Archives for posts with tag: finding my way

It’s a mild Saturday morning. Not yet sunny. Also not raining. Just a morning. My coffee is hot, sitting mostly untouched in front of me. My Traveling Partner and I are “enjoying” our individual, somewhat overlapping, personal experiences of seasonal allergies. His, a lifetime struggle. Mine? Returning with a vengeance here in this new place, after decades mostly without allergies at all. I’ve minimized my allergies for years; they simply aren’t “anything” in comparison to what my Mom endured, or what my Traveling Partner goes through for so much of the calendar year that even suggesting those are “seasonal” could seem like a mockery. “I don’t have allergies” still seems mostly true for me… but this morning, my stuffy head and sneezes tell a story of Spring, and pollen (it’s the tree pollen that seems to be the issue; I can smell flowers all damned day without concern).

…And of course, my preferred walks each day? Forests. Trees. Shaded paths. Hilarious. 0_o (That’s a rare use of sarcasm; I’m not finding it all amusing really.)

It is a mild Saturday morning, suitable for gardening (I have a list of things to do), and relaxing. I’m eager to do a bit of gardening in this new place – gardening that won’t suddenly face the upheaval of moving away, gardening that can be planned for a future that exists. Maybe. I mean… the future is an uncertain thing, but at least here I can plan for some sort of permanence, as much as one ever can. No, I’m not feeling down or fatalistic, just disinclined to deceive myself with fanciful tales of “happily ever after” or “always”. Those are not helpful concepts, generally speaking. πŸ™‚

“Baby Love”, an early bloomer, will go into the ground this weekend. πŸ™‚

This cup of coffee is good. Not good enough to ease me past the morning frustration of dealing with allergies, perhaps, or to fix any of society’s ills, but it’s a nice moment on a pleasant morning, and that’s enough right now. I think of far away friends I’d like to take time to connect with, emails I’d like to write. Maybe pick up the damned phone now and then? (Does anyone actually answer the phone when it rings, any more? I rarely do… is that a “me thing”, or an “everyone thing”? Has the etiquette of a phone call changed since… before?)

At some point, after our anniversary was past, my Traveling Partner ever-so-gently brought up how much benefit I seem to get out of a weekend away, solo, and wondered aloud if I were, perhaps, due for one…? He admitted to having the thought on our anniversary, and shared that it seemed less than ideal to bring it up on that occasion. I appreciate his consideration… I’d had that thought, too, and felt like a complete jerk for it, considering the occasion. LOL He’s quite right, though; I’m definitely “feeling it”.

…And he definitely feels me feeling it…

I’m not sure why I’m feeling it so hard right now… the new job is intense (in good ways) and quite busy. I do spend nearly 100% of my waking time in the presence of at least one other human being, or on a call, or in a meeting (and yes, Zoom meetings are still every bit as “people-y” as in person, for me)… it gets fatiguing after a while. I enjoy solitude. I want to simply exist, free of social constraints or pressures to perform, conform, achieve, or relieve. I want to breathe my own breath. Think my own thoughts. Exist entirely in the context of my own experience. Make choices with little regard for other tastes, other needs, other timing. It’s complicated when people partner up who have very different needs in this area. I’m fairly certain that while I feel like I “never have a minute for my own thoughts”, my partner may feel that we “never get to spend any time together” – and both those experiences are legitimate perspectives on our individual experience as human primates. I’m fortunate to be in a partnership in which we recognize our differences and value them – and help each other find our best path forward.

Anyway. I’ve been vaccinated. I feel relatively comfortable making the short journey to the coast and taking a day for myself. Masked & distancing, yeah, that’s still a thing for sure. I’m okay with that, too. I got lucky on getting a pleasant ocean view room a few steps from the beach (131 actual stair steps, if reviews are to be believed) – next weekend. The weather is nice for painting. I’ll take my water colors and my camera along with me. My laptop. I’ll walk miles along the beach. Take some pictures. Meditate. Think. Write. Paint.

…I will miss my Traveling Partner so so much…

We benefit from a bit of time to miss each other. I sip my coffee and wonder what he’ll get up to while I’m away… besides missing me, I mean. πŸ™‚ I already look forward to sharing pictures and conversing about time we did not spend together.

…I’m already looking forward to beginning again. πŸ™‚

Snow is falling. I don’t mind that; it’s pretty, and I’m comfortable at home. What I do mind are these tears. Oh, and the headache. The tinnitus. The crossness and fatigue that come of sleeping poorly. I mind all those things. “I’m doing my best.” It’s not “enough”.

I’ve lost my sense of enthusiasm even for something as innocent and delightful as a snowy winter afternoon.

I’ve lost my balance, and my way, and I’m as a hapless motorist in a blinding snow storm – drifting, then… stuck.

I’ve lost my perspective.

I’ve lost my sense of humor about all the maddening bullshit that has to do with caring for this meat suit until it finally rots around me.

…I’m just tired…

My Traveling Partner is annoyed with me. I’m not communicating well. I’m terse without realizing it. Apparently. I’m making a completely fucked up mess of the day in all but one respect; work. I’ve got this work in front of me. For now it keeps me anchored and aware that in some future moment maybe things won’t feel so utterly completely shit… I mean… “this too shall pass”… ? Right? I just need to stay focused on this spreadsheet for another couple hours…

…It’s surprisingly difficult to hold on to non-attachment when I need it most…

I’m angry with myself and disappointed. I don’t tell myself I’ve set the bar too high; I’ll myself that I’m fraud and a failure and a clown because I am not right now 100% of every inch of the woman I most want to be… in spite of this headache, and this fatigue, and this absolutely entirely fallible mortal and very human experience. It’s a moment. It’s not a great moment. It’s not a delightful moment. It’s not a moment I’m going to want to carry with me for a life time of recollection… but it’s part of my experience of being this particular human being. It has to be enough – and it has to be just another moment, one more step, one mile on a much longer journey. If I let it swamp me and become “everything”… yeah, then I definitely lose my way. 😦 Been there, too.

I take a breath. I let the tears fall. I watch the snow flakes coming down. I let the minutes pass without requiring anything more of them – or me.

The snow continues to fall. It’s beautiful. It’s cold out there. I stare past my monitor to the window and into the sky. That sky isn’t so blue right now. Weather versus climate. The pain in my neck is distracting in an unpleasant way…but it reminds me to turn my attention back to the work in front of me. Whatever. It’s something.

…Sometimes “something” has to be enough to hold onto. That’s okay. There will be a chance to begin again.

I started the morning with meditation. Coffee came later. πŸ™‚ Nice morning for it. Not much to say about it. Pleasant morning.

It’s a work day, in the time of the pandemic. I am grateful to be employed. I’m grateful to be housed. I’m grateful that so much is going to so well in my life right now. I sip my coffee and sit quietly with thoughts of what is going well, what feels good, what is working out smoothly. Thoughts of sufficiency, thoughts of contentment.

…The point is not that my life is perfect, the point is to spend more time “dwelling on” what is going well, rather than investing that time in ruminations of what “sucks”, what “isn’t working out”, what is “holding me back”, or things that are painful, problematic, or inconvenient. Seriously. It’s a key practice I can’t recommend strongly enough; spend more time contemplating what is working, what is pleasant, and what you enjoy in your life, than you do fussing or bitching about what isn’t going as well. It has the potential to change your implicit experience of life, to change your actual brain, and could result in a more pleasant experience of life, generally. It also just feels better.

We don’t just find our “happy place” – we also create (or destroy) it.

…Isn’t “feeling better” one of the things we’d all like to do? “Being” a “pessimist” (or someone who is very negative about life) is not a permanent affliction (doesn’t have to be, anyway) – you can choose. πŸ™‚ Yes, I’m even suggesting that in the face of living a “terrible” set of circumstances, it is possible to have a better experience than you may be having… with some carefully chosen practices, practiced with care and consistency, over time. No guarantee, of course; I’m not an expert, nor a doctor. My results have varied, surely yours will, also. Still… over the past decade I’ve gone from being a very cynical, rather bitter, wholly negative human being to someone who is generally fairly positive, mostly pretty optimistic, comfortably content much of the time, who feels a secure sense that, generally, most things will (or could) turn out acceptably okay. πŸ™‚ It’s enough (for me). Life feels pretty good, mostly.

…There are a lot of implied new beginnings in that last paragraph, not gonna lie. A lot of work has been involved in getting myself from “there” to “here”. I still have occasional down days and blue moments. I still sometimes struggle with my emotional wellness and mental health. I’m a human, being human.

I finish my coffee with a smile. Go for a walk? A soak in the spa? Do some yoga? Start work early? I think things over…

…It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚

Sometimes finding a happy place is surprisingly close to home.

I’m looking at this list of bullet points. It has become an outline of future work, mapped across future days. My morning coffee has become a can of cold fizzy water. The day is nearing the end, and I am smiling. I’m smiling, in part, because I love what I do. The other part of that smile is because I’m not being asked to yield what remains of my day, or my energy, beyond an utterly routine commitment to a shift. Comfortable. Sustainable.

There is no clock on the wall. My sense of aesthetic suggests there should be. There is no potted plant on my desk, or standing in the odd corner between a structural post, and the wall; a plant would look great right there. There is no bookcase with books, filled up notepads, coffee mugs, and tchotchkes, against the wall, where I expect to see one. The floor is bare concrete. The bare overhead light contributes to the very industrial look of this place. I’m not bitching; the temperature is comfortable, the break room is amply stocked with icy cold fizzy water, and very hot coffee, both in reliably good supply.

I arrived eager and confident a couple days ago, and the fit is natural; I belong here. I am still in that “assessing needs-gaining access-learning tools-looking ahead” sort of place, and that seems appropriate to the circumstances. I let myself fill my awareness with this moment, and these circumstances. No holding back. No trepidation. All in. I am comfortable here.

…The walls need art…

…I’ve got plenty of art…

Tomorrow is another day. Another beginning. Another step along this path. I’m ready for it – I’m also tired, at least, tired right now. Relaxed, contented, fatigued – the fatigue of a day’s work, done well, and fully appreciated. All of that. No more than that. It’s lovely.

The challenge, now, is shoring up healthy practices, and building new routines around these new circumstances. The commute is different. The location is different. Simple things like badging in, logging into tools… finding my way directly to my office, all new, and all such simple things, generally; it’ll still take me weeks to get comfortable and functioning on updated implicit memory. In the meantime, I laugh at myself each morning as I go down the hallway toward the office in which I spent my first day, by mistake. My office is the next corridor over. lol I’ll chuckle when I attempt to login using credentials from the last place I worked. I’ll grin with merriment when I find my way to the men’s room, instead of the ladies’ room, having to back track, then reverse through a seeming maze of hallways and glass boxes to the opposite side of the building, because, at least for now, it’s the only route by which I remember where the ladies’ room is. I’ll laugh out loud when I walk into my boss’s office, thinking it is mine (mine is on the opposite side of the hallway).

I’ll go home still smiling. Tomorrow, I’ll begin again. πŸ™‚

I’m sitting here in the chilly wee hours of morning, coughing my head off, chest aching with the useless force of it, head aching from the pressure of sinus congestion and coughing, wearing fuzzy slippers, sipping coffee. Just doing my best, right? It’s a work day, and some short time from now, I’ll shift gears, and do the working things between coughing fits. I’m working from home because, frankly, it would make me ill to have to work alongside someone coughing like this.Β  I can’t see inflicting it on coworkers. :-\

I sigh out loud in the chill of the room, sipping my almost-cold coffee. I’ve been writing here awhile, almost every day. A fair few actual real human beings who are not me have chosen to follow my writing (you may be one of them). Flattering – also a bit of a nail-biter for me, as it tends to suggest somewhere out there may be one or more humans who may “think I’m on to something”. I don’t know that I am. Maybe I am – but really I’m stumbling through adulthood like most everyone else is, making it up as I go, trying new practices, and practicing those that “work” – for me. Your results may vary.

Ask me for an opinion, and I’ll often have one ready. On rare occasions, some tattered shred of wisdom will remain in place long enough to suggest perhaps I don’t have sufficient knowledge of the topic to exert the effort to have an opinion at all, but as with so many human primates that circumstance is far rarer than ideal. My opinions, like most opinions, rest heavily on whatever limited knowledge and experience I may have myself, filled in with… made up nonsense. (Don’t even defend yourself on this, it is what it is.) We could all do better for ourselves and our world to be less attached to our damned opinions. lol

Don’t follow me. I’m just wandering around blazing my own trail through life’s wilderness, same as anyone. I’m not an expert, just a person. One person. One person with some life experience, and some opinions. What works for me may not work for you – we’re each walking our own hard mile, following our own (uncharted) path. Sure, sure, there are some shared basics, and if you find my opinions helpful as you contemplate your own decisions, I sure won’t take that from you… I’m just saying, don’t you know more about your experience than I do? Aren’t you the “expert” there? (And if you don’t feel that you are indeed the expert in your life, about your own experience, won’t it be easier for you to get there, than it would be for me?)

I think all I’m saying is that even on a shared journey between lovers, connected, intimate, even 24/7 – we are each having our own experience. My journey, built on my choices, may not be very similar to yours, even if we walk the same literal ground between our starting points and our finishes, and do so holding hands. Life has this quirky subjective thing going on for each of us, in which our perspective and understanding of the world we live in is informed by all manner of things, which taken in combination, become fairly unique to us as individuals – without regard to how very similar these things can also seem to be, from one person to another. I see it. I live it. I don’t necessarily “understand” it. I’m not your expert. πŸ™‚

Oh, I’m not going anywhere, it just occurs to me that some people really do need an “expert”, if only for a little while. Go get one! No shame in needing help, a support system, a consultation, a reality check – and omg, don’t go trying to get that reliably from people who may actually wholly love you. lol They aren’t your experts either. There is an implied agenda there, when human beings are emotionally invested in one another, just saying. Some things you’ll have to sort of work out onΒ  your own – and you may find “a way” that just isn’t shared by anyone else, or “doesn’t work” – except for you – and that’s entirely okay, too.

There’s a reason there are a ton of self-help books, and paid “experts” out there; we’re very fancy primates with so much variety that what works for one, may not work for any other. Wow. So fancy. Lots of folks sell blockbuster self-help books based on their way – the way they found that works for them, specifically, and may not actually work for anyone else at all. I write, almost daily, about what I am doing to heal and grow, and become more the woman I most want to be over time… and if any of that is useful for you, I am delighted, but… it’s what works for me, and your results may vary. You may have to find a new way, or a different way, or some other way – and you may have to practice quite a lot, even if it is the way that works for you.

I think about adaptive behaviors, and remember how urgently important it was to stay in the tire tracks of the vehicles ahead, when driving through a minefield. This behavior, a potentially life-saving behavior, is basically worthless back home, stateside, on a rainy day. I still find myself doing it, and then feeling real stress when I have to deviate from doing so to get to my destination; it’s not behavior that works in these circumstances. I point it out to underscore that what works for me (or for a particular circumstance) may not work for you (or a for a particular other circumstance). That’s just real; sooner or later we each have to look up from the tire tracks ahead, and instead of following, we have to make our own way. No kidding.

I look at the clock, as I finish my coffee. It’s already time to begin again. πŸ˜€