I’m up earlier than I need to be; it’s Saturday and I could sleep in. Only… I’m awake, so… that isn’t happening. 🙂 Being attached to that outcome (sleeping in) has messed up so many beautiful mornings on which I earnestly wanted to sleep longer and couldn’t. I think, generally, I’ve let that go. It feels pretty good to be awake, okay with being awake, and simply enjoying the additional minutes or hours of the day.

The treeline obscured by fog; I assume the world exists beyond although I can't see it.

The treeline obscured by fog; I assume the world exists beyond although I can’t see it.

Last night was strange. I was not in the mood for company at all, and by the time I got home all I wanted was the peace and stillness of solitude. I started a fire in the fireplace, and sat down with a rare treat – a glass of sherry.

Just as my nerves started to unwind, and I began to relax into a state of lasting contentment, the smoke alarm went off. Okay, startling, but I silence it and settle down. It goes off again. The room does not appear to be smokey at all. I silence the alarm. I sit down, pick up a book. Smoke alarm. Okay, damn it, this is bullshit and I begin to feel agitated. It was an effort to pause the fast-building rage that is my purely animal reaction to frustration. I open windows, doors, and turn on fans. Clearly the smoke detector thinks there is smoke… why don’t I?

I step outside into the cool rainy night air, and breathe deeply; it is by far fresher than the air in the apartment. Okay… maybe there’s something to this? I look out into the night, it doesn’t seem any clearer… I turn and look back into the apartment, still not seeing “smoke” at all. I go inside and head for the little cloth I use to clean my glasses. Ah. Yep. That’s it; my glasses are so smudgy I couldn’t see that the air in the apartment wasn’t entirely clear – it was, in fact, a bit “smoggy”. Well shit. I keep airing out the apartment, feeling a bit aggravated – why tonight? I take time to sit down directly in front of the fireplace to watch it crackle away merrily – it cares not one bit about smoke alarms. I listen to the wind and wonder if it might be preventing the smoke from going up the chimney? Then I notice that the flue lever is much farther “open” than I generally open it, and also that reliable small curls of actual smoke are indeed rolling past the opening of the fireplace and into the room. So, while not billowing out in a definite noticeable way, there has definitely been smoke making it into the room since the fire got started. (Hey – smoke alarm, I’m sorry I was mad at you; you were right.)

Adjustments made, rooms aired out, windows returned to their closed position, fans turned off, alarm silenced… I can sit down, breathe, and relax. Well. I can choose to. I can make the effort. I can begin again. I can also quietly sit until the evening feels quite late, before being overcome by fatigue and calling it a night. Aside from dealing with the smoke alarm, I really didn’t do anything last night. It was exactly what I wanted out of my evening. No television. No music. No people. No fuss. No media news. No conversation. No. Just no. None. Not any. Only the quiet, my glass of sherry, and the stillness.

It was quite lovely, once I finally got to really settle down. I make a point of remembering that I did get to settle down and relax, quiet, content, without stress or fussing – and it’s important that I do that, because as I wrote about all the rest, all the rest became more prominent in my memory, reinforced in the telling. Amusing anecdotes about stressful things can work like that, too; we tell the tale, and it becomes the larger part of our recollection. It is one of the terrible truths of PTSD; the more our trauma haunts us, the more prominent the recollection of it becomes, the more significant in our implicit memory, the more “real” – even compared to other factually real events and experiences that may be going on now. Yikes. So, this morning I make a point, once the tale is told, to also savor the portion of the evening that followed, because the stillness and contentment can be a bigger portion of my experience, if I choose it to be so. Verbs. Choices. Practice. I enjoy the stillness more than the stress.

I’ve no idea what today holds. It is the weekend, and my traveling partner is far away. There is no chance we’ll see each other today. I’m okay with that; although I miss him, I’ve been needing some reliable consistent quiet, and have been struggling to create that within myself in his company. There has been so much busy-ness in my calendar (and my life) since I returned to work: a visit from my step-son, a couple of parties, my traveling partner coming and going a bit more than usual, OPD, a new work routine, a new commute… Every detail of my everyday life was completely overturned when I returned to work. Life has been so busy – and so social – I’ve been left with no time to sort it all out. The timing of my partner’s trip in this instance could not be better. 🙂

I still miss him, greatly, and it is one source of my background stress. I’d very much like to have a living arrangement in which he could come and go utterly freely without concern. Another source of my increasing background stress is my commute; it consumes 10 hours a week of my precious limited lifetime. The transit portion of that commute is rarely pleasant, and puts me constantly at risk of illness. I make a point of living close to work for a reason, and that reason is that I dislike wasting my life commuting. I want that time back! By itself, this is not a big contributor to my stress, it’s a small thing; it drives thinking about moving, though, which causes me major stress.

Mist obscures the autumn skyline of the trees on the far side of the park. I assume they are still there.

Perspective matters. Letting go of attachment helps. 

I remind myself “this too shall pass”. I breathe. Relax. Sip my coffee, and look out across the meadow, into the misty morning; I will have to give up this view in favor of another. More upheaval. My anxiety kicks in, and I breathe through it. This will be something to face, to deal with, and to process for months to come… and that’s okay too. I feel things, and I have tools to process my feelings. 🙂

Today is a good day to consider what I have, what I need, and what I’d choose to change. Today is a good day to embrace that change and make wise choices. Today is a good day to begin again.