Archives for posts with tag: The Big 5

…Home…work…home…work… Back and forth, pretty much continuously, distractingly interspersed with a couple days off, not quite convincing me that I have ample leisure. lol Omg – fuck this. I sigh and sip my coffee. I breathe, exhale, relax… And remind myself that the bills are paid, and this home is comfortably warm on a chilly morning. I had hot water – and indoor plumbing – and sweet smelling shower gel in my morning shower. This cup of coffee? Work was involved in that, too; coffee beans aren’t free. The electricity that ran the burr grinder? Paid for that, too, with money I worked for. So…okay. Work is thing, I guess I’m stuck with that for now.

…I’m so ready to get off this treadmill. Have been for a long time. It aggravates me to see articles about the need to “raise the retirement age” – let that shit be optional, voluntary, and self-determined! Damn – you think I want to be “gainfully employed”? Um… no. It’s just that our society is built on the exchanges of goods and services made possible by the additional exchange of currency. Currency that represents our labor (and in a most bitter and unfortunate additional bit of truth, the “exchange rate” of life force for currency is neither “fair” nor “equal” and some human beings are most definitely paid too little for their time, whereas others are paid far far more than any real value that could be assessed based their life or humanity). So… work. Home to enjoy. Work to pay for it. Back and forth.

It really does bug me when “retirement ages” are set such that they only account for those who wish to work longer. Of course, it would also bug me if the agency of adult human beings was undermined such that people who are capable and eager are forced out of the workforce solely due to their age. Either way, it’s the lack of agency I’m actually objecting to; we are not machines, we’re not all identical in appearance – or intention. Some people earnestly want to work in their later years – I’ve met a few. (Keeping things real, I’ve met far more who felt they had to continue working because they needed the money and were not financially prepared to retire.) I’ve also met people who are looking ahead to retirement before they were 30. (I’m one of those, but I’m also likely going to be someone who has to keep working due to not being financially prepared to retire.)

Sipping coffee thinking about the work-life treadmill on a Thursday. Of course, I have choices, and I mull them over now and then, fully aware I could, perhaps, paint full time (and be creatively contented and probably below the poverty line), or go into business in my working profession as an independent consultant, or do some other work I’d never considered but is incredibly lucrative – people who have freed themselves from the treadmill do exist. I just don’t happen to be one of them. lol This morning I’m tired, and I woke with a headache from a dream that I was commuting to work driving my car backwards. lol Too many late-ish nights, not enough sleep? Another sip of coffee, and an internal commitment to going to bed “on time” tonight, is the only result of my fatigue-y cynicism.

The truth is, I’m good at my profession. I’ve chosen to continue it a couple times after attempting to escape it. I’m pretty skillful at the “going to work every day” thing, in a way that quite a few people I know are not. I support myself, loved ones, and creative endeavors through these skills, and I feel satisfied with all of that. I’m just tired this morning and yearning for a freedom from routine that I not only don’t have – I’m neither comfortable with, in fact, nor skilled at managing well. lol It is what it is. (This sort of thing is specifically why I don’t make major decisions while deeply fatigued or stressed out; my thinking changes when I am relaxed, and able to face challenges from an emotionally neutral, practical perspective, and I make very different decisions.)

Choices. Verbs. The things that are. The things that are not – or are not, yet. The wheel keeps turning. If I don’t like my circumstances, there are alternatives. If I don’t like the person I see myself becoming, I can make changes. If I don’t like the conversation going on around me, I can walk on. Hell, even when the conversation I’m not enjoying is the internal “conversation” going on with myself, I can definitely “fix that” – I can begin again. 😉

Sipping my coffee on a Sunday. Feeling content, and cherishing that feeling even more for having recently been blown off that comfortable perch by stormy emotional weather. I take time to be pleased with the morning, and the moment, and the fact that hurt feelings don’t have to linger for days. Even yesterday was quite lovely, so much so that I never did sit down to write about it; I was busy enjoying it.

But what happened?!

Fair enough. I went to my afternoon appointment, Friday, and returned home. He was up from napping, by the time I got back. We enjoyed a lovely evening – and not “as if nothing happened” in some peculiar surreal or bitter way, faking the moment. It was like that at all. We each had a chance to care for our own needs, and took it. He took time to manage his pain, and got more rest (which he evidently needed). I took the time it took to manage my own pain, and my PTSD, which had flared up over some nothing and derailed our lovely morning. We were both fine, and when we reconnected in the evening, we made a point to check in with each other, sooth hurts, restore broken intimacy, and simply moved on with a lovely evening, without lingering resentment (as far as I know; it’s still true we are each having our own experience).

Then we enjoyed yesterday. Autumn means more indoor cooking. Desired health, long-term wellness, fitness, and longevity goals mean more new recipes, whole ingredients, and fun exploring different sorts of meals at home. Just humans being human.

Today, I woke with a bit of a headache, but well-rested, feeling fairly merry, and enjoying the sound of the rain falling fairly ceaselessly (this entire weekend) beyond the windows. I sip my coffee, explicitly aware of, and exceedingly grateful for, the roof over my head, the central heat and a/c, the indoor plumbing and potable water, refrigeration, the gas fireplace, the comfortable furnishings, and the lovely view beyond the patio. I’ll never be wealthy, but I am so very fortunate. It’s a lovely morning to enjoy that, to embrace contentment, and maybe, later, do a little laundry. lol 😀

…Then I can begin again. 🙂

A noise woke me…or was it a light…? Either way, I woke a bit early. I crept quietly through my routine, “so as not to wake anyone else”. Then I ground coffee. There’s no silencing the burr grinder, and I’m not surprised when I hear a voice in the darkness softly say “there was already coffee ground”. “Shit,” I reply to the unseen voice of my Traveling Partner. I get on with things, he, I hope, goes back to sleep. I’m definitely starting the morning with a failure; the literal point of being so quiet and careful in the morning is to avoiding waking my sleeping partner. lol

I sip my coffee and consider the nature of “failure”. What an emotionally loaded word that can be. I’ve already “moved on” from waking my partner, but it’s the sort of thing that could weigh me down all day with a lot of rethinking and rumination, and self-inflicted emotional bullshit and baggage of one sort or another. I’m content to shrug all that off, reminding myself how human I am, and how okay that is.

I’m groggy. This coffee doesn’t seem to be helping much. Hopefully the day doesn’t find me, later, dragging myself through the routine mundanities… I think I got enough rest. I sit quietly, sipping coffee, waiting for the earliest hint of daybreak that is often my reminder that it’s time… time to go, time to start work, time to begin again…

…There’s enough time for it, I know, enough time to begin again. 🙂 I take another sip of my coffee, and another breath. Failure? Common enough in life. Let it go. Breathe. Begin again. 😀

I took some time off. I needed the break from routine, and even from distractions. I just needed some real rest. 🙂 For some reason, I haven’t been sleeping more than 4-5 hours a night, with rare exceptions, for weeks. I was losing the ability to easily keep track of details, and reminders were becoming a necessity on a whole other rather critical level that feels uncomfortable – and sometimes “weak”.

…So… time off? Yep. That’s the plan. It’s also been uncomfortable to manage the day-to-day distractions; my brain is so used to be busy at maximum intensity that not only is my sleep disturbed by it, but also, my every waking moment I also seem to be racing to grasp the next distraction – no time to waste! Hurry! See that?!? What’s that?! And that over there – do I know what that is?? Have I read that article? Am I up-to-date on this new crisis? Have I overlooked a detail? What am I forgetting!?? Distracted and pressed for time have been becoming my default settings – which is neither helpful, nor healthy. So. Definitely some time off, but also… some down time. Properly taking time – real, slow, committed, undistracted time – for myself. To slow down. To unwind. To listen to the breeze, and the sound of raindrops pattering on the deck… for hours. Put down the email. Turn off the tv. Cease the ceaseless conversation – for at least a little while.

Brunch with a friend, perhaps…? Thanks, no, I’m “busy” not doing that, for a couple days.

Want to go to this movie…? Um, no, I can catch it streaming at home, some other time.

What about work email?! Don’t want to fall behind on… Yeah, no. I’m explicitly turning work off for 4 days. Off. Completely off.

Well, but there’s this thing you’ve just got to see/do/experience… Nope. I’m good, thanks. It’ll be there later on, or… not. No “FOMO” here; I am focusing the quality of the life I have right now, just as it is. 🙂 It’s enough.

So, yeah. I haven’t been posting anything to Instagram (the only social media account I still have). I haven’t been “staying caught up” on my email, or the news, or the latest whatever that folks are wound up about. I’m just chilling at home with my Traveling Partner, gently, joyfully, calmly. It’s nice. Pleasant. Relaxed – and relaxing. Most of yesterday was spent in defiance of the busy-ness of the days prior to that; we hung out, listening to music, enjoying our morning coffee together, whiling away the hours content in each other’s good company, without any other agenda. Super chill. I don’t know how I could have spent the first day of this long chill weekend any better than that. I even managed to sleep in, yesterday. The entire day was spent present, aware, connected, and enjoying each moment without feeling any need to race “productively” to the next.

This morning, a new day begins. I’m awake earlier. A vague sensation that I’d meant to do something specific today nags at me, but I’ve reviewed the budget (it’s a payday, so that’s a thing I do), took a look at upcoming bills, and accounted for expenses we’d discussed being part of this pay cycle, before moving on. I guess maybe I mean to go grocery shopping, and since I’m sitting here drinking coffee, the lurking desire to also shop feels like a weight on my consciousness… damn, I’ve needed a proper break.

So, yeah… that’s what I’m up to, right now, taking care of myself and this fragile mortal vessel, by getting some down time. Maybe I write… maybe I don’t. I recommend it. 😉

It’s time to begin again… gently. 🙂

I woke to the sound of rain. It’s the sort of steady rain of well-separated medium-sized raindrops that keeps the pavement looking soaked, and the air smelling fresh, without every becoming a downpour. I made coffee, standing at the kitchen window, staring out past the driveway to the street beyond, not really watching the cars go by, still half-wrapped in sleep, not quite awake, yet. I’d considered sitting down and reading some news articles while I waited for water to boil (I like a “pour over” in the morning)… decided it against it, after glancing at headlines. I am not ready for the cesspool that is “newsworthy” humanity, before my coffee. lol

California was more or less “as advertised”, generally in a pleasant way.

I got home far more easily, with fewer moments of stress, and a much more enjoyable (quiet) flight. I wondered later if time of day was something to have considered when I made the plans (the unpleasant flight to LAX was late afternoon, getting me there by 6:30 pm, the flight home to PDX departed from LAX at close to 8:00 pm, and we did not land until well-past 10:00 pm)? There were no chatterboxes or fussy children on the flight home; it was filled with quieter people, traveling purposefully, and keeping to themselves. I chuckle to myself as I read back these past couple of sentences; how much of my experience was actually just… me? Something to consider, too.

I missed my roses while I was away.

My homecoming was pleasant, relaxed, easy; we missed each other, we welcome each other with open arms, and smiles, with appreciation, and gratitude. Friday was very busy, and I’d forgotten to grab the power cord for my laptop when I returned to the hotel Thursday evening. The low battery, and the need to pack with care before work that morning, resulted in letting go my usual “best time” to write. Yesterday? Yesterday was mine to cherish, a sweet day of leisure and romance with my Traveling Partner, time to catch up, time to enjoy each other, time to spend together. I didn’t write, yesterday, because it is most definitely a solitary activity that takes my presence away from my partner’s experience, and on a day we choose for deliberately enjoying each other, sharing our time, our love, and our presence, that would be sort of rude, wouldn’t it? 🙂

…It feels like life is settling into a useful cadence of work and life and love, as the months together go by. Was it January he moved in with me? Or December, before the Yule holidays? I don’t remember now; it feels as if we’ve never been separated by different addresses, at all. 🙂

I arrived home to a lovely, tidy, welcoming, orderly, aesthetically pleasing home that very much looks like I live here. That makes sense – I do. 😀 I very much appreciate that I have my partners help with all the housekeeping and household maintenance – it makes for a wonderful shared experience. I notice a few things that are “better than I left it”, and remind myself to level up to better household care, on those tasks, myself. When everyone works, and the work is shared such that each person is valued, the quantity of work is equitable, and the effort is reciprocal, there is no room for resentment, or hurt feelings, over housework. 😀

Signs of autumn approaching begin to turn up in the garden on the deck…and also, a baby praying mantis or two, that have survived long enough to be easily noticed.

Another lovely day begins right here, listening to the rain fall. I feel like walking, although my arthritis flared up with the coming of the rain. I consider the day ahead… visit a nearby farmer’s market… run an errand or two, perhaps… get ready for the work week ahead… It’s an ordinary enough Sunday, pleasant, and relaxed. These are the qualities I am choosing, and choosing to foster, to build, to nurture, to act upon. Beginning again is a willful thing, a considered, deliberate reset, not merely the tick of a clock from one moment to the next; there are choices to make, and verbs to act upon. 🙂 My results may vary…

…None of that stops me; it’s still time to begin again. 🙂