Monday, January 26, 2009

...thought about how to enjoy staying put.


I hate staying put. I hate doing the same thing every day. I hate not being able to get up and go as I wish. But, alas, life doesn't allow flights of fancy on a whim. At least not without massive trust funds and an eager posse. Getting up in the morning on Saturday feels a lot like Tuesday, so my tendency is to feel that weight of sameness. The weight of sameness squashes the chances for newness. At least that's where my brain goes. I've been thinking a lot lately about where my brain goes - weeks of blogging material and hours of bleary-eyed reading. so I'll attempt to stay on task.

So...sameness. If you know me, you know I frequently will call you and propose a get-together. In an hour. I need to get my haircut. Before 3. Tomorrow won't do. This room needs to be painted. Now. Those of you who know me also know this last need is rarely, on any timeframe, met. I take off with the kids to Baltimore, or the river, or Virginia Beach - wherever there's a natural gas customer and a company hotel room. Sometime neither. I always say that I love to travel, but really I just love immediate change. Immediate gratification. Immediate newness.

How mundane - get up, get dressed, pour cereal (same cereal - my family does not share my affliction), make lunches (same lunches - read above), wash faces, brush hair, coatshatsglovesbackpackhaveagreatdaypayattentiontoyourteacherseeyouafterschoolwhew, NYT crossword puzzle, coffee, FB, email. Now what....BTW, very hard to type words without spaces - try it. Talk about brains and habits.

My life is not hard. Ask anybody. So I am not complaining, rather musing on what it means to relish peace, sameness, similarity. I don't feel comfortable in silence. Frankly, I've never liked being alone. No one to entertain me, no one to entertain. I suspect I'm more than a little afraid of what I will end up thinking when left to my own thoughts. I suspect readers might be, too.

Before I got sober, I used change to hide from problems. Quick, let's get out of here before anything catches up with me. Gotta run, you're looking too closely. Action is required, I'm gone. This inevitably led to disappointment. I've heard myself say a thousand times - well, hell, it's just my life in another place. This sucks, too. I believe this is also called denial. I thrived on change as a form of "self-propulsion" - a way to inject new energy into my world, without actually having to do anything besides disappear then reappear. Problem - reappearing in different place with same problems staring down at you - but scarier because they have picked up other problems on your way, ostensibly, away from them.

So where's the positive reinforcement? At the core, we're all pleasure seekers so all our behaviors deliver some positive response or we wouldn't do them. Maybe the positive reinforcement was the adrenaline from flight. Escapism. Hid from my fear of confronting the truth for another day. It gets old. And exhausting. And impossible if you want, as I do, to fill your world with growth opportunities, happiness and freedom.

That's what getting sober got me. Happiness, freedom and opportunity to grow, to choose. I can be free and get up and go wherever and whenever (except during the school year), as long as I am go to something and not away from something else. I don't have to be the same as yesterday. And I can use the sameness of morning (and other) routines to soothe me, to start the day off in the calm of easy repetition.

I love that my kids are just like me. They can't wait to "be off". They get their shit in a bag and beat me to the door. We can never be sure when the need to be off strikes. Maybe it's out to dinner when there's something uninspired on the stove. Or maybe it's up to see Daddy in Baltimore because he's been away all week and we're a quart low on Kev. To the river. To the Caribbean (ideally). Doesn't matter. I want to be willing to bring on the change. And I want to be certain the change is keeping me 'green' and not just providing a safe haven from reality. Some of that goes a long way.

I will use my powers of restlessness for good - but learn the ways of the thoughtful homebodies. There's a movie reference in here somewhere. Today I got up and was thankful for a good night's sleep, West Wing on Bravo at 8 AND 9, comfy socks at the foot of the bed, a chance to go back to NJ next week, and, of course, the love of my life, Kev - the travelling wonder. Now I've got go and move the furniture in the family room. Maybe we need a new couch.

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