summary of a day, a life

After reading some posts this morning, checking my emails, & one short hike I decided actions speak louder than words and I headed into my “bill room.” When my daughter and her family moved out it opened up possibilities for all those rooms that I hadn’t been using in >6 years. One small bedroom on the main floor was to be converted to my sewing room but that would entail moving large pieces of furniture from the bigger upstairs room so I postponed the transition work. Meanwhile, I moved the kitchen table that my daughter didn’t want to take with her into the tiny room and in the last year it has been my bill-paying-room; all my medical bills, transactions, and all other form of incessant paperwork/mail has been alternately spread out over and/or shredded/filed. Acutely aware that April 15th will be here before I want or am ready for it, I have been back-burner-ing my chore of getting in there and sorting. I don’t know why but I DETEST any sort of paperwork/filing…anything that requires me to keep a record/file, but DETEST it I do and I have never, in all my adult years, become accustomed to or reconciled that particular responsibility. And don’t get me started on the ‘junk mail’ that I get which, because I shred everything with my personal information -including my address on every piece of mail, ends up being piled up until the day I get to it.

So…I got in there and organized a ‘work space’ that included the six foot table, another small folding table to put my box file on, and the tall cardboard box that my shredder is perched atop plus two lamps placed so I can see (again, gray day here) and turned on Pandora to an instrumental music station so I didn’t have to hear my own breathing. Shortly after it occurred to me to set a timer and I decided one-hour was enough to make a dent in the project and then either take a break or just leave the rest for another day.

One hour later and the table was cleaned off (except two file-folders that need to be sorted), the shredder box is mostly full, and the dogs were pacing outside the door. I turned off the lights and got ready to take them for a walk.

29342579_1525778234197693_660763212202901504_n

While walking I try to enjoy the quiet but the committee in my brain never shuts up so I make the effort to list my gratitudes; sometimes I do this out loud only because it keeps my mind focused on the task but I usually, unconsciously, resort to ‘talking in my head’ again which eventually makes my mind wander and I have to redirect. Today I was thinking about expectations and (daily) life and growing older. I have realized without noting it specifically that I no longer have expectations such as:

  • I don’t expect nor anticipate ever meeting someone (you know, a boyfriend, partner, special person) with whom I can enjoy my golden years. I am resigned, not sadly, to my life of independence and remaining solo.
  • I don’t expect that I will ever move/have a home that I love/enjoy. I am resigned to stay where I am and make do with what I have and be grateful for it.
  • I no longer worry or even expect to retire. I have no idea if I will be this side of the ground in 10-12 years but….I do put money aside and have vague plans should retirement actually happen.
  • I no longer expect my life to change into something significant/special. I have spent years anticipating, with every major decision, that ‘things’ will suddenly all fall into place and I’ll have the kind of life that I image other people enjoy. I now know that we all have -even the “rich & famous”- our crosses to bear and things are not always what they seem nor what we want them to be. It’s a constant balancing act.
  • Each day is one big question mark with a short list of ‘things to do’. Depending on the day, work day or day off, the list is either longer or shorter and the question mark is either significant or not. I don’t have plans/expectations for the week or season or year. I just focus on the one day that is here and now and see where my actions/inactions take me.

It’s much more satisfying not having expectations (obviously because I don’t suffer disappointments) and just living in the now. I like making out a list of things-to-do for my day and then crossing them off. All the small, banal accomplishments strung together with each day is life; that’s all it is. I don’t know where and when all the hullaballoo came about ‘reaching for the stars’ or ‘becoming a somebody’ or ‘making it big’…it’s such a delusion that so many of us have/had succumbed to only to find out we are just average, everyday people with average, everyday lives. I’m okay with that now. I have finally realized my limitations and I’m much more comfortable just being me and doing the little things that I enjoy.

It’s dusk outside now and the time of day to start turning on some lights. This is usually the time I start watching a show or movie but since I’ve sat here for about an hour now I’m going to forego the typical and go do something else that needs to be done. If you’ve read this, I hope it resonates with you or maybe helps anyone who feels like their life isn’t what they want or expected. Most of us are right here with you. Just accept each day for the open opportunities that exist and don’t be so hard on yourself.

~~ addendum: two hours later:

I tackled my basement: I piled my daughter’s family’s stuff (she said they had taken “everything” so I sent a photo and a text: come get the rest this weekend) in the center, I found her/his family’s box of heirloom china that everyone got all anxious about when they moved because it was ‘gone’, shuffled around some stuff onto the now vacant shelves available for me to use – all the while a Netflix show that I can barely tolerate watching but don’t mind listening too blabbed in the background. Ah…that feels better. I should be more motivated tomorrow to continue with one mess or the other…but only for a short time…I still want to enjoy my day.

 

 

still good

I cannot believe how quickly the hours in a day go by (when I’m not at work) and it’s no wonder I don’t ‘complete’ much. Today I was waiting for a professional to come to my home (the reason is not important) between the hours of 8:00 – 12:00…yeah, sit around and wait for someone to arrive. I used the time to do my therapy workout and then, as soon as I could, I slipped away I took the kids for a quick walk close to home so I wouldn’t keep my friend waiting at our lunch rendezvous.

She was already there and had her drink (I don’t think it was her first). We sat for over two hours. I consumed two beers (didn’t really need or necessarily want the second one but we were talking so…) and she downed four mixed drinks. My friend is going through a rough patch lately. She loves her job but there’s been some “downsizing” which has effected her paycheck and she’s torn between leaving the job she loves or keeping it but getting something else to supplement her income which leaves her with less time off – which she is loath to do. I recommended she go through her budget, wants, needs, etc. and see if she can live within the one job/one paycheck she has already. She thought that was probably a good idea.

We both commiserated over the mid-life-done-what-we’re-supposed-to-do-and-now-we-want-we-want-but-not-sure-how-to-get-there….except that I didn’t really commiserate much because I’ve been feeling really good lately; once I got my head out of the clouds. One Day At A Time…more like one moment at a time because paying attention to what’s around me, what I’m doing (or going to do), and not allowing my mind to wander into the past or future is really the key. I told her that there’s no point worrying over what you can’t control or at least, if you decide to make a change, put it out there, do the work and wait for it to happen. What else can we do?

Speaking of putting stuff ‘out there’; I had said earlier to The Universe that I plan on being more spontaneous, use this time off from work more productively, find more time for my friends and just try to enjoy the life I have. So when my friend said, hey, when are you going to come to my house? I later asked her what she was going to do tomorrow (her day off) and then invited myself. I had and still do have my reservations because my friend, as I’ve already noted, likes to drink. I’m not much of a drinker: I’m three sheets to the wind easily, I get tired and have to sleep, I hate being sick, having a headache and wasting my valuable time way under the weather in a dark hole. But…I did say I’d take advantage of opportunities so I told my friend that I will drink but not get plowed. She replied, you can stay over! Okay, that’s not the point. I told her I don’t like being sick and that I’d drink but in moderation. I’d rather enjoy myself.

….Actually, while I write this I am having second thoughts.

….But that’s what I always do…have second thoughts, back out of play-dates and then bemoan the fact that I never have any fun, or hang with my friends, or take the time to create memories…with other people.

Naw…I’m going and I’m just going to have to be a big girl…watch myself, stick to my guns and maybe even leave if I am feeling uncomfortable.

We’ll see how this thing rides out.

Regarding taxes…which I was going to follow through with today once my advisor called back…well, he left a message and told me to call him tomorrow – he had a PETscan scheduled for his new cancer diagnosis. Now we’ll have something else to talk about.

So I took the kids on another longer walk through the woods and enjoyed the sunshine. What a gorgeous day!

Re-set

 The dramatic colors/shades cannot be captured in a photo.

I popped a pill last night. It was 10:30 and I was still a little wound up from reading and writing and reading more and I knew I wouldn’t sleep well before my PT appt. in the morning and I decided that I needed to re-set my brain…back into something resembling sane. Post-pill-popping, I slept until 8:30. I lied there for just a few minutes taking in the day-light that I could see through the window – cloudy and reminded myself that today is a new day…start fresh. I washed up quickly, dressed in physical therapy appropriate clothes and sat on my bed for a few minutes to center myself.

I’ve been in this weird emotional (and physical) transition and it’s really just left me unbalanced – that weird feeling when you are on the beach and the tide comes in and the sand is sucked out from under your feet…it feels really awesome and a little unnerving at the same time. I am feeling really grateful to have this time away from work to heal and get stronger and yet I am a little anxious about going back…which goes against my relatively ‘new’ habit of not being anxious or worrying about things that I cannot control.  So this morning before I left for my appointment I reminded myself to be centered, grounded and grateful but open for whatever I encounter during my day.

I had a good therapy session and I remained mostly quiet unless I was asked a question. I usually chatter a little or ask questions but today I just wanted to ‘just be’ and feel the manipulations. When I left I called my PCP to ask for a referral to the same facility/therapist for my hip/knees: my right hip is what I call ‘frozen’ (same problems I’ve had with both shoulders, not simultaneously, just not able to move them fully) and has been for at least a decade. I don’t know if it can be ‘fixed’ but I thought, while I’m already going twice a week for my arm and lymph massage, I may as well try to fix this other problem *which is really more debilitating than my shoulder.

When I got home I went for a short walk and it was freezing cold, thanks to the damp and the wind, despite a temperature of 41*. Upon returning home I played with my granddaughter for a little while but not long because I had told myself that I needed to get a start on my taxes (I can’t emphasize enough how much I detest doing taxes). I poured some Bailey’s Irish Creme into my half-left coffee and I pulled out a book I had finished reading and listening too (You Are a Badass…by Jen Sincero) and opened it up to a chapter titled Doing vs. Spewing. It’s exactly as it states…stop pissing and moaning and just do it already. I read a little to get myself charged up for this chore, cleaned off my desk, retrieved the appropriate paperwork, popped open the laptop and then decided to see if I could find a FREE tax filing product. I found a site that researched (many) programs including the big names like Turbo and H&R and decided on a new one: Credit Karma Tax – both free and, according to the site, their pick for user friendly. I started the process, which was painless as it usually is until I get to stuff I’m not sure of ~ this year its Roth/investments because last year there was a change and now I’m not sure what to do. I called my financial guy and he wasn’t available so I hit the close button and will resume tomorrow….or whenever my guy gets back to me.

I scrolled through FaceBook aka “FaceCrack,” texted some IM’s, checked my WP orange-bell, played with granddaughter again, made something to eat and just as I was thinking what will I do next I realized it’s 6pm!!! It was still light outside – which is due to the “spring ahead” from Sunday morning. Because I have had a ‘good day’ I decided that I’d write a little about it….pat myself on the back then do my exercises, hot shower and crawl into bed for a show or a movie or some more reading (BADASS). It’s been a Good day!

maybe the purpose is to ‘just be’

lone tree
permission to use by Phil Koch Photography (via Facebook)

This is how I’ve felt the last few weeks: alone and naked in the deserted landscape (of snow) trying to suck up the meager energy from the only source available. It’s getting better. I’ve gotten over the hurt (I mentioned in my last post)…mostly and I’m moving on to thinking about what I want to do with the remainder of my life.

I went to see a therapist. I thought it would be a good idea and, not that I needed an excuse but, post cancer treatment/surgery is a good time to seek the ear of an unbiased  professional. One of my most frustrating issues is why am I here, what am I supposed to do, what’s my passion? I don’t care about ‘leaving a legacy’ (she inquired), it’s about having something to do (employment/work mainly) that I enjoy and to feel respected and valued. I don’t feel that about my work; my work is a job that pays my bills and that’s all. I’m sufficiently self-aware that I have no great gifts to offer the world/mankind; I’ll not accomplish some feat, write a great book, start a business, or any other good thing that will make me feel like I’ve “done something.” I know this but it’s hard to accept it. I wondered if I’m alone – apparently not, by her response – plus, what I’ve just gone through naturally makes me more present and aware about the brevity of life and how I might want to spend my time…now, now that I’ve gone through all I have to have more time.

That was the question: it’s not a new one or one I hadn’t thought of but hearing someone else ask it made it sound different, reframed it: now that I’ve gone to these extreme measures to ‘save’ my life, Why did I do it? If I’m not going to have or do something extraordinary with my life, and there’s no reason to think I would, why am I so fixated on it?

I went home and resumed my audio book: A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle, and shortly after, these words were spoken:

Some feel a strong urge…to make an impact upon the world. … Others…lead an outwardly unremarkable, seemingly more passive and relatively uneventful existence. … Some of them find it hard to fit into this world. … Their function is to anchor the frequency of the new consciousness on this planet. … They are here to generate consciousness through the activities of ‘daily life,’ through their interactions with others as well as through “just being”. … they affect the world much more deeply than is visible on the surface of their lives.

That was two pages summed up and it really described me. I don’t know how much of this is “true” but I was, am impressed and a little relieved by the coincidence of my question and an answer. If I don’t have a passion, if I don’t feel a pull in any one direction, if I don’t know what I want to do, apparently I need to focus on my daily activities – especially spending time doing things that I enjoy, creating and being joyful in what I can do, places I can go and (positive) people with whom I can spend time…and just enjoy having a life.

The ability to think about ‘the end’ and how I’d like to reflect on – at least – the last few years of my life, I’d like to be able to feel that I spent it consciously, I enjoyed simple pleasures and I’d like to have no regrets about it.  ~ I’d like to be content.

one of, if not the last post

There’s about four hours left in this last day of April. Four hours in this last day of posts for me, in which I may post this and maybe another post — or maybe just this one ‘cuz maybe I’ll run out of time while I’m writing it. Keep your fingers crossed.

I have been writing long-hand, paper and ink, today along with a run to the store, a walk in the woods (in the rain) and some short-time baby sitting. I also got up “late,” like 10:15, because I stayed up until midnight catching-up with SURVIVOR and it has been a gray, cold day and I felt like it & it’s my day off and I am an ‘older’ adult without any responsibilities that require my early a.m. presence. So I’m the Queen of my Castle or just the comforter.

Writing: I am astonished with how well the writing-therapy gig works. Really. I have seen, in the distant past, therapists (real ones, with degrees) and it’s been largely a waste of my hard-earned-cash because I self-analyze better than anyone I know and I’m not easy on me either. Some of this deconstructive mental jack-hammering has been perfected with age, as most things are (cheese, wine, viruses), but it’s also about intention. After the few hours of writing this morning, I feel so much better. The things that were weighing on me just <poof> dissipate. Now I know for some people the problems are bigger and you can’t write them away. I get that. However, that’s not what writing-therapy is about. It doesn’t make my problems go away. It makes me see the problem from another angle and then I dissect the shit out of it. Having the open mind required to walk the fine-line of self-emotional-preservation and quit-being-a-damn-whiner is very, very helpful and it’s a good thing because this middle-aged-momma isn’t wasting more time living the go-along-to-get-along life anymore. I’m done. But, before I toss the babe out with the sputum-water, I need to make sure it’s not just me. I know my faults but I’m also aware of faults that I am not fully cognizant of in times of stress and that’s why the paper and pen are useful tools. I can’t be the only one who feels like running from something as if I’ve been doused in kerosene and lit on fire and yet, others seem to handle it better and I have to exam the why of that.

This self-therapy is going to necessitate time spent with intense focus and no distractions are allowed ~ that means you, WP followers and friends. I’m thinking the month of May will be a good time to transition from winter to summer, from disingenuous to authentic, from whiner to winner. I have to break from some unhealthy habits and develop a satisfying routine and I’ve started an outline of objectives. All that’s needed is dedication and self-discipline (oh, and time) and this is very much a continuation of my #thepowerofpresence themed posts that I have not forgotten but not specifically addressed in many of my posts that are related in subject matter. So, thank you well-wishers, virtual help is always appreciated. I hope to come back with a fresh-attitude, some stories and ideas and maybe some visual changes to my blog as well. See you all on the flip-side (or in your blog post’s comment section – I’ll make appearances there 🙂

Daily Prompt: astonish 

~ 2130 on April 30, 2018

#thepowerofpresence: day 72

I had started a ‘series’, the power of presence, several weeks ago. The intention was to occasionally write a post about the chronology of how becoming more present or ‘mindful’ each day is changing my life. Some days are better than others in this process, however, overall the change is perceptible to me (how I feel, what occupies my mind) and, I suspect, to my family but I haven’t broached the “do I seem different to you?” question yet.

This link thepowerofthought is a short post with a short video, an experiment about how thoughts effect water to ice crystals. I watched it. I think I’ve seen it before or another similar video. I’ve also seen a video with an experiment with a petri dish of jelly (or something) and electrodes to a battery and watched, in real time, how thoughts/words effected the substance as reflected on the battery voltmeter or ammeter. A summary at the end of the ice crystals experiment was thought provoking: if thoughts can effect water and our bodies are over 60% water, imagine how much (cellularly) thoughts and words effect us/our bodies.


~ Back to me.

29342579_1525778234197693_660763212202901504_n
spiritual awakenings

As I think I’ve mentioned, the orientation (two days; HR, etc., etc) at my new job was encouraging; they appeared very employee appreciative, employee driven but…well, I’m middle-aged so I’m more skeptical, jaded, wise. I was guardedly optimistic. And I was right to be guarded. I’ve been at work for five days. I am supposed to be on “orientation” to my role, my job within the organization ~ however, after a few hours of following a peer the amount of work was overwhelming so I just took an “assignment” and went off on my own. I’ve been on my own since. When I have a question, I wait until a peer is around and ask, otherwise I just deal with whatever comes up. My supervisor is taking advantage of the fact that I am seasoned. My attitude is, when I do something wrong then someone will likely tell me but I don’t feel guilty about making mistakes — which we all do anyway.

The traveler that has been instrumental in educating me about the computer system, the charging system, where equipment is located and how to use equipment that I’m not familiar with, the department process and personalities just quit yesterday. Her assignment wasn’t up for another week and half. She was disgusted with the amount of responsibility one person has taking care of patients, answering pages, being available for procedures, etc., and the lack of help or empathy by the department manager(s). Everyday I’ve been there barring one afternoon, has been hellacious; the last day we worked together — just us two, neither of us got a break (no BREAK, no lunch, etc.), it was just running from one fire to put out another and in-between do the assigned therapies. I’m not surprised she quit and I can’t say I blame her. I’m not sure I would have done the same.

My point here is: I’ve driven to work every morning, in the pre-dawn hour just as a line of dim light is squeezed on the eastern horizon between two dark panels, telling myself it’s going to be a good day, it’s a job and I can handle it, there is good and bad in everything, every job and I am grateful that I have one, that I have an income, that I like the people if not the job, that this isn’t permanent and I can take it one day at a time, that a year or so from now I might be somewhere completely different, that half the battle of ‘work’ is the people you work with, that this is the nature (now) of “healthcare” and it’s no different than my previous jobs/departments — it’s the same everywhere, it’s 12 hours a day, three days a week, it’s not that bad — could be worse.

You know what? It helps. It helps looking at the good and not focusing on the bad. It helps knowing it’s not forever. It helps being aware that what I think, how I think effects how I feel and that effects how my day goes — how my life unfolds.

Last night I was ready to leave; after reporting to the night person, I went to the bathroom and came back intending to just quickly punch-out. I got my coat and boots on and was almost at the door when the night person got a page to transfer an intubated patient now and she also had two other floors of patients to see for their evening therapies. She said over her shoulder as she headed toward the door, “If anyone wants to stay and help I’d appreciate it.” I thought, why not? I whipped off my coat and said, what do you want me to do? She asked me to transfer the patient so she could start on the floors.

As I headed up I cursed myself first for going to the bathroom instead of punching out ASAP. Then I thought that helping out isn’t going to kill me, it’s helping a peer, it’s getting me an extra fifteen — thirty minutes of paid time, it’s generating goodwill, it will hopefully come back to me when I need it, and being a positive influence in the department/the world can’t be a bad thing. It was my choice how to react to yet another interruption, another ‘fire,’ another inconvenience. I was glad of my decision when I got to the ICU because the two nurses who were right there, were the DAY shift nurses who also stayed to help out their peers. I was doing the same thing almost any other healthcare provider would do, helping out, helping a patient, being part of a team. It’s not about glory, it’s about making decisions based on ‘doing the right thing’ and knowing in my heart that it’s really a small thing in the BIG scheme of life.

So there you have it, the power of presence; being aware of my thoughts, reactions, feelings and intentions. Knowing that what I think effects how I react and how that effects others. It’s a ripple effect and I am trying to be a positive ripple in my life, in the lives I am connected to, in the universe. My daily affirmations in the form of meditation, videos, podcasts, prayer, books, blogs, and regurgitating positive thoughts in my mind, replacing the negative loop is all helping me. As I’ve said before, it’s work mentally ingesting positive information and avoiding the negative, it doesn’t come naturally but, eventually, it does, it becomes ‘habit’, a part of who I am –

~ 11:43, Wed. 3/21/18