Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Cleaning the Windows.

“It’s almost gone.”

When it comes to calendars, October is the mean girl who stole my boyfriend. Yes, there’s that. But it’s always been a challenging month … a collision of professional and personal mayhem that stretches me beyond the limits of my patience and my well-honed ability to take on far more than what is reasonable and healthy. 

This one has been no exception. But there is one tiny little difference. I find myself far less content to shoulder the load without complaint. 

I wish I could lay claim to some simple solution, to be able to point to one little corner of my world that is the culprit. But it’s not that simple. From sun up to sun down, I referee, validate and make my world hum along its busy course.

“So is October.”

I’m making hard choices that will be harder before they get better. I’m carving out tiny little slices of time for me, little by little edging to a more equitable balance that is healthy and rewarding and deserved. I’m pushing to have my needs, my wants, my preferences recognized and considered and I’m holding myself back from my innate desire to smooth the bumps in everyone’s road. And I’m poring over calendars to escape the world for a moment or two.

All while watching the spot on the window.

When I first saw it, I couldn’t help but laugh and consider the irony. With no window ledge above or below and panes flat to the side of the building three stories up, I came back from a 7-day road trip to discover that something I imagine has roots in the Jurassic age managed to leave its mark, dripping in a foot-long-and-several-inches-wide mass of nasty, chunky white and black. 

With each day and each rainstorm it has faded and all that’s left now are traces, a faint silhouette.

Just like October.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Survive. Thrive. Repeat.

I am, quite literally, exactly where I was seven years ago at this very moment.

Now before you send wine and well wishes (scratch that, send the wine anyway), I’m not sitting here crying in my glass. I am, however, acutely aware of the irony of the moment. I’m typing on my computer, sitting on the couch, with the TV on in the background.

Then. Now.

I won’t deny that I dislike October and that I am impatiently eager to get tomorrow over and done with. Like clockwork, when the calendar turns with the leaves, my body begins a not-so-gentle slide into exhaustion and discomfort for the first 24 days of the month, a frustrating state that I seem unable to stop or control. A lack of control that only amplifies the strain. Sleep eludes me. My patience grows thinner. I choose avoidance over acceptance. And in the final week I fill every moment of every day to keep my mind from wandering to the where and whens that changed my life. 

And then on the 25th morning I open my eyes. Like the first snowfall, fresh and new. 

All this to say that I am not discontent. I am, in fact, wrapped warmly in the life that I have rebuilt. I made hard choices about my career and I’ve successfully re-launched into the social sphere. Thing 1 and Thing 2 are filled with joy and fully immersed in the art of living and the only area of underperformance is fulfilling their longstanding desire that I land myself a proper man. 

And there’s the rub. 

I am delightfully happy, sometimes frustrated, quiet, loud, joyful and thoughtful. There are still those moments, the firsts that we overcome and the moments of remembrance that will forever be woven into who we are. I am excited about our future, too excited in that I inevitably and consistently set myself up for disappointment. But perhaps it is that when you come from the very depths of despair, you cannot stop yourself from chasing joy with an abandon that ends sometimes with a sting, sometimes with success.

Tomorrow morning we will wake and watch hundreds of people celebrate him. And we will watch quietly with pride and thanks and know that what will always be an ominous day on the calendar for us has been reborn because we’ve chosen to make it count. 

But what they won’t realize is that they aren’t just celebrating him. 

They are celebrating us because we survived and we’re thriving and we’re living a wonderful life.