Fall on the Water

Hello, Fall! Hello, New Me!

For some, the average evening feels like an extension of the work day – hurry home, make a meal, do dishes, fold clothes. There are never enough hours in the day, and the to-do list remains incomplete.

For others, when the final moment of work comes, they shut it down and walk away. Their time is their own with few other worries as there are others in their life to take on the tedious tasks of existing. There is never a shortage of engaging things to do; hobbies are rich and varied.

For me, I’ve been living the first. I work ten hours at my job each day and carry home more – professional work, mind- numbing paper work, exhausting emotional baggage. I then spend two hours or more on the tedious bits for a family of five. By the time I can think about bed, I don’t care about anything but sleep because in a few short hours, it starts again. Weekends are predictable with one day set for groceries/ house/ laundry, and the other set for small chores and more paper work. There is no me time.

How and when things changed for me isn’t entirely clear. I think it happened when health forced me to sit still and others to notice that ‘things’ weren’t getting done. I began delegating, but more importantly, others in my life began doing.

I knew – for a very long time before that moment – that the pattern was unsustainable and unhealthy. I just couldn’t find the time or energy to see a solution. Several intelligent people said the answer was ‘just stop doing ___’ and let it go. When everything you do is tied to the basics of living (or it feels like it), you can’t just stop. Food must be purchased, prepared, and eaten. Clothes must be washed and sorted. Daily dirt must be removed. No, the issue was deeper. I was the only one who felt responsible for these things.

The answer? Give up the mindset that if no one else does it, I must. At work, I said no. I made procedural changes that limited the menial work while automation reduced my role in the handling of it. At home, I wrote down what others could/ should be able to do. Critically, I then did not do it when there was no follow through. There are times when the are no clean forks or underwear. There are times when socks are a bit scruffy from the missed floor sweeping. Heaven knows there’s a dining table under the pile … somewhere.  However, others live here and can do a share.

At those same times when someone else hasn’t done their part, I make myself take an hour for things for me… like Fall on the Water, the picture above. I read something for fun. I walk. I garden. I stitch. Anything but pick up their pieces. It’s tough to undo the dependence I created by my desire to take care of everyone and everything. But I’m working on it.

When critical mass hits, others will have to step up. I’ll work along side anyone, but I’m done doing it alone. I refuse to miss my life, my family, and my innermost self. I’m working on living . . . Not the superhuman effort and not the super- slacker, but a me that’s balanced in between.

Hello, Me. It’s going to get better. Hang in there. Enjoy the Fall colors.

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Unexpected Pleasures

Along a country road home…

How many trips have I made through this very spot on my forty-five-minute-each-way commute?

We’ve all done it: autopilot. The trip, the timing, the daily drudgery… all have inoculated us to a present moment, a moment of beauty and everyday humility.

This sunset happens every day at this spot along my commute, but I stopped seeing it. I allowed the daily concerns and energy demands of home, family, work, and life to block my enjoyment. No more!

The moral of this blog? See your whole world and enjoy the everyday wonders you’ve forgotten or not allowed yourself to see. The recharge you will get is priceless.

Bonus! A sunrise the next day along my commute.

Who Am I?

A few short months ago, this question was a no-brainer. I knew exactly who I thought I was, where I was going, and my plan to get there. I would have ticked off a list of things I do but not what I believe.

Now? I’m not so sure… You see; I’m a work in progress.  Aren’t we all?

Here’s what I know about who I want to be.

~I am considered middle-aged by society. Most days, I disagree. I tend to feel way older. I’ve tried multiple careers. Those can define what I do, but not who I am as a person.  I want to be confident that I am the best person I can be.  Being true to my beliefs is important to me.

~Idealism fills me to the point that injustice and deceit confuse and annoy me. When someone is dishonest, it truly confounds me. Some call it being naive; I call it being optimist and pure-minded.  I want to be old, look back on my days, and say that any regrets were honest mistakes and not conscious choices.

~To escape the social rigors of the imperfect world and other stress, I read copiously. I’ll finish two or three books a week through ebooks, audio books, and print. As a result, I also love writing. Well, I’ve always loved writing, so maybe it came first. I want to use my passion and talent daily. I want to be the person who offers that escape to others while celebrating a day’s efforts that don’t feel like work.

~Being outdoors around the green and gold hues of nature recharges my soul. I fill my personal spaces with plants and pictures of the outdoors. Tending sprouts fulfills my need to nurture.  I want to be elbow deep in dirt, hiking through foliage, catching fish (big or little), or taking the perfect camera shot. Looking back will bring a smile of contentment.

~My heart is soft. My exterior may not show it as I’ve learned to guard my true self against those who intend hurt and those who are simply clueless. (Please be kind – to everyone.)  I really don’t want to change this. Caring for others is an essential human trait. Too many people have lost it. I do want to be a more openly caring person going forward. Kindness is contagious; I want to be patient zero.

Recently, I’ve begun examining what I truly want to be. I suppose most “middle-aged people” have a time of reflection like this.  Maybe not. Maybe it’s my idealism speaking.  However, I truly feel that if I don’t make changes, my life will be less. Less everything. And that’s not who I want to be

So… who am I?  I can’t share the answer yet ; I’m still figuring out who I am, we’ll I will be, and how to get there.  In part, this blog is about my journey and my moments along the way. Welcome.  It’s going to be an interesting ride.

On Feeling Small

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When it feels like all of creation is spread at your feet, how is it possible that you feel minuscule and powerless?

As I stand upon the boulder with snowy peaks blowing cold breaths on my cheeks,  the horizon fades away into distant,  mountainous shades of gray. I am both speechless and exhilarated.  The top of the world is at my feet,  but I am not the ruler here. Majestic Nature from God’s hand ranks supreme;  I am only being allowed to visit for a time.

I spent a mere hour near the grandeur of the no-name canyon standing on the locally named “Rock Point”. Yet,  my view of the world and my place in it is forever changed.