Archives for posts with tag: taking care of me

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. 🙂

This morning feels a bit like emotionally squinting into the full measure of mid-day sunshine, as I sip my coffee quietly, letting myself wake up to face the new day. The coffee is good. I’ve got butterflies in my tummy, like an excited kid. This morning, I choose to interpret these physical feelings as excitement. In other moments, perhaps I’d see it as anxiety; they feel too similar to me, and sometimes I just confuse them.

How many such firsts will I experience in life? First days. First dates. New jobs. New destinations. This very specific experience of excitement and quiet tension is one of firsts. Change. Not just that roller coaster of experiences of change that is, itself, the living of life; this is the experience of choosing change, choosing to “really go for it”, and staring directly into that process, and participating with my entire will, unified in a single purpose. Exciting barely describes it. I feel a tad breathless and wild-eyed around the edges.

Meditation helped.

I’ve checked my laptop backpack too many times, already. It has in it what it needs for the day; the laptop, a book, my kindle, an ink pen, a notepad. It matches the purse I’d purchased for the start of my last job, and the weekend bag I had purchased when I began traveling regularly to see my Traveling Partner. I feel so grown up. lol Delight fills my moment. I add it to the excitement. I try to also maintain some small amount of focus on a couple of errands I need to run after work. I sip my coffee and wonder when that will be?

New day. New beginning. New verbs. Old sweater. lol That’s fine; it’s a favorite, and it’s enough. Mustn’t lose sight of the exquisite value of sufficiency and perspective as I start down a new path; what has mattered so much, matters still. 🙂

It’s just time to begin again. 😀

There are other voices than mine. There are other lived truths than the truth I live myself. There are other perspectives, other viewpoints, other angles from which to consider each very human moment. There are other tales to tell, told by other travelers. Each existing alongside all the others, their existence, itself, does nothing to diminish the truth of the others; these are narratives. Subjective experiences of being human, in all its wonder, glory, pain, and joy. I tell mine here, my way. 🙂

A friend posted on Facebook recently that she is undertaking her own healing journey, walking that hard mile, processing trauma, seeking healing, and that she had started a blog. She started a group, to post to, understanding that perhaps not everyone wants to share that journey with her. I appreciate the consideration. I respect the journey; I’ve been on my own such journey for a while now. I reflected back on that moment when I decided to start a journey, and a blog, and considered how that “went down”, and the reactions I’d gotten at that time, from friends and loved ones (a fairly discouraging mix of disinterest, distance, and patronizing comments, generally, and a couple folks sincerely interested in being supportive). I asked myself, explicitly, “how do I want to ‘be there’ for my friend, and her experience, right now?”

I provided a reply I hoped would be welcoming and supportive, and accepted the request to join her group. Why would I not? Reluctance to be triggered? I grant you; it’s a risk. (People in my life spend a lot of time opening up to me about trauma, as it is. I’ve survived it so far.) People need to feel heard. They need emotionally secure relationships in which to open up about what hurts them. Me, too. Can I “be there” to support that? Of course I can. It’s on me to set and manage my boundaries, if it gets to be too much, and even that is a way of being there for a friend or loved one, setting that powerful example that it is also okay to set boundaries, and showing what that looks like, in practice. Practice. Yeah – and also, because I, too, am entirely made of human, I need practice, myself. Practice at listening deeply. Practice at maintaining perspective on past trauma. Practice understanding that we each walk our own hard mile. Practice at “being there” for others. Practice, frankly, at being the woman I most want to be – in every interaction, every moment, on every day. Words are just words. It’s the verbs that make changes come to life. It’s what we practice that matters; we become what we practice.

This morning I read the first of her posts (that I’ve read). I savored her voice. The difference in her style of communication. I read from a place of non-judgmental acceptance, and non-attachment. Her tale is not my tale, however similar some details may seem; she is having her own experience. I listen with empathy, consideration, compassion. I listen deeply. I recognize her humanity, her unique experience. I acknowledge the human experience beyond the words. I nod quietly, more than once. “I know you,” I think to myself. Still, I also allow her her moment; we are individuals, with our own experiences, our own pain. We’re in very different places on our individual journeys. That doesn’t matter as much as “being there” – being present, aware, and compassionate – because although we are each having our own experiences, we’re also “all in this together”. I sip my coffee and contemplate the journey stretching ahead of her.

Ask the questions. Do the verbs. Begin again.

I woke up to snowfall this morning. That wasn’t much of a surprise, honestly; weather forecasting has gotten pretty good over the years, as data sets build in size over generations of meteorological expertise also accumulated. Even in weather forecasting, incremental improvements over time are a thing. 🙂

My first look at winter storm “Maya”, before dawn. 

Rather a lot of snow for this area. Rather peculiarly late in the year, being, already, mid-February. I sip my coffee, which turned out rather poorly for some reason, and consider Winter. I think of my Traveling Partner, who headed out yesterday, late in the afternoon, to head south for a gig, and to pick up more of his stuff to continue the moving home process (almost completed). I missed him, some, within minutes of his departure, but also enjoyed the quiet, after a very busy week of moving things in, moving things around, and getting caught up and settled in together in shared living space long-term. It was a pleasant and deeply connected week. I sit for some minutes, reflecting on love, loving, and being loved.

This morning, the world quieted by a blanket of snow, alone with my coffee, I miss him much more.

I had made brunch plans with a friend, for this morning…lol.

…Doesn’t look like I’m going to brunch. Thanks, no, I’m good here at home. lol

Oh, I know, this “isn’t that much snow”. It’s only 4 inches or so, and lots of places in this country that wouldn’t even slow folks down. I get it. People here aren’t used to it, and they drive exactly as though they aren’t used to it; they don’t have the right skills (or gear) for these conditions, making driving doubly hazardous. The communities, by and large, at least in this metro area, also don’t do shit to clear the snow and ice from the roads, they just let it sit there until it is gone, mostly… which… yeah. Wtf? lol I don’t know. Not my circus, not my monkeys. What I do know is that it was a wise choice to do the grocery shopping yesterday, and to bring my laptop home with me from the office, Thursday after work. I’m well-prepared, even if I am stuck here for days.

I over think a detail, and step through the house turning faucets to drip very slowly, hoping to prevent any pipes from freezing. I don’t need that headache, for sure, and it is quite cold. 🙂

Daybreak unfolds, and the sky lightens. I notice small birds here and there, and get up to put out bird seed, peanuts, and dry corn, for my furred and feathered neighbors. Within a handful of minutes, it looks like a forest-creature version of Hometown Buffet on my deck. I sit with my coffee awhile, delighted with their presence, and pleased with my forethought while I was shopping yesterday.

Minutes later, visitors still coming and going, lots of kinds of tracks in the fresh snow.

Winter comes when it comes. It’s like a lot of things in life that may take us by surprise. We can be prepared for so much. Sometimes, we won’t be. Planning helps with that. Being aware of conditions is also a step toward wisdom, generally. Being willing to “take care of” a future we can’t see, with our choices in the moment, can definitely have the potential to turn disaster to mere circumstance, of little consequence. It’s not easy, though; there’s no map. No clear timeline of all the shit that could go wrong in life. Things change – and change again. All of this also applies to great good fortune, and circumstances that are wholly positive, and also characterized by change and upheaval. What are you going to do about it? Prepare skillfully, or just take that wild ride hoping for the best?

Last summer I bought de-icer for the driveway, even though I didn’t know if I would need it. On February 1st, I noticed it there, and found myself amused, because it really seemed, just then, a complete waste of money. 8 days later, snow everywhere, I’m pretty appreciative to have it; I’m likely going to need it. Same with the winter-strength washer fluid I put in the car. The upgraded all-weather tires, replaced in October, too – all part of preparing for a winter that seemed not to come, after all… until last night. I’m just saying; look ahead in life, as far as you are able. Go ahead and make room in your experience (and your budget) to take steps that will ease you into positive outcomes. Why not?

Winter comes when it comes. This is a metaphor.

Even when I haven’t had the financial resources to put a lot of money into such planning ahead, the reality is that there are not only helpful other things one can do, it’s also helpful simply to prepare my mind for those potential events. I don’t mean to suggest endlessly agonizing over shit that hasn’t happened, but could, getting all hung up and anxious over the future, which doesn’t exist yet outside our thoughts. Not at all. I’m suggesting simply allowing yourself to consider things, evaluate their likelihood, and be mentally (and where possible, logistically) prepared for the most likely of those.

The pay off in taking care of myself, both right here and now, and also looking ahead to support my needs over time, is that, this morning I am sipping hot coffee, warm, dry, and comfortable, with a well-stocked pantry, plenty of books to read, and a day ahead of me to enjoy at leisure. (I’m suddenly feeling, also, alarmingly privileged to be so well-supported by my planning – but also by my circumstances; I am fortunate, and yeah, that does matter, too. I take time to quietly contemplate what I can do, from right here, to help others who may not be so well situated on a cold winter day, instead of sitting on my ass contentedly enjoying gas heat, and a snow day. It’s a small world, and a smaller community, and we’re all in this together.)

My coffee is gone. The birdseed has been picked clean from the deck. It is daylight, and I hear an occasional car brave the steep hill of the road I live on. A new day starts here. 🙂

 

Sipping my coffee on a Friday off. Enjoying the sound of my Traveling Partner in the other room, reflecting aloud on content that resonates with him, as he enjoys his morning coffee over some study material. We are individuals, sharing a journey (and an experience of life). It feels good to share this space with him. His appreciation of, and delight in, various details warms me and fills me with joy. I feel accepted, valued, and loved.

I sip my coffee and consider my calendar and budget, and wonder how I ever figured I could make my way in life without both of those things; I need a plan. Doesn’t mean that the plan is always executed precisely as laid out – in fact, that’s rare. Change is. Circumstances occur. Still, having a plan gives me a comfortable framework from which I can more easily adapt to change, and account for circumstances, still moving toward my destination. I take time to look ahead many weeks. I consider the date on which one paycheck ends, and the next begins. I consider the gap between them, and how that will affect my cash flow. I plot out the expenses against the income. I ask the hard questions, as each bill is considered in sequence; is it covered? Groceries too? What about some fun? Is there wiggle room for some discretionary funds? Am I still working toward getting ahead, and recovering from what has been, admittedly, a difficult year financially? What accounts can be – and should be – closed out, now that my Traveling Partner has moved in, here? When can that occur? How does that timing affect this plan?

Detail by detail I work down my list. It’s not easy to remind myself that this is still a fairly tightly planned budget, with little room for error. I breath. Relax. I feel my smile return; I’ve got this. I’ve grown decently good at it over the past couple years and feel safe in my own care. Wow. That’s actually huge. This used to be The Money Thing. Very scary. Literally one of the most significant drivers of day-to-day stress in my experience, chronically. Now? It’s a process. A set of tasks that are part of my everyday planning and attention – and part of my self-care. I still experience occasional anxiety about financial matters; this past year was peculiarly challenging, particularly the latter half. Still, here I am. I’m okay. It feels good. 🙂

I move on to considering more near-term plans, and wonder if I need to grocery shop today, versus later in the weekend. Perhaps a list? Making a list sounds very satisfying, and I decide to move on to that, feeling gently supported by my own endeavors. Very satisfying. 🙂

…Then I pause, realizing yet again that my Traveling Partner is actually here, right now. A wave of love and contented joy washes over me, still thinking about mundanities, like dishes, and groceries, and vacuuming, and cleaning things. Life being lived.

It’s time to begin again. 🙂