Sundays are for catnaps. For boutique browsing. For sun soaking. For book diving.
As I lay in bed, that mid-afternoon sun pushing through the blinds and Chloe girl at my feet, I think about how many Sundays have come and gone since I have written last.
Perhaps one of the saddest parts of growing up is how all too often we allow ourselves to become completely engulfed in responsibility and people pleasing, to the point of breakdown, before we pause and reevaluate.
That is where I find myself on this particular Sunday. Slowly climbing my way back to mental clarity; breathing slightly deeper and pausing a little longer. In fact, it is quite telling how much the power of saying NO has been directed at my own self lately.
I have been addicted to “busy” for years. The feeling that productivity is everything and if I am not constantly one step ahead of myself, I am failing. What is that saying…….”Never become so busy making a living that you forget to make a life”? GUILTY. AS. CHARGED.
That is, until I found myself sobbing uncontrollably at night; sick with stress; wanting to run and hide every chance I could. But no matter how far I ran, the burnout was inevitably there waiting. The flawed thinking, the skewed priorities, and the knee-jerk life reactions that were embedded in me like a tick.
So here I am, yet again, finding my way back to myself.
“Heal yourself first. The rest will come later.”
Covid has me stopping to smell the roses much more these days. Snapped these this week.
Frazzled, knotted, enmeshed. Thoughts like vines, sure to suffocate.
The complexity of sustaining both warmth and gloom.
Hopeful. Helpless. Intrigued. Indifferent.
Letting each one rise until it exhausts itself, then passes like dust in the wind.
Revered for the spark they ignite; good to better. dark to enlightened.
No longer do I resist the transient waves.
May the tide lead me back home.
Wednesday morning. It’s 10:00am and I am sipping my homemade espresso with almond milk froth on top and just a dash of cinnamon. Funny to think I used to spend $5 a day on this habit that has so quickly become an enjoyable do-it-yourself task. Leaning back on the patio loveseat, I stretch my legs out to absorb the sunlight that streams in ever so generously this time of morning. There is a stillness outside that at first I found eery, yet now I’ve come to embrace.
I have been hesitant to write about this new “normal” that we are all, in our own ways, trying to navigate through during this unprecedented time period. Mostly because, up to this point, it’s provided me with many more positives than negatives. I suppose part of me feels a tinge of guilt from that fact. Knowing how many people have lost their jobs, have had to suffer decreased income, who have lost family members and friends from the pandemic, and of course for the health care workers who have had to witness a magnitude of innocent people die very much alone. I feel I should be grieving alongside them all.
Every morning I wake with gratitude. That myself and my boys are healthy, that we have plenty of food to sustain us, a cozy home to enjoy together while we are quarantined, and that I have remained fully employed, despite the economic state. I have spent the greater part of the past six years in particular, with a thankful heart. But this experience has deepened that sense for me, and brought me back in touch with the simplest of life’s pleasures. A fast paced nation with unparalleled momentum, at a sudden standstill. I walk outside and see father’s playing catch with their sons on a Tuesday afternoon, mothers and daughters enjoying coffee and conversation on their patios, and couples walking together in the evenings laughing and conversing. And I can’t help but think, at what cost we have found contentment.
Part of me yearns to return to the old normal, ready to join my girlfriends for happy hour, backyard bbq’s, and crowded coffee shops in the morning. But during this “great pause” as it’s been deemed…..I can’t help but contemplate this one piece of advice:
“In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.” – Dave Hollis
So as the days pass, quiet in my home, sans the distractions I’ve become accustomed to, I welcome the silence; the stillness. I breathe it in and from it I exhale a newfound love for life. Far from vibrant days in the city surrounded by tourists, the acoustic music of the street performers, the aroma of fresh coffee and food. This is life. The life we all have waiting for us when we get home, when we are our truest, most authentic selves. How we receive this opportunity to return to our true selves paves the way for a society of PRESENT individuals.
Happy Earth Day
Tuesdays are the new Fridays. Or so I tell myself….
I’ve scored a cozy window seat here at the Rambler….a unique GastroPub next to the Zeppelin hotel on Geary St.
I came to study…although I have allowed myself more distractions than I should. I told myself just this morning that I am only allowed to drink on Fridays. Well…that Hotel California (their lovely little spin on an Old Fashioned) was just calling my name. And boy did it not disappoint! You know when you drink whiskey how you get that immediate warmth in your chest? Well it slipped me into the relaxation I needed to shake what’s been weighing me the past three days.
It’s February. The month of love to some; the month of loss to me. Although I don’t outwardly project or even necessarily feel grief, it’s inevitably there. Exactly one week from today, it will be seven whole years on this planet without my Father. I get by knowing how proud he’d be. Of me, of my boys. I miss him, but man am I thankful for the parts of him I wear so proudly.
Back to the table. Laptop center focus, but promptly placed in front of me are a perfectly plated array of warm, marinated olives. God I love this city. I am IN LOVE. The options are limitless (as long as you’re game to explore them). The amount of cozy spots I can retreat to after work are abundant. I feel more at home here amongst a plethora of strangers strolling the streets, than I do my hometown.
I am seven weeks into school, almost done with my first “session”, two accelerated classes of eight weeks each. Some weeks I have no idea how I’m holding my sanity together. Other weeks all I have to do is quickly remind myself what I’m capable of, then I smash through my assignments with my head held high as the sky. I have already learned so much, educationally, as well as about myself.
Again with the table….any woman knows the key to curing any sort of hormonal or emotional “funk” is carbs. So naturally I order their summer squash pizza, with arugula, and caramelized onions. OH. MY. LANTA. (In the words of DJ Tanner…I don’t care if I’m aging myself). Heavenly is an understatement. THIS, this is my Eat, Pray, Love moment. You know the scene when she tells her friend that they are going to eat and enjoy the pizza, then go shopping for bigger pants? Or the moment she makes love to her pasta, all alone, without a care in the world? Took me a while, but that movie now has a special place in my heart. Simply because I GET IT. And I am more or less LIVING IT.
I have also fallen in love with Seattle. I see myself moving there when the kids are grown and I am slowly gravitating my next steps toward that goal. And as fate has it…two older ladies just sat next to me and I hear one mention her hairdresser in Seattle. In normal Melissa fashion, I politely interject myself. And sure enough, she lives in Seattle. Grew up there in fact!! Ever so often the Universe drops these hints to me, and I hear them, Universe, loud and clear. Maybe it’s Dad…..let’s go with that.
Life is full of ups and downs….this month, this moment, being a prime example. You can take the bad (like grief) and you can take it for what it is, but sweeten it with all of the good. And man is the good, pretty great.