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My life is not perfect, not even close; that doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot to be thankful for.
The past few years I have been soul searching, trying to push and pull everything together in a manner I thought I wanted. It has been a time when I have attempted to open my mind and learn about life from other perspectives. For a bit I was upset and frustrated with life, but mostly at myself.
The dreams I let pass weighed heavy on my heart, the decisions I have made that turned into bad choices were not fading away, words that were never spoken haunted me, and the life that I wanted to live started to seem impossible.
I was beginning to feel stagnant. And frustrated. And disappointed. And most of all angry. At which point I simply let everything compile and I was crushed under the weight of it. I had a melt down, a fabulous let it go, cry-my-heart-out, change everything melt down. When that was done, I thought for a long time, then let I myself cry a bit more.
After the tears were gone I was able to gather my thoughts and see all the blessings in my life that had been hidden by the complications I thought I needed and wanted. Granted, my life was not at a point where I wanted to stay, but it was a place that I could continue to grow from now that the confusion had been cleared.
I understand that I have an uphill battle and most days I will be met head-on by challenges that would easily break most people. I can choose to let them weigh me back down to the breaking point or I can accept them and let them challenge me to be a stronger person.
It is these same challenges that many take for granted, myself included for a time. They are opportunities, rather freedoms, that many will never encounter. For these freedoms I am extremely grateful.
They are opportunities that challenge me to be a better person and allow me to follow my evolving dreams; but they are in no way free. They were fought for long ago and are still being upheld today by those who care enough about them to sacrifice everything so that others might one day have an opportunity for something more.
My ambition often gets the best of me. The past few months have not been an exception.
At the end of November, amidst a bout of insomnia, I began to chart out my game plan for after the holidays. I told myself "after the holidays" simply because I knew that I had family coming to town and I tend to hibernate under a large boulder during December, not wanting to create any unnecessary human interaction. Looking back, I should have started my game plan then, even a small chunk, so when the time came I would not be jumping directly into the deep end.
The time has come, and gone, and past the horizon of when I would have wanted to start. The plan has multiple aspects; in retrospect, there might be a bit much even for me in my most ambitious and functional state of being-neither of which I am currently in.
Today I have tried to focus on perspective. Yes, my To Do list seems to double over night, which at times is incredibly frustrating. But I need to remember to celebrate what I am able to take on and have accomplished.
The focus of my multifaceted plan is help me center my needs and wants; it is possible to tie them together and find some resemblance of harmony. While whirling away at the daily tasks I have found that most often my frustrations, and more than occasional tears, have come from my sense of vacancy. There are certain parts of my life that if ignored tend to come back and scream "Hey, you there, you need me!"
I was able to break down my needs into three general categories: physical release, a creative outlet, and a way to provide for or take care of myself. Getting my frustrations narrowed into sections with given names helped relieve an inordinate about if anxiety.
Then I needed to take all those abstract ideas that float in and out of my head and transform them into concrete wants. Once these too had names, it gave me freedom to groom them into melding with my needs. If I am able to connect those large concepts then the needs become something that I want to do and I look forward to working with rather than dreading the activities and trying to find ways to avoid them.
I have struggled with finding my balance off and on for years. It seems that once I get a decent rhythm going that life happens and poof it vanishes. I am a creative person who comes from a long line of analytical people, thus my inner parts struggling to dominate does not surprise me. I yearn to create and live flexibly, yet I have an undeniable force to control and organize. My life tends to hover between two extremes: overly organized and labeled to complete disarray and overstocked.
This past week has held a few minor milestones for me physically and mentally; yet I have struggled to recognize those in the shadow of having more that I need or want to do. I am too preoccupied with the next task or goal that I have forgotten to be present in my life now as it is happening. It has led me to not enjoy the beautiful life that I have before me.
I have made goals to change in hopes of not feeling like I was wasting my life by just being or doing only the bare minimum. What good is being able to dream if I don't try to pursue them? It will take time for my dreams to unfold; each part needing its own support, dedication, and celebration.
My being human has allowed me the opportunity to dream and have the ability to do and see so much in this world; it has also provided me with the ability to err. It is up to me how to respond: will I view this day as an accomplishment or as a failure?
Today, I am choosing to be present in my life and celebrate my small victories.
I quit my job a little over 7 weeks ago. Voluntary unemployment. I loved my job, I loved the people I worked with and the people I helped. Yet I had questioned leaving it to pursue other things for quite some time. Actually following through with the commitment was extremely daunting.
The morning of my first day “off” I actually cried and didn’t know what to do with myself. Granted I had a project list a mile long and appointments to attend, but I still felt like I was not where I was supposed to be. The second day was a little better; but I still questioned my actions-had I made the right decision? It took me over a week for the reality of chosen unemployment in hopes of nontraditional employment to set in.
It has been a definite adjustment. And I am realizing although I yearn for creative freedom and flexibility that I do need a schedule, or minimally a routine, in order for my OCD tendencies to feel satisfied. If I spend all day with my head in the clouds the laundry, the dishes, and feeding the dogs don’t always get done in appropriate time. This chaos then leads me to want to go to the other extreme: deep clean the carpets, apply fresh caulk the showers, and spring clean all the drains-none of which are crucial as far as daily functioning goes.
I also find that I need a regular physical release as well. It helps balance my mental and emotion states; without it I tend to become overly anxious and, frankly, extremely irritable. At first I tried using my physical release as a treat of sorts, if I get This or That completed then I can go for a run. But it didn’t work and I only ended up more upset because I wasn’t able to finish anything and I didn’t get an adrenaline release.
Upon reflection, I realized that I am looking at things slightly off albeit with good intentions. It’s not that I am “too busy” to get all of my To Do list accomplished (both needs and wants are included on this massive tally), I just didn’t have things set in the right priority. In fact, most things were simply hodge-podged together in no particular order, except perhaps the order that my mind produced them.
In order to be functional I needed to set priorities, at least a rough routine, and boundaries. It is ok to allow myself flexibility and if not everything gets finished from my list on a daily basis it is not the end of the world. Granted, being able to see the list dwindling is huge for me-to be able to feel and see that I have made progress toward something allows me to keep up my momentum…otherwise I have a tendency to stay hidden under my rock and fester.
And so, it is finally happening. I jumped into the risky world of the unknown. It was scary, and at times it still is. I didn’t have a concrete plan, but I knew something needed to change in order to get me where I want and need to be. But I didn’t have a set path in order to get from point A to point B. I made the leap because the timing worked out as such. If it hadn’t played into my life this way, I wouldn’t have had the courage to leave and pursue something new.
As I tend to be stubborn in my independent ways, I don’t know that I would have fully followed through if someone had told me that I needed to have my game plan set and account for all possibilities before I made this life changing decision. I had my few weeks of transition time, pretty much holed up inside my home only completing the absolute necessary tasks. I consider this time to be my growth stage, my leap forward, hopefully similar to the change a caterpillar makes inside its chrysalis. Although I haven’t fully emerged yet, I have made the conscious decision to push forward in my endeavors.
I will never make it to point B, where I want to be, if I don’t start putting pushing forward, even if that means I leave the comfort of my hobbit hole in order to claim my new hobbit hole located elsewhere.
Today, that first step begins in the comforts of my home dusting off my computer and beginning to write again. It is a small but monumental step for me. I have held my breath for over a year; the time has come to no longer be in limbo but to finally continue onward with my new life.
It has been said "to not write is to die."
I have wondered that if in my absense of writing I have let part if myself die. My mind then wanders to the weight of this statement, contemplating it's significance and permanence.
Is this death similar to that of a plant, in which the visible part has withered away from lack if nutrients while there is another part hidden deep away in the roots that might hold some ounce of life? Or rather, does this death mimic menopause, where over time my creativity has dwindled away, leaving me with major necessary adaptations and barrenness?
Over the past week almost 50,000 acres have burned down due to a lightening strike. To date 112 structures have been lost. The county fair grounds have been turned into an evacuee camp for four legged and two legged creatures alike.
The ridge where my home and work were to be has been evacuated because the fire finally jumped the Poudre river. 200 acres have burned thus far. The goal is structure protection; this is key because of all the pine beetle kill. Ironically the past two months had been spent spraying for pine beetles in hope to save the trees that haven't been aflicted. Now, instead of an insect resculpting the land it is a wildfire.
For today, I breath in smokey air but sigh a short breath of minimal relief as my animals and I are safe for the time being.