Life is what happens when you’re trying to figure out life.
You wake up, go to a job you may or may not hate, and spend the rest of your waking hours ticking off boxes on a to-do list. Sounds great….not!
We read books and watch movies that portray an ideal image of what life should be like, what it could be like….but where is it? Where is this life? Where is the snow with the first kiss, and lazy days on a porch swing on a crisp day of autumn? Where is the time to play when you can barely find time to do all the work? Is this how it is for everyone? Is this living? Is this life?
Sure there are great moments, the smiles and quiet patches that make it all worthwhile, but they seem so few and far between, the balance is just off. So how do others manage? It’s really hard to say because the face we present to the world is the one we want it to see.
When I feel the balance tipping significantly low, when I feel as if I’m breaking apart and there’s a threat of loosing me between the cracks, I go into survival mode. I pull in, holding myself together for fear of explosion and I do whatever is necessary until I’ve found my balance again. Being a writer, one of the key things in this survival mode is to write out what I’m feeling as it helps me find a path. But that’s not for everyone, some may need to run, paint, scream, go on a trip, or find someone to talk to (I’ve done it all, and I have to say, it’s all pretty amazing in the road to recovery).
Usually, all this stuff stays in a journal or gets deleted, after all, its my therapy, my self-preservation, my thinking out loud, but then I wondered, what if there are others like me out there. Others who feel like they’re living less than a life. Others who feel lost and can’t figure out what to do next. Others that are just hanging on by a thread but don’t have the time to stitch a thicker rope. Maybe, just maybe by showing that I’m not always fine and together, then those “others” maybe wont feel so alone in how they feel either.
I don’t know how I got to this place, everything seemed like it was going smooth, I was content trudging along. I hate to think that it is this second round (or third or fifth, whatever number we’re on) of Covid that triggered it, but I think it may have been. With Covid comes this round of unknown – can we travel, will work close, what comes of my kids’ plans, how do I adjust the work load, how long will this go on……and so on and so on. Like everyone else, I’m tired of not knowing, and I’m tired of being tired, but if its not a virus, it’s something else that reminds of how fragile life is and how thin our plans really are. The spiral thoughts spin out as I begin to question not only what is happening in the world, but what is happening in my world. Am I happy at my jobs? What do I really want to do? What will make me happy? Why am I going back to school? Will there really be a job when I’m done? Suddenly it all seems pointless and the one thing I know is I want my kids to live life, find their happiness and go for it, don’t wait for tomorrow because tomorrow may never come. And so we add another late night concern that makes my brain feel even more squeezed than what it already does.
(If you have managed to follow any of this you are AMAZING)
Too many mornings I wake up feeling squeezed, stressed, unhappy, worried, manic and I can’t even get in to see my doctor to talk about it, and an open clinic only has certain hours which doesn’t mesh with my to-do list, so what should I do? I do what I always do and start figuring it out.
I can’t fix the world. I can’t control people. I can’t quit my job. I can’t be a writer or a teacher or a counselor. But I can breath. I can turn off the noise and listen to the beautiful sounds around me. I can do this crazy mess-of-a-blog (which I did say it’s like sitting around a kitchen table and having a chat with a friend, well this is exactly how some of my coffee breaks have been). I can cry and then put on a blazer and a nerdy shirt and smile like I know what I’m about. I can wait for the cracks to fill with flowers. 🌸
What are some things that I’m trying to do to restore balance?
I’m making my sanity a priority.
- I’ve been feeling a need to be outside, so every chance I get I go outside. I take a walk after work, sit on my porch swing when I only have a little time to spare, stand just a second longer beside my car before going in to work.
- I’m forcing myself to write, be it a paragraph or a rambling mess like this.
- I’m taking deep breaths and letting go of the “big” stuff and focusing on the right here right now.
- I’m saying no to extra work shifts or things that may leave me feeling stretched thin.
These little things help bring my world back into focus. However, what works for me may not work for you. You have to give it some thought, try different things, and listen to your gut.
Just like the good bits in life, the bad stuff is temporary. You just have to weather through it like a ship in the storm. Hold fast, batten down the hatches, and trust your Captain.
So, there you go, a brainstorm of a ramble. One thing I have always said is that if my experiences help someone else, then it’s worth it. So, I hope, in some crazy way, I make you feel not so alone in this great big world.