Living in the moment

April 3, 2009 at 9:42 am (Stuff that's on my mind) (, , )

For so long, I lived in perpetual chaos.  Rushing to get somewhere, stressing over meeting a deadline, worrying about someone dropping in before the house looked “decent” (forget about “perfect”!), trying to do it all … because this is what women do, right?

My thoughts were consumed with the future…

– what do I prepare for dinner tonight? 

– how can I juggle everything to get that project done by Thursday? 

– I’m donating blood and stressing because I’m going to be late for my next appointment in 30 minutes.  Can I FORCE this blood to leave my body any faster through sheer willpower alone?

… and regrets and guilt about the past…

– one of Malcolm’s customers dropped by and I was embarrassed by the latest load of laundry still piled high on the sofa, exactly where I left it when I brought it from the dryer, intending to fold it and put it away … before I got sidetracked;

– I had to work late to meet a deadline.  That left Malcolm alone all evening, and by the time I got home, he was already in bed, sound asleep.  And the guilt I felt wasn’t because it was so late when I finally got there – he gets up for work at 1:00 a.m., so he goes to bed at an insanely early hour – nor was it because he’s incapable of being alone … it’s just that home with him is where I really wanted to be;

– I was tired when I left the office … too tired to make a five-minute stop to put gas in the car.  Then the next day I’d stress over whether I had enough gas left to get back to the filling station … where IS that extra gas can, anyway? … and IS there any gas left in it? … just in case???

Though not of my own design, and certainly not of  my own wishes, my life has slowed down lately.  Drastically.  But I’m beginning to realize this is okay.  For the first time in a long time, I’m beginning to live in the moment.  I’m appreciating the small things.  The things that I took for granted every day.  The things I never gave a moment’s thought to.  Like ….

– when I close my eyes and inhale the intoxicating aroma of a freshly brewed cup of coffee, time freezes for that one exquisite moment, and everything in my world is completely right;

– when I open my front door and take that first step outside, I feel the sun on my face, smell a mixture of fading winter and emerging spring, and hear the sound of melting, dripping snow mingled with the joyous music of precocious songbirds;

– when I go about my daily housekeeping chores, with gospel music blaring to keep me company, I sing along at full volume and actually listen to the lyrics, sometimes truly hearing them for the first time…

I have begun discovering the joy of living in the moment.  And with it, peace.  Because when I’m focusing only on the moment, I don’t stress about the past.  I don’t worry about the future.  I am here.  Now.  And for these short moments in time, I am fully alive, and that’s all that really matters.

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I’m never too old to learn

March 30, 2009 at 6:24 am (Stuff that's on my mind) (, , , )

So … due to company cutbacks, I’ve been officially retired for almost two months now, and I have to say, I’ve learned some things about myself I may never have stumbled upon had I still been working.

Back in the earliest days of this life-changing event, I never would have said something positive could come out of the darkest moments of my life.  If it’s really true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, I should be the world’s strongest living woman at this point.  After surviving the numbing shock, the disbelief, the incredible pain, the disillusionment, the anger, and all the tears, I am beginning to discover an inner strength I long suspected was there, but had never actually been tested.

I am learning that although I have many options available to me for future employment, I am fortunate that I don’t have to settle for the first opportunity that comes my way.  I am learning that I’m willing to sacrifice a higher income for a more balanced work/home life.  And while it is absolutely terrifying to take those first few steps to venture outside my comfort zone, I am learning the subsequent ones are much easier.

And on a related note, it has been proven to me yet again that my wonderful, adoring husband is infinitely patient, incredibly understanding … and a really, really good hugger!  He is my anchor, and I can’t imagine going through this without him.

Bottom line … in spite of recent events, or perhaps because of them, life is good.  In fact, it’s arguably better than before.  And that’s something I never would have believed just two short months ago.

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