sipping coffee. Not in the office, cursing the incessant telephone line. My body decided that I was tired, stressed and anxious and needed a time out. Well fine, I will sit in my corner and think about what I’ve done. Bitch-slap acknowledged.
Thoughts while adjusting my attitude:
I have lots of energy, but if I were a conveyor and my energy water, I would be a soaker hose. Enthusiasm and curiosity seep through numerous holes; the ground around me pleasantly green, with a stopper at the end to maintain my line of oversight. I am a soaker with aspirations of becoming a pressure washer.
I would like to channel all of my energy toward one grandiose goal and not lose a drop along the way. Some goals are big enough to require this kind of leak-proof focus. This would require addressing each breach in the line with a generous amount of gorilla tape (or use of the word ‘NO’ in my case.) That’s a whole lot of no’s. Maybe an internal liquid sealant would be more efficient. Just say NO to everything. One NO fits all.
I previously wrote about being made of magnets, drawn off in all directions. I see a pattern here and wonder about it. What if I took a hiatus from everything? People, daily routine, commitments. Would anything worthwhile come shooting out the end of my makeshift high-pressured hose? Building up to this hiatus of ‘NO’ requires a hiatus of its own. I need to stop spending money and save. I need to stop spending time with friends and family and work more to save money to prepare for my hiatus.
My body doesn’t think this is a great idea. It seeks homeostasis above all. It would like me to eat balanced meals, exercise daily, laugh and hug daily and enjoy productive manageable work. My body wants to be a soaker hose.
Like this hot cup of coffee on a cold dreary day, I step out into the elements in order to appreciate its warmth. I am rich in relationships and I wish I had the wisdom to accept this as enough, but I want first-hand proof.
I want to venture into the unknown extremes before settling into balance. I fear my loved ones take the brunt of this need for frequent reminding. I may return one day to locked doors, left with only memories of the warmth within.
I might stave off this bitter end if I am honest with myself and everyone else.
I read a book about a woman who decided to have a ‘Year of Yes’ where she accepted all kinds of opportunities she would typically turn down. A friend of mine just had a ‘Year of being Happy’.
What kind of year shall I declare? A ‘Year of NO!’ That sounds bitchy and exhausted! How about a ‘Year of Focus’ or a ‘Year of only saying Yes to things you will actually do’.
What kind of year do you need to declare?