I need a moment

I need to take a moment to be sad. To just sit with this deep, gut wrenching sense of sorrow and loss that’s been pulling at the edge of my existence for a while now, a little blurry but definitively present. This week, though, it’s brought it into focus. Sharp, clear, unignorable focus. This week, with confirmation of the end of the school year for all the kids; this week with the news that my education and progress will be significantly delayed; this week is ominous and dark in contrast to the sudden spring we’re experiencing outside.

It brings me back to a time when my kids were babies and young toddlers; some days were rough. There was layer upon layer of defeat and frustration piled on throughout the day but there I’d be, keeping it together, until someone threw a toy and it accidentally hit my face, maybe caught the corner of my eye, and it really hurt. Just for a second, but the pain was intense and it brought to a head all the feelings I’d been pushing down and keeping under control all day. And suddenly I’d be sobbing because it’s not just that few minutes of physical pain that you’re feeling but the summation of all that you’ve been carrying up to that moment. 

I know that we’re very likely going to be okay, that in the grand scheme of things we’ll get through this, probably changed but still intact. I know that I’ve made it through much, much worse and that the way through is one day at a time. I know that I, and my family, are fortunate to have the safety and stability to bunker down and that thus far we are fortunate that the only losses we are mourning are losses of what we perceived our short term futures would be. Because many aren’t so fortunate. I know that, and that’s all good and fine. But, today, I still need this moment to sit with my sorrow because it is real and it is valid; the only way past this is through it. 

Sitting quietly in the moment

I tend to live life in a flurry of activity. I enjoy a certain level of busyness (or as some might call it chaos). I’m a bit of a challenge junkie, always pushing myself to see what I can accomplish next.

Imagine one of those old school cartoon characters juggling plates or carrying boxes, stuff gets stacked on, higher and higher until whatever they’re carrying is teetering dangerously (and somewhat humorously) close to toppling over. And every now and then it does all come crashing down around the ridiculous protagonist. That’s a pretty accurate metaphor (simile?) for me trying to manage my life. But I like it; I thrive in chaos and a certain level of craziness.

The sweet spot is that point where everything wobbles just enough to make you question if (or when) everything you’re piling on is going to fall. That visceral feeling in your gut, hovering between fear and excitement. The adrenaline that courses, turning into a pleasant, heady rush when your personal tower of nonsense stays erect. That’s it. Because when everything is about to come crashing down into a natural disaster level mess and you’re on the brink of being declared a national emergency but then, then at the very last moment, it doesn’t and you’ve somehow pulled it off (maybe with a few more grey hairs and slightly elevated blood pressure to show for it), you feel like you’ve accomplished something. You’ve succeeded. And, damn is it impressive!

The “I don’t know how you do it all”s and comments of the sort, made with a certain amount of awe but in a baffled tone that says “why would you even try?”, they’re gratifying. Sure a normal person would not take on so much at once but who wants to be normal. Downtime is overrated anyhow right?… Right?!?!

That’s the zone I thrive in. But right now my life is not there. Instead I’m in a place of seemingly static waiting. Everything is going to change, there is going to be a major shift towards chaos, but not for months. And in the meantime…. What?

Just daily life and waiting.

I’m trying to use these next few months before dental school starts to relax and enjoy life. Play games and go to the library regularly with my kids. Do all the fun runs. Start and finish projects. Take small vacations. And that’s all well and good, but in the day-to-day it’s slow. For me that’s frustrating. My instinct is to push forward, to be focused on the next hill. To go go go. Not to come home from the morning rush of getting the kids to school and look around and think “Now what?” So far I haven’t been handling the apparently empty days very well. (To be sure, there’s always things I should be doing but they’re the boring, mundane chores of daily living that I’d much rather avoid.) I’ve been restless, antsy and on edge. My temper is a little too quick and irritations often lurks just below the surface.

It’s a struggle to sit quietly and be content in the moment. But that’s what life is showing me needs to be done right now. It’s a time to embrace the stillness, take a few deep breaths and enjoy where I am instead of trying to jump to the next phase. I’m sure in six months, when I’m balls deep in the first semester of dental school and trying to manage four kids in school and fall extra curriculars, I’ll miss this phase.

5 Tips for Maximizing Enjoyment of Your Fast Food Breakfast Sandwich

1. Pick A Favorite.
Try a few and weigh their merits. Think about what you’d like from a breakfast sandwich, what qualities would meet your needs. Set some standards and decide what you really, truly like.
Not what you think you should like, not what the person next to you likes, what you personally actually enjoy.And go with that one.
Yup, you really do need to pick just one.

2.Wait at least two weeks to have it again.
One word: Anticipation.
The more you want it, think about it, and yet deny yourself, the better it will be when you finally do get it.
Now that you have a specific breakfast sandwich that you have committed to (at least for a little while. You are allowed to change your mind now and again.),be sure not to overindulge. I know it’s tempting to make this new favorite a regular thing but really that will severely diminish the pleasure of it.

3.Breath deeply.
When that fast food worker hands you the bag through the window or over that counter (yes, get a bag even if you walked inside.) Take a moment, open the bag, stick your face in it just a little and inhale the beautiful scent of that which you’ve been desiring.
Mmmm, anticipation.

4. Savor the moment.
You know how people talk about mindfulness and learning how to live in the moment?
Yeah, do that. Take it in slowly and really savor it.
Just be with your senses in the now, enhance your experience with attentiveness to this present moment.

5. Sigh with contentment.
After finishing literally sigh and say (out loud if possible) “That was good.”

breakfast sandwich

(Photo credit)