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.

Monday, January 12, 2009

...just knew I was going to slog through the day.

Mondays are tough for me. Plain and simple. Thankfully, because I'm lucky/foolish enough to be a stay at home mom, Saturdays are a lot like Tuesdays except more people are home for lunch. Most of the days of the week are pretty much interchangeable. But Mondays are the only days I know I can count on to feel just like Mondays. I have a maximum of 45 minutes between events 8AM to 10PM. Mondays are the quintessential good news/bad news days. The good news is I'll be busy all day. The bad news is while much is getting done, nothing else is getting done. All of the items on Monday's calendar are in permanent ink. Tutoring at school. Lunch meetings. Afternoon personal trainer. Kids swim lessons. 8PM meeting. I know when I wake up, I'm doing them all. And some days, I just don't want to.

Self-will. The egotistical thought that you can control how your day is going to go, how all the people around you are going to behave, that they all have your best interests at heart. Your, you, I, me - sound familiar. So what do you do when you just don't want to? What are your alternatives to just giving up and giving in? How do you navigate the divide between feeling in control and giving it up?

This is not the place for answers, my friend. I seriously ask these questions of myself - frequently. But here's what I know. I know that if I try and hold it all together, there's no guarantee that it will stay together. The only guarantee is that I'm going to end up exhausted and unfulfilled. I am going to give away my opportunity to feel joy and accomplishment to the slim chance the planets will align and do just what I want.

So give yourself the freedom to just slog through the day. Take from it what you can, lower your expectations. Open your mind to the possibility these few hours might throw you a bone. Be OK with just putting one foot in front of the other. Because it will lead you to the end of that day, eventually. And then you can lay down, acknowledge it wasn't the best, think about what you will try to do better tomorrow and let go of what is done and cannot be changed.

Today I got up and just knew I was going to slog through the day. And I did. Nothing to report on either side of the coin. Didn't fly off the handle. Didn't do cartwheels. And I feel lucky for that. So before I rest, I'll think back about a few things. Today I got up and was grateful for Margaret, dryer sheets, peanut butter cups, how Ben reaches out to touch my hand when he wants me to smile at him, and Kev - King of the anti-slog movement.

Friday, January 2, 2009

...kicked her husband out of bed.

Not something I am prone to on chilly winter mornings when we have the day off, but he had a doctor's appointment at 9 and it was 8:30. I was finally able to get him to make an appointment for a physical, which was a feat in and of itself. We realized it had been more than 7 years - and that's too long. All good news, except for one interesting statement - Well, Kevin, things look great except for your blood. It resembles pudding. I'm not sure, but this seems like not so much great. Apparently, we have a we bit of a cholesterol issue but will be fine when Momma quits tossing half a stick of butter in everything I put on the table. Mmmmmm, butter.

So, he tells me this and I am immediately struck with the feeling that time really does march on. We were talking in the car the other day on our way back from OBX about how we don't feel as old as our parents seemed to us when we were young. Making plans for New Years, handling bills, cleaning house, going to work, telling off-color jokes. When my mom was my age, she seemed so mature, so with-it, so clever and cosmopolitan, like she could handle anything. And now, I'm her. It was so strange to think that my kids look at me the way I looked at my mom - this force that would make it OK. Of course, it also means that I'm as old as I thought my mom was - another realization I don't think through regularly.

But it is getting to be that time. To begin thinking of ourselves as not as bulletproof as we once did. We don't have to feel all our years, but we do need to be respectful of those gone by. Odd to think about growing up still. Things just always seem to happen, and you deal with them. But each event puts a bit more experience in your basket, something else to draw on, another layer to your onion.

I'm encouraged to think that I've gotten to a place where I'm comfortable being what my parents were to me -without actually knowing it. And I won't think about it all the time, but it will be a good feeling when it comes up on me. If I could only figure out how to feel the same way about 'I can't believe it's not butter'...

I got up today and was thankful for down comforters, Starbucks 3 blocks away, heated seats, big sweaters that hide the muffin top born of one size too teeny jeans, 90 days, Amelia's entirely too grown up mannerisms, and of course, the love of my life, Kev - the cholesterol king.

PS - tomorrow there will be more re: the 90 days thing. It was trumped by the blood work.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

...starts a blog.

Why not? Everyone's doing it. And I'm just self-centered enough to think y'all will want to know what happens after I wake up. I was thinking about how many people would be creating a blog today - it being 1/1/09 - and didn't want to be left out.

Today is New Year's Day. Sunny, chilly and I slept until 9. Alright 10, but I WAS awake until 3 if that makes a difference. I'm excited because it's Thursday and Kev is off work until Monday. Keeping the expectations low, but hopeful to get a bunch of stuff done:

  1. Clean out basement. Just for you, Dad.
  2. Re-org upstairs closet. Bought me some excellent shelves and drawers. Must complete this before Kevin demos closet in master bath renovation.
  3. Set fire to downstairs closet. No hope for organizing that pit. Best to start from scratch with a bit of insurance money. Fingers crossed I don't go to the big house for fraud.
  4. Rent the goddamned carriage house. If it kills me, I'm gettin' someone to sign on the dotted line.
  5. Go to a meeting. So very much missing friends.
  6. Buy replacement library books. Did that already, but I'm the kind of list maker that likes to put something on that I've done just so's I can cross it off right away.
  7. Choose paint for foyer.
  8. Doh! The laundry room.
  9. Damn! The pantry...

OK, list making exercise over.

I think for my blog, I'll close with things for which I am thankful. The hope is that it will set me on my way with a smile - and if anyone reads this, maybe they'll be happy to have made my list. If you do, thanks!

Sarah wakes up and is thankful for:

Good time lovin' easy to please quick with a laugh and a good joke kinda friends. The trip to OBX - to see Scott and Steph who I never realize how much I miss until I see them. Not wanting to have a drink today. The weather gods - spring and winter in one week. Twinkling Christmas lights. Ugg boots. Napping children. Being okay with feeling yucky and doing something about it. And, as always, the love of my life, Kev.

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