Archives for posts with tag: change is a thing

My coffee has gone cold. It’s been that sort of morning. Distractions. Being here, “now”, instead of driven by habit.

I woke to a misty drenching rain that I was only aware of once I stepped out onto the deck, shortly before dawn. So lovely. I love the sound of rain on leaves, and the bit of forest just beyond the deck definitely provides it. I’m still smiling. My thoughts are still full of raindrops and birdsong. I started the morning with a rainy day soak in the hot tub, which was soothing, and I’m in so much less pain because of it. The bonus, this morning, was in the conversation. My Traveling Partner opened the door on a fairly deep discussion for such an early time of morning (more or less “pre-coffee”). A rare thing. It went well, and looking back feels as productive as it felt helpful in the moment. New perspective on old issues. Gentle sharing, with consideration, and thoughtful use of language. Win. (Way to do “adulthood” well on a Thursday!)

Raindrops and blossoms on the pear tree beyond my window.

Eventually, the work day had to begin, and so it has. Same great job, same great boss… same real life “harsh reality” that change is a thing. Change just is. Few promises, few guarantees, and a lot of changes – that’s real. Too real this morning. Yesterday I got the news about a personnel change that matters to me (emotionally) a great deal. Hard to see someone I enjoy working with moving on. I mean… I’m glad they found something promising that will meet more of their needs, for sure. I will miss working with them a lot – I’ve learned a lot working with this colleague, and become a more skillful professional as a result. I also appreciate their enthusiastic interest in deep conversations, meta analysis, and unusual tangents and correlations. It’s hard seeing them go.

…I’ve “stood in this place” before, and the time that follows has sometimes been pretty unpleasant, and I’ve left jobs over the loss of… “communion”? Maybe that is the “right word”? Certainly, I’ve left jobs when things reached a point where I no longer had professional relationships I really enjoyed among my closest colleagues. This time, I’m in a healthier place as a human being (in spite of social distancing, pandemic life, and all of the baggage and bullshit I still tend to lug around). I don’t find myself catastrophizing what the future may hold. πŸ™‚ It’s just a change.

Change is.

I sip my now-cold coffee, haplessly left behind on my way to soak and converse with my Traveling Partner as the rainy dawn unfolded into a gray rainy day. It’s still a good cup of coffee. I don’t mind that it is cold. Sometimes changes are just changes, and even though they “feel like” a big deal in one moment, later, in some other, they’ll probably just be what is. πŸ™‚ It’s enough for a Thursday morning. I take a moment to contemplate change.

I begin again.

 

We really are social creatures.

Yesterday, the afternoon got dreadfully noisy, irritatingly so, when a neighbor chose to rev an ATV in his driveway, for well a couple hours, and then also drive it back and forth in front of his house, a couple houses down the street, and up just past ours, then turning it around and doing it again, constantly revving the engine aggressively. He wasn’t going anywhere, just making a fuck-ton of noise. It was grating on my nerves, and also, very obviously, on my Traveling Partner’s nerves, as well. I was maintaining as much “chill” as I could (admittedly having to resort to deep breathing exercises). My partner paced, and snarled abstractly at rude neighbors and noise, generally.

…I got more tense and aggravated, as my partner got more tense and aggravated. It became harder to manage, over time. That was as annoying as the noise. Why should my successful effort to maintain some inner calm fail because my partner is visibly aggravated? Hardly seems “fair”, but then – it isn’t about “fair”, is it? It is what it is. We are social creatures. We exist in shared context with each other. We are “each having our own experience” – but we’re doing it alongside one another, within view, sharing the journey. Our mood may be “contagious”. We spread that shit around.

…Spread the good moods, please, and the harmonious states of being; we could use more of those. lol πŸ™‚ (I bet there are verbs involved.)

We got past it. The evening was lovely.

This morning I sit with my coffee quietly. I am facing a different moment of frustration (life has plenty of those to offer). I breathe, exhale, and work on letting it go, with limited success. So human. Again, it is what it is. Wishing it away, or railing against circumstances isn’t helpful. I allowed myself to get excited about something, and that excitement became implicit expectations in my head – and in my decision-making – and now, the timing is “off”. A whim of circumstance intervenes in my anticipated joy, and I’m… annoyed. Frustrated. Irritated. Waiting.

…I breathe. Exhale. Relax. Let it go. I repeat this exercise several times. It’s harder to let go of it fully; I am anticipating my partner’s annoyance and frustration with it later, and that’s not helping. I begin again. Breathe. Exhale. Relax. Let even that go…

Things change. They change again. Change is. That, by itself, is a layer of complexity in our expectations – implicit or otherwise. I remind myself to be mindful, to maintain perspective, to embrace sufficiency. I sip my coffee, and begin again.

So, real life being what it is, with winter storms, and unpredictable changes in travel plans, and all of that sort of thing… my Traveling Partner did not make it home last night. :-\ Am I disappointed? I sure am. That’ll pass quickly, not because I am callous or insensitive, or don’t love deeply enough, it is, instead, because I have learned, mostly, not to become attached to an outcome that isn’t certain. Generally. Most of the time. I still expect him home “soon” – most likely today, sometime while I am at work. πŸ™‚ It mattered more to know he was safe, somewhere, than to fixate on his planned arrival time.

This perspective is so much easier than getting all hung up on the details that can vary so much.

I imagine it would be tougher to be so chill about it, if I were the one stuck in some random city, waiting for another flight… I find myself wishing my Traveling Partner safe – and merry – travels, and hoping it isn’t unbearably tedious, frustrating, or unpleasant. Travel can be a lot of fun, but it is predictably less so, when all one wants is to go home.

Very little in life is predictable, really. Our results vary. We walk our own hard mile. We are each having our own experience. Our lives are built on what we make of all the chaos and uncertainty. It is our choices to act, to react, to refrain from action, that define us to the world…

I sip my coffee, contented, and grateful. My Traveling Partner is on his way home. I’ll see him when I see him. In the meantime, I’ll do what I do, and let the waiting be part of the background, instead of having it dominate my thoughts. (There really isn’t much I can do to speed things up, so why get spun over the details?) Instead, I let my thinking move on to other things… and rather consistent with the travel theme, I find myself wondering if my efforts here at home are “good enough”. The surge in anxiety reminds me I have baggage to unpack, myself, without even leaving home. lol I breathe, exhale, relax, and remind myself that the anxiety over “good enough” is a leftover from long ago, in a very different relationship, and it’s okay to let that go. Boom! A bag hits the floor – this one, though, is one I’ll let go of, over and over again, for the rest of my life (most likely). It’s heavy, and sturdily made, and this bit of baggage just keeps following me (so far). Still, recognizing it right away, and letting it go, again, is healthy progress. I’m content with that. Enough forward progress and we inevitably end up somewhere else. πŸ˜‰

I had a moment of great delight yesterday, related to Veterans Day. My team at work asked for a moment of my time, and I said “sure” and then followed up some short time later, pointing out “This may not be a good time, I’m sort of cross at the moment, but I’ve got a few minutes, what’s on your mind?” My team grinned at me, and one of them said “It’s the best time!”, and another of them handed me a small gold bag, and an envelope.

“We’d hoped to get it to you Friday, but you weren’t in the office, and then Monday was the holiday…”

I opened the card – a Veterans Day card. What the hell? I’m still surprised. lol It was very… moving. Inside the bag? Very fancy chocolates from a local high end chocolatier (I rarely shop there, way out of my price range). “We wanted to do more than just say thanks…” they said, almost in unison. We all laughed together, and I’m still so… moved, by their appreciation. More palpable than a random thank you, it isn’t about the chocolate, as much as the sentiment (I probably won’t have more than 1 of those elegant chocolates; everything about them is a “restricted” food on my diet, and not ideal for my health lol). It was – and is – a heart-warming visceral expression of appreciation. Special.

How would the world improve if we could make every “thank you” we offer everyone truly visceral and “real” to them? How about if every time we apologize for hurting someone, they could really feel our regret, and that they matter to us? If we could successfully communicate that we are committed to making amends? If when we did our best to do so, it was something the injured person could really feel? How much more valuable would “thank you” and “I’m sorry” be then? (Actually, about as important as now – so maybe we should be putting more effort into it, already? πŸ˜‰ )

Thoughts over coffee on a Wednesday. Today, I’ll work on more effective, meaningful, expressions of appreciation or regret. Effective and meaningful to the recipient, I mean. I guess that implies also being more effective and meaningful to me… “heartfelt made real”, somehow. It seems like a useful starting point with which to begin again. πŸ™‚

Sipping coffee, planning for camping, and feeling contented; it’s a pleasant start to the morning. πŸ™‚ I’m excited about my camping trip – and it’s almost here! Next week. Whether I write or not, I’ve no idea, I do know there’s no cell signal available through much of that large beautiful hike-able acreage. Just… none. If my recollection is correct, there’s a hint of a bit of a signal now and then, but only at this one particular spot, and it’s a trek of a couple miles (uphill) to reach it, and it’s not reliable…so… I most likely won’t be posting during that time, regardless whether or not I do write. πŸ™‚

Honestly… lots of past posts to explore, and it’s not as if I’m truly writing wholly original content, is it, since I generally write the same things, most days… drinking coffee… breathing… good self-care… choices, verbs, practicing practices, and beginning again… right? πŸ˜‰ Don’t let yourself down on my account; I’ll be right back. πŸ˜€

There are paths yet to be explored – where will yours take you?

I’m eager for the break in routine, and for the days and nights among the trees. I’m eager to hear bird song, and not traffic, and the loud peeps and chirps and calls of chipmunks and squirrels, instead of the conversation of commuters and random human beings out in the world. I’m eager to read the weather, the actual weather, instead of the news. πŸ™‚

I remind myself not to forget coffee!

I have a list of gear I need to either double-check that I do still have it, or pick it up before I go. I keep adding things to it, and crossing things off. I enjoy camping much more when I am prepared…and I also enjoy traveling light, and without excessive weight or baggage dragging me down. I’ve got a list that makes sense. It’s an observation that doesn’t last long when the next question hits me…

…What if it rains?

I laugh so hard I snort coffee, which is less than pleasant, but now I’m giggling; I literally haven’t made any specific effort to plan for any sort of significant rain. It’s August. Why would it rain? Only… it may, and it could, and it’s been known to happen, and… it’s in the forecast. lol So…?

Like a lot of life’s circumstances, preparedness makes an easier journey, for sure. Also like life, and circumstances, it’s not particularly easy to be prepared for all of everything that could be part of my experience than I might want to… while also traveling light, and keeping baggage to a minimum. The more I am inclined to carry, the more verbs (and effort) will be involved in the journey, itself, and the more there will be to manage, deal with, juggle, find space for, when I arrive at my destination. There are choices to be made. Some circumstances are best accepted, than prepared for in advance in any notable way. (I’m not actually saying rainfall is one of those, I mean… it’s possible to shove rain gear into my backpack without adding a ton of weight to my gear!)

Don’t let a little rain stop you. πŸ™‚

Anyway. Rain is a thing that happens, even in August. I’m giggling because I enjoy the rain… but… I also dislike being soaked to the skin, catching a chill, and miserable because all my gear is soaked. lol There are definitely choices to make, and planning is a useful tool for making them. I give some thought to the rain, and my list, and make some adjustments to also account for chilly nights, and dewy cold mornings. Will I be warm enough? Cool enough? Dry enough? Will I have coffee for the mornings? Will I want paper books, or digital books? Don’t forget to bring a towel! What about tea? Broth? It’s nice to have something hot to sip on that isn’t loaded with caffeine – or sugar. What about sleep…? Do I want my cot, or an inflatable something or other? (I already know I don’t much feel like sleeping directly on the ground, on a thin sleeping mat; I’ll be out there for 4 nights.)

Everything I take on this journey, I’ll have to carry, myself.Β That’s a hell of a metaphor, right there.

I look at the time. Yeah. Already. I smile, and finish my coffee, and put aside my list. Same path, different day. I smile, and grab my keys, and my backpack, and get ready to begin again. πŸ˜€

Change takes time. I mean, obviously when change is forced on us, some parts of change and changing, and certainly the requirement to do so, can hit us with real force in a very immediate way, no doubt about that. What I am pointing out is more that the skillful adaptation to change takes time. I roll with my changes as skillfully as I am able to, in the moment, but it does definitely take me some time to “get used to the new normal”. The experience of “change taking longer to get used to” is something I recognize as part of my TBI and the day-to-day realities of dealing with it, but it is also an experience most people likely have to one degree or another.

When I moved from the smaller apartment (#27) to the larger one right on the edge of the park (#59), the very specifically mirror-imaged kitchen messed with my head for months; I just kept clawing at the wrong side of the doorway for that damned light switch. It was the better part of a year before my brain finished making that change. Even with practice, some things change really slowly.

There’s a different car in my driveway this morning than there was 10 days ago. I was only getting started on getting used to commuting on transit, again. This morning, it’s back to commuting by car, but the car is different. This is no small thing, but it’s also no big deal. It’s both noteworthy and inconsequential. It likely will be somewhat different; the car handles quite differently. Sounds different. Feels different. Surrounds me differently. There are different features to learn. Different placement of some things, compared to the car I’ve been driving. Some things feel more natural than in the sedan. Other things feel quite strangely placed, as though the manufacturer “doesn’t know me at all”. (It’s mostly more comfortable and familiar-seeming than less, though, which is nice.) The new car is a first for me with this manufacturer, actually. A Mazda. Funny how much difference small changes make. They add up, too. It means driving very mindfully is a thing I need to make a point of for some time to come. I can’t really rely too heavily on implicit memory right now; I have none that applies to this vehicle. lol

One very telling thing? I regularly catch myself humming an old Queen song, “I’m In Love With My Car“,Β  when I am thinking about this car. lol It’s been awhile since I had a car that I felt that way about, myself. πŸ™‚ I’m almost excited to drive to work today. For me, with the injury I have, that also means being very mindful and present is a huge thing, especially the first few weeks driving this car; it’s my one way to keep excitement from resulting in inattention or poor judgement, which can be a common enough result of being overly eager or excited about something, for me.Β  I’m definitely excited to be driving it. So… a good choice of vehicle? πŸ™‚ I mean… it’s not a powerful luxury sedan (they tend to be a bit outside my comfort zone, and always feel sort of… huge), nor is it a fantastical beautiful sports car sort of machine (which, I’ll admit, I adore on this whole other level, but the driving of which bring out personality traits I don’t find are my best)…but, it’s every bit of the machine I find myself wanting most, day-to-day: nimble, quick, and capable of going where I want to go. I smile when I see it there in the driveway.

Some of the fun in life is about change. Every change is a new beginning. A “do over”. An opportunity to become more the person I most want to be. πŸ™‚ I’m so glad I’m getting over this head cold, too; it’s already time to begin again. πŸ™‚