Saturday, September 1, 2018

Midlife Musings

Midlife Musings

How many midlife crises am I allowed to have?

The last 6 years have been a blur.
I was talking with a friend yesterday and
she mentioned losing four years of her life
in a cycle of grief.  "Four years!!!" she said.

In reflecting on my own, I see a cycle of three years.
The first cycle shook my foundation and
caused an identity crisis.  

Just as I was coming out and regaining my balance, 
the second cycle began, and over the course 
of about 8 months, my life completely unraveled.

Life as I knew it had changed, permanently.
I was in survival mode.  I'd heard of it and read of it,
but until then, never experienced it.

Now, three years later, I'm beginning to 
regain my footing, think with a clearer head, and
look towards a future which had been uncertain.

Now what?

I. Have. No. Clue.

So, in trying to find a starting place, 
I began to think of what I've learned.

1.  Boundaries are a requirement.
This is difficult to do.
I saw a quote that said, and I paraphrase, 
the people who have trouble with your boundaries
are the ones who benefited because you had none.
(That is worthy of a mic-drop...)

2.  No.
No is a complete sentence.
I forget that, like 500 times a day.
I do not have to justify.
I do not have to explain.

3.  Presence is underrated.
Being present.  It is now a life goal.
When you talk, am I listening?
Or am I thinking about how to respond?
What I need to be doing instead?

Presence is not only respectful to you, but to me.
Am I fully present?
If not, I'm missing life, and this is a one-shot deal.

4.  Multitasking is a lie.
We are encouraged to juggle monkeys
(see earlier post) and wear our busyness
as a banner of worth and importance.
Um, No.

Our brains are neither designed nor wired to multitask.
It adds time to each task at hand.
We rarely complete ALL of them well.
The stress it creates compounds and overwhelms.

5.  Prioritize
This is a brand new word for me.
In my survival mode, triage came naturally, instinctively.
Now, it is my job to prioritize.
Starting with me.
Being top priority will be new to me.
I deserve no less and will work to demand no less.

Introspection is difficult.  It is vulnerable.
It is painfully honest and gut-wrenchingly bare.
It is very, very necessary for growth.
And so, the journey starts...

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Practice What I Teach

As the facilitator for a writing workshop at the Ashley County Library, I should be very ashamed to notice it's been forever and a day since I posted here last.  I encourage my writers to write, write, write...every day, about whatever! I journal daily and write as part of my job, but writing just for me?  It's just not been a priority, until now.

Here, I'm going to start practicing what I teach.  I post a link to monthly prompts on the library web page (under programming) and I decided today to pick a prompt and write.  Since today is the 22nd, number 22 on the list is "A Good Thing From Today."  What a prompt...what a day!

A good thing from today?  I didn't get water in my house!  It rained most of yesterday and for land already saturated, the water had no where to go.  So, the creeks filled and filled and overflowed into our pasture, as happens on rare occasion.  This time, the water kept rising.  We've had water in our house before, in the ground-level utility room.  That time, we received over 20 inches of water in a 24-hour period, so it was unexpected and quite historical. The water, thankfully, never rose to get IN my house, missing my hardwood floors by a scant 3 inches or less, but everything else we had was covered with nearly two feet of water. Just seeing it rising today was enough to make me nauseous and teary.

We placed a post to measure the progress.  It rose.  We did a bit of work.  It rose more.  We called a friend with heavy equipment to make preparations for a levee if needed.  It kept rising.  We took a drive to the east and south to see the impact of the others creeks and bayous.  We got home a couple of hours later and it was still rising.  We ate lunch and it rose.  We made another necessary errand and arrived home to notice the water was finally decreasing.  Happy-dances all around.  Truly, it was an answered prayer.  The rest of the evening proceeded, with me marking the receding much like we marked the rising.

On a late afternoon trip to the patio to see if the troughs for our cattle were visible yet, I noticed a fluttering against the far fence.  Darting back in to grab my binoculars, I spotted two pair of wood ducks.  They must have been on a double-date, checking out all the new water.  They swam a bit, waddled around on a bit of high ground in the corner of the pasture, then back into the water and out of sight.  It was a touch of joy to an anxious day.

I love nature.  I've been on vacation this week and have enjoyed seeing all sorts of wildlife out and about.  I've watched bluebirds build their nests.  I've seen purple martins coming back for another spring and summer in our houses.  I've seen wild turkeys grazing about, accompanied by my peacock, of all things.  Seeing the ducks this afternoon just gave me a peace.  Amidst the storm, quite literally, there are still pockets of peace.

Knowing the water is receding, even beyond the beam of my flashlight as I go out to check every hour or so, and the previously forecast storms for this afternoon and tonight have blown around us, I will be able to lay my head down tonight and sleep.  I remember a night, not that long ago, I stood in my kitchen and looked down the steps as water rose against the washer and dryer and pantry shelves.  I watched my room slowly submerge as more buoyant items rose.  I remember the prayers and the helplessness and the sleeplessness.  Tonight won't be like that March night.  Tonight I will be able to lay down my head with thanks and peace and comfort and rest.  That is a good thing about today!