Life Balance: a feat we try to achieve while searching to be the best that we can we, while simultaneously raising our children to do the same. This is the equilibrium in our inner life force whereby our heartbeat matches the divine force that exists all around us. When this life balance peaks, our sense of peace, joy, love and wisdom act as one with our very soul.
"After all, it is those who have a deep and real inner life who are best able to deal with the irritating details of outer life."--Evelyn Underhill
Welcome. I haven't blogged in over a year and what a year it was. I had started a new job at that time and was 6 months into a large project of flipping into a new website for a company with 14 car lines and 80,000 products. In May 2009, when I last wrote a blog, I assumed I was 4-5 months away from the flip and would be too busy for a couple of months to blog. I thought it was a minor delay, maybe miss it for a few weeks. And I was already sick at that time, with female issues that gave me larges cysts and a non-stop cycle for 13 months. I ended up having a hysterectomy and going on my second stint of disability in my first year at my new job. Who does that? Somehow, I lived through the project and flipped the website 14 months later.
During that time, my boys each grew several inches, my daughter didn't and my husband was laid off and 6 months later, went back to work at company we thought he was through with 2 years before. We faced another downsizing as our income was 30% less and yet we had the same bills and the same kids growing and needing things. Somehow, we will find even more strength as this recession continues and expands, encompassing new avenues & areas everyday. Prices go up, taxes get larger belies that need constant feeding and all we can do is keep reassessing what we spend money on now and what we will spend money on in future. Welcome to the 21st century.
As a woman of a certain age, I am caught in the drama more than some. Every decision feels like a Buffalo Bills Superbowl in the last quarter, with 2 minutes left and only time for one more hail Mary pass. Nothing seems to impact just me, but takes on the lives of everyone around me, from spouse to kids to parents to friendships. How much to rebuild savings & retirement? How to direct kids activities and choices so they will not only get into college but will succeed and like it? How to help aging parents and support friends with illnesses, disabilities and death of loved ones? How to succeed at work so I have stable income? How to learn things so I will keep working for many years to come, avoiding being pushed aside in my 50's and 60's? How to keep my body healthy and strong and teach my kids to do the same?
I used to think getting my kids to college, being there for my parents, and getting through today was all I needed to do, and the rest would take care of itself. All would happen in good time. Then friends started dying and time seemed to compress. Don't get me wrong, I've seen death before. I lost a close brother at 25. I watched my close high school friend bury her Mom at 20 and her Dad at 21. I've seen the stupid tragedies of drunken drivers and stupid accidents. It all seemed distant.
Until last week when suddenly lost a hairdresser of 20 years. Aurora had taken care of my husband's family for 35 years. I inherited her when I got married. She did all the kids first haircuts. Just before she died of cancer, she did my daughter's first highlights, the ones I swore I would make her wait until 16 for. I'm glad I gave in at 13 and that Aurora got to do them. I talked with Aurora about life like I seldom take the time to do with anyone else, since after all, Aurora had me for 2-3 hours at a shot 8 or 9 times a year. How often do we sit down with our spouses or friends and just talk for hours like that?
I kept thinking about Aurora in the week since her funeral. She just kept popping into my head as I ran through my life. In the last week, I had 5 baseball/softball games, twins birthdays and one birthday party. I had a broken car and a broken dryer and too much work with no time to do it. I ran from item to item. I just keep saying yes to everyone and doing more. Yes, I can live without a dryer for 6 weeks since its only me impacted and we have so many other things to take care. Sure, I handle my car breaking down. I'll get up at 5, drive my husband to work in his truck at 6 and drive everyone around at 5 after my 9 hour day. Sure, I can make it to Walmart at 10 PM for birthday presents. I can make it more games, get a dryer and now go get groceries at 5 pm on a Saturday.
There I am in Wegman's--after driving an hour to get tickets for a concert for my eldest and stopping at 2 stores to do so--getting groceries. My brain is on warp speed. I am thinking of my to-do list and lack of money this week due to a car repair, "Okay, get stuff here, then go to Aldi's, then cook dinner, then wash laundry, then go see a concert, then get up at 6 so I can get to the gym finally, go see my parents, drive to Chautauqua, and oh yes, get back to cook Sunday dinner and do more for the week". This is my weekend. I am at the checkout, admiring the blackberries in the cart in front of me, thinking, I wish I can gone at 8 AM to the farmer's market and got some stuff, I bet the blackberries would be cheap. I am thinking blackberries would be good with my strawberries, bananas and blueberries I picked up.And then I start to put stuff on the checkout belt, my chicken, beef, sausage, lunch meat, sweet potatoes, my leeks.
Leeks? I didn't get leeks.
There's onions too, and lettuce and asparagus. Crap, I picked up someone Else's cart. I have a whole cart of produce that is not mine and I never noticed. I walked the whole store and never looked down. I am sure I also missed the panicky person in produce who was trying to figure out where their cart went.
I joke with the cashier that I am done shopping for the day. He's clueless at 16 and unaware how bad I feel about the mistake but I am also upset about being on auto pilot. "So you just don't want this stuff?" Yes, I don't want it and someone else will. I feel so bad, but under it all, I am thinking, cut it out. Go home, you are so fried you are not even aware of your surroundings. What else are you missing? How did you let this happen?
I stopped turning on my creativity. I stopped drumming up my spirituality, I stopped going to church. I stopped talking to God. I stopped seeing my children and took them places instead. I stopped living for me and thought living for others was enough, was right, was what I what supposed to be doing.
Sarah Ban Breathnach wrote some awesome books in the early 90's on Simple Abundance. I thought it was about downsizing when I saw it on New Year's day in a used bookstore. What's its really about is finding you and keeping you, the real you that God intended. Abundance is there for all of us, and its not in the running around to baseball games or Walmart at 10pm or in the 70 hour work week in your downsized Fortune 500 company. Its in the authentic us under all the jobs at work we didn't do or the laundry we never folded, its the one that's funny and creative and a joy to talk with. The one who loves to watch House reruns with her son and drink wine while admiring her friend Lynne's garden. The one who used to blog and doesn't take the time.
She's back and its about time.