Archives for posts with tag: adulting is hard

It’s been harder than usual to find (make) time to write… or… maybe I’ve been uninspired? There’s truth to the idea that we only grow in uncomfortable circumstances. My circumstances lately have been more than adequately comfortable. My day-to-day quality of life is generally very good, aside from the tedious constant that is dealing with physical pain. (Bah! How banal.) So, yielding the time I might have spent writing, to have a coffee with my Traveling Partner in the morning seems very much worth it. I enjoy those moments. Our short mortal lives are best truly lived, are they not? I don’t know how many hours, days, months, or years we may yet have together.

…Hopefully, you “get it”, and don’t feel that I’ve let you down somehow, with my lack of presence, here. 🙂

I’ve been spending happy hours watching a new school of fish settling into the aquarium. Shrimp, too. A newer, brighter, light shines down on the plants – some healthier than others, and in the bright light, new concerns are illuminated.

Watching fish swim.

…”In the bright light, new concerns are illuminated.” I repeat it silently, several times. Not as some kind of mantra. More that there is a sensation of renewed engagement with an idea that was once an epiphany. I sit with it awhile. I hear, in my head, my therapist’s voice calmly intoning familiar words, “let’s stay with that…”, before asking some question I’d not previously thought to ask, myself, putting me on another path of discovery, or opening my eyes to another perspective.

Some moments are… complicated. Days of pleasant hours in the company of this other human being I enjoy so much have passed gently. Today? We’re both a bit under the weather, feeling a bit off, dealing with head colds, and tempers flare to easily. I feel fragile and raw. Still seething a bit, and feeling entirely misunderstood, and resentful of the lack of patience. Doesn’t matter that I’m here, in the stillness of my studio, safe, and alone, and easily able to step back and reconsider the moment from another perspective. My heart is in that other room, held captive by affection being squeezed between my anger at him, and my anger at me. None of it is really about whatever I’m mad about it; it’s simply a reaction. Emotional weather. Like the weird March snow storm that blew in out of nowhere, today, on a day “too warm to snow”. It’ll pass. It will be no more relevant or significant than any other one moment torn from a lifetime and examined too closely, by the end of the weekend.

I breathe. Exhale. Relax – rather unsuccessfully. I shake my head for a brief instant, rather rapidly, as if to shake off my aggravation. My sigh is too loud. I hear him, softly, gently, through the closed door, from another room, “I love you.” It does seem that way… my reply seems too obvious, really, “I love you, too.”

Sometimes love is complicated. Not “complicated” as if to say “tragic” or “doomed” or anything of that sort. More… complicated in the way that an elegant watch has “complications”. Some of what makes life and love so rich, and so worthy of being “in the moment” – even an uncomfortable one – are these odd details, these “complications”, that are “features” in one moment, and… possibly… sort of a pain in the ass, in other moments. (I mean, for real? I could seriously do without having a brain injury that undermines my ability to manage strong emotion, and layering on top of that the added “bonus” of being sick, and further challenged with easily roused strong emotions… It’s just too much.) Buuuuut… I do love that human being sitting in the other room, and the joy we share is by far the majority of the time we spend together. That’s saying a lot. I could not truthfully say there’s never a cross word between us, or that my TBI “isn’t a big deal” for me, or him, or both of us. It is what it is. I see us both doing our best, and both being pretty human in our effort. There are, though, some moments I could frankly do without, now and then. Hell, I get pretty fed up with me, sometimes. I’m not surprised he does, too, once in awhile. lol Too often, my aggravation with myself is perceived as directed at him, or mis-perceived as an emotional attack. I understand how it could be. It’s not what I intend. I suppose I will get a lot of practice, sorting that out, over a lifetime.

I breathe. Exhale. Relax. I find myself annoyed that my aquarium isn’t in here – where I could see it right now… only… what is more true is that I don’t want to be here, as much as I want to be there – with him. Relaxing together.

Fuck I wish we weren’t sick. Adulting is already hard enough!

I breathe. Exhale. Relax. I think about my plans for tomorrow… more time with the aquarium. Pruning plants. Moving rocks. Cleaning glass. Replanting plants in new places. Looking at the aquarium, under a bright light, from a new perspective.

Yes, of course; it’s a metaphor. It’s time to begin again.

I woke up with some effort. It’s going to feel like I’m getting up an hour early (because I am) for some time to come. With some irritation, I notice I have online paperwork to do for a new physical therapist, and sit down with my coffee to handle it before I leave for work. I start the morning already annoyed.

I sip my coffee, finish up the medical history questions, and find myself thinking back to yesterday’s fairly crushing disappointments. I breathe through the recollection, reminding myself I’ve already taken this journey, found a satisfying end to that, and moved on. Commonplace setbacks on the adult portion of life’s journey. My Traveling Partner was having his own version of that experience, yesterday as well. It was pretty cool we could be there for each other, however remotely, through the wonders of modern technology. I take time to appreciate that; I was never really “in it alone”, yesterday. He was there for me. I was there for him. Maybe it was worth the momentary setbacks and disappointments to have that experience? Utterly commonplace resolvable challenges, too – for him, the challenges of starting a business, for me, the challenges of finding a house to call home. Adulthood comes with a lot of things… challenges are among them. 🙂

Am I making things sound easy? “Easy” doesn’t accurately describe the experience of juggling the disappointment of seeing a house I foolishly (and quickly) got a bit over-invested in, emotionally, go pending before I could actually see it (totally foolish, totally too quickly, entirely over-invested emotionally). It was a hard moment. It was just a moment. It stung with frustration and internalized fear that I would never… something. Learned helplessness didn’t quite takeover, though it threatened to. I worked for some moments with tears in my eyes. I got past it.

It was harder to be supportive, encouraging, and soothing when my partner had his own moment – not because I don’t feel the feelings, but because it is frustrating to be apart when he needs me, and also… this injury. My TBI results in me being pretty vulnerable to reactivity, and I earnestly, urgently, wanted to help in some more substantial way! It was hard to stay focused on work, and remain in the moment, at my desk, doing what I am paid to do, when all I wanted was to go to my Traveling Partner, and be by his side in his moment of hurt and frustration and doubt. I am learning not to “multi-task”; it’s a lie that only results in a lack of focus, and lack of committed attention. Instead, I take a measured amount of time, and fully give it over to listening to my partner, between tasks, between meetings. When I work, I am fully attentive to the work – the single task – with which I am engaged. This works for me. My Traveling Partner experienced being supported. My work stayed on track. I didn’t feel distracted, consciousness fractured, or frustrated by mistakes. A win all around.

Yesterday, gray, rainy, still a good point to begin again.

When I look at yesterday after-the-fact, and consider how things really went, as an entire day, it was actually an excellent day – of work, of life, of living, of loving… nothing to see here. No bitching required. How odd that if I were to attempt to categorize or define the day, I’d say it was pretty crappy… because… well, it wasn’t, actually. I endured a couple of difficult moments, a measure of which was in no way directly my own experience, at all. Yesterday? Well, okay, I didn’t walk across the threshold of my future home… but how often does a person have that experience on a given day? Generally speaking, yesterday was a good day. I take a moment to redefine it in my thoughts quite deliberately, amused by the strange feeling of discomfort involved in doing so. (Some part of me really wants to hang on to that sense of misery and sorrow.) Yesterday, in nearly all other respects, was a good day; one moment of disappointment or doubt ought not be permitted to define an entire day.

So, here’s another day in front of me, filled with promise and mystery. I see a new physical therapist. I’ll review an updated list of houses seeking homeowners. I’ll continue to enjoy the love and enduring affection of my Traveling Partner. Later in the day, I’ll find the spelling errors in this blog post that I missed this morning (even using spellcheck), and maybe even remember to fix them. I’ll get a bunch more work done than even seems possible, and have maybe go to lunch with a friend. I’ll listen. I’ll talk. I’ll connect. There’s no knowing where the day will take me. Will a mysterious stranger approach me with keys to a cute turn of the century bungalow that needs some fixing up and say “please, take this house, I only want someone to love it as I have…”? (I know, I know, it’s not even at all likely, but… it’s a big crazy universe, and strange things have been known to happen – shouldn’t our daydreams allow for the possibilities that life itself is unlikely to afford us?)

I find myself smiling. It’s time to begin again. 🙂