It’s been a long time since we’ve been in the same space, you and I. There’s a lot I’ve wanted to say but it was all disjointed and random, I didn’t think it would make for a readable journal entry. Have you ever waited so long that waiting itself became a burden, like a heavy sack on your back, packed to the brim with procrastination? I feared that what I wanted to write about just wasn’t polished enough or in some cases, was just too dark to display in a public place. My chest feels like it’s being squeezed in a bear hug, but not the good kind. More like a hug from someone who creeps you out. The kind you want to get away from but smile politely anyway like nothing is wrong.
Some might say that’s a good sign. If it’s hard to publish, it’s working. But it’s hard to think and write when you can barely breathe. I’ve got notes scattered all over from Options for Retirement to Midnight Ramblings Sketched Through a Lens of Tears. From the things I can recall in this moment, here are just a few I’ve discovered the hard way:
I’m not okay with not having anything to do
Following the rules is a waste of time
and A lack of sleep is the foundation of this mess
Now, in regards to keeping busy, the whole operation presents a problem. I noticed that if there is even the smallest pause in my activity, my mind quickly shifts to something else. It’s so rapid and so subtle it took me thirty-six years to notice it. Okay, let’s not count the first few years. Thirty-four then. It appears I need to train myself to be okay doing nothing, to understand, at a very deep level, that doing nothing is okay. Just being is okay, I don’t have to prove anything. This is profoundly related to another insight I had a few weeks ago thanks to Martha Beck who wrote a lovely little article in O magazine. It’s very hard to italicize the letter “O” and make it look like a proper title. Hmmm.
I’m only trying to distract you from the embarrassing fact that I do read Oprah’s magazine. Not because I like Oprah but because some of the articles are actually really good and because I haven’t found a magazine that’s designed for women who are not like other women but aren’t feminists (or men). It’s complicated.
The nice thing about O magazine is you get insights from the kind of people she might have on her show without having to endure her interrupting them every 3.7 seconds to make a reference to herself.
Anyway, my dear friend Martha smacked me (gently) out of a sleep-deprived stupor one afternoon by suggesting everything I’ve ever done and want to do is all about ego candy.
What? Me? No, no, no. I operate merely out of survival Martha, surely you can’t be talking to me… Are you? Let’s read the list and answer true or false to the following points:
- If I have a goal I want to do all the stuff leading up to the event, whether or not I reach my objective. For example, if I want to run a marathon (which I don’t, thank goodness) would I enjoy the training as much as crossing the finish-line?
- Do I want to have this experience even if no one else would find out about it?
- I don’t feel inferior, jealous or competitive toward people who have done this and no superiority to people who haven’t.
- I would enjoy this and would do it anyway, even it other people thought it was nuts.
After reading this you might feel, as I did, that there is no way any mortal could honestly answer yes to all of these points, for anything. Your job, your hobbies, who you’re married to, what you wear, and so on? If I get out my microscope and examine your story very closely I think I’d find some ego in there, surely. Not that this is a bad thing, our egos help keep up alive, no one is completely devoid of that thing called self-interest. However, it also means that my List of Things to Do Before I Die (alternately titled, List of Things to Do Before the Age of 40) is now completely empty. There is nothing I want to achieve that met the criteria above.
Which is why I (eventually) wrote this. If I wanted to do it no matter what other people thought, why am I not writing this right now? Who cares if the spelling is bad, the syntax is lousy and there isn’t a carefully crafted headline with a stunning image to wrap the whole thing up like a Christmas present from Martha Stewart (the other Martha)? I was probably the only one who cared. I mean, I have a reputation to uphold. Yeah, yeah, stop laughing.
I also just noticed that I’ve run out of writing juice and it’s time to pick up my son from his last day of daycare. He’ll be in my care, poor thing, for the month of December and we haven’t found a new daycare yet for January. You don’t even want to hear how frustrating the hunt for a daycare space is, it’s probably also very boring.
I guess we’ll have to cover the next two points in a future entry. Aren’t you just on the edge of your seat? I’m sure you can’t wait to hear all about my adventures with insomnia. Now that was a teaser if there every was one.