Several medical practices now do their pre-recorded appointment confirmations in the evening, meaning my phone blasted at me at 7:32 PM to let me know I have an appointment Tuesday. The voice cheerfully added that I could call during normal office hours if I had any “questions or concerns.” You know, I have a ton of those at the moment– but I’m not sure the doctor can really help.
I don’t like fall and winter; they’re bleak, cold, and confining (physically and mentally, at least for me). The weather is taking a turn for the worse (or what I call worse, I suppose) at just the time that I’m trying to turn a corner for the better– but, seriously, “turning a corner for the better” turns out to be more complex than an Escher drawing.
How do you actually get to better, what does better look like, and how long is this going to take?
Those are the questions to STOP asking, I think.
As I was getting out of the car today, an old New Year’s Eve concert was playing on the radio. When I parked, it was only a few minutes to midnight, so I just sat it out to hear the New Year ’76 come in. The band played right up to midnight, with Springsteen (of course) counting down the seconds. I expected that to be the end of the concert: it was the New Year, so that’s the natural end, right? Wrong. Applause, yells, and they go into the the next song. It’s a new year, but the concert goes on.
And that’s pretty much what you have to do when anything big or small occurs: acknowledge it, celebrate it if it’s called for, play through it, and keep going. You can’t just stop.
I’ve been getting the “celebrate your successes” talk a lot lately, which is a prepackaged deal with the “don’t compare” one. My plan (cough) is usually to head A–>Z and to skip the intervening letters; I somehow always fail to notice that this really doesn’t work. However, stopping and working through all the letters in between is frustrating in the extreme at times.
One of my more frequent tantrums/complaints/refrains involves how aware I am of what the other people living around me are doing: heading out to work, coming home, going out. I also wonder what they must think of me: after all, I look just fine (and nailing medical information to my front door à la Wittenberg is neither smart nor necessary). I did lie to at least two people I can think of last week (not people who live here), that I can think of immediately, about having a job; it’s easier than trying to tell any sanitized version of the truth, not to mention a whole lot less embarrassing.
Forcing myself to slow down and say that something is “good” while I’m muttering in my head “not really” is migraine-inducing. I end up writing this out daily, which turns out not to be a bad exercise: if it’s the only way you can see your own context and therefore get an appropriate perspective, give it a try.
Every time you do compare your “bad” day to someone else’s perceived day (at your apartment, on social media), you’re building up a context that may or may not be real and really is probably largely you filling in the blanks based on a snapshot. Everyone’s high tide and low tide marks are different (and I’m sure I’m telling you things you know, but I’m also journaling-as-therapy here).
Now is not where I want to be forever, and it’s hard to sit with “now” at the moment– a lot of the time. There’s also not much point in making now completely insufferable, because it increases the chances that I’ll just draw this process out longer. Things I’m doing now may seem like pointless distractions or silly things that just pass the time, but they’re filling in cracks that have been building up for years. Until I fill those cracks, I can’t build anything else up.
If you’re working through something at the moment, or even just sitting inside being driven batty by dreary rain, now might be a good time to take a micro view of any cracks that need attending to. Keep playing the concert through the winter; don’t hang it up now, don’t call it quits.
So I’m trying (not always successfully; the beginning of this week was rocky) to stop questioning when I’m going to turn this magic corner and to stop being so concerned with how whatever I’m doing measures up. I can either do what works for me right now, or I can fall flat on my face. Only one of these is a good option. I can make this moment miserable by agonizing over what I could/should be doing, or I can sit with what I’ve got and can do and try to at least be at peace (or perhaps I should call it a truce). Only one of these is a good option.
Happy fall, everyone.