Saturday, December 12, 2009

Roots

Today officially marks one month of being unemployed. What a month. What a week! Wow, I expected a big change, lots of introspection, self reflection, emotions, and new found freedom and happiness. Oh ya, I got it. After almost a full year of being in beyond uncomfortable limbo and wondering when my job was going to end, all with keeping up a happy understanding smile on my face listening that little voice in my head saying "you should be grateful to have a job so suck it up and feel blessed" all the while wanting to scream "THIS SUCKS!!!!", I was completely drained...and a little nutty, to say the least.

It's so conflicting when you hear about the terrible economy, people losing their houses, blowing through every last penny of their savings, and job cuts job cuts job cuts, but all the while wishing my job would be done already because the slow soul-sucking torture was doing a number on my mental state. I couldn't help it - I needed to move on with my life
.

Right now, a month in, it's all about taking off my big stack of "hats" and just focusing on me. ME. I'm only taking care of the necessities on my "must" list (paying bills, school obligations, food in the fridge) and ignoring the "should list" (organize my paid bills, plan new and exciting meals). Recently, my wonderful friend Amy, who always thinks of everyone else but herself, did just that. With a painful back injury leaving her in total agony, she didn't want to let down her staff by not
being there for them, so she worked through the excruciating pain and cried in the car on the way home. She finally said enough is enough and had her doctor take her out of work for a month so she can, GASP!!, get better and put herself first for once. She took off all of the hats - boss, employee, mom, wife, caretaker, daughter, etc., etc., etc.- and just looked after "Amy". Now, that's what I'm talking about.

But, honestly, while I'm fully aware that I'm about to go down this exciting new path, I've been feeling rather stuck. Now that I have this tremendous opportunity to sort of reinvent myself, it's almost so overwhelming that I don't know where to begin. While I can't help but think that maybe it's simply okay to just do nothing right now with no pressure and be fine with that, it's still a strange and foreign feeling.


A few days ago, I was reminded how my beloved grandmother lived. She found total joy in the littlest of things. She lived simply (a product of the Great Depression) and truly found great pleasure in the simplest of things. She often exclaimed the word "super!", hummed her favorite songs as she washed the sink full of dishes, and usually gave people a big genuine hug as a greeting when she met them for the first time. She felt uncomfortable saying a bad word about anyone, didn't like to talk about anything bad in the past, and was always on to the next thing with full enthusiasm. Me, the often over-serious one, both envied and questioned her joy, as it was hard to understand how she could get so excited about a great coupon deal, a new tv movie of the week, or a handmade scribbled card. Only now I wonder, have I been a fraud writing about "the small stuff" when I don't even come close to the way she appreciated the little things? Compared to her, am I just full of crap? Where I might smile and feel relaxed making cookies with my kids, she would squeal, sing, and laugh a happy laugh. Am I missing something? Am I being way too hard on myself?


When it comes down to it, I cannot compare myself to my grandma, but I can take a lesson from her. Where I do notice the little things, maybe I can feel it more - feel the joy - take it out my head and feel more with my heart. I'm certain it's time to take it to the next level and that's a good thing. I can't think of a better way to begin my new journey, besides winning the lottery, than to find and be open to feeling the pure joy first. It's like getting down to the basics - a good happy place - and building myself up from there.

Now that I've had this major revelation this week, I honestly feel different - like I'm healing, renewing, and preparing to move forward. Like today, with pouring rain outside, I felt no desire to go out or do anything on my "should" list. I told my husband to get up with the kids so I could read in bed for a while (I didn't ask...I told!). I read for an hour and a half. I never do that! My kids beg me to let them paint? Sure. Only this time, I paint with them. So cathartic, I tell you! They decide the painting subject would be a tree. My picture is at the top, Talia's is here (she likes to copy what I do):And yea! for Quinn expressing his unique, more abstract interpretation of a tree:Quite fitting, don't you think? Painting about a tree with the firmly planted roots being necessary in order to grow and flourish and branch out reaching higher and higher. Oh damn, there I go in my head again. Okay, bottom line, it was really really really nice painting with my kids today and they thought I was pretty darn super for joining in their fun.

4 comments:

  1. Beautiful, Daria. The pics and the words and the thoughts. Life can be tough, but you bring a lot of joy to others. I'm happy you're choosing to feel life's joys deeply yourself. Gramma lives on in you. xoxoxox

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  2. Your post is really heartfelt. You have to be number ONE and put yourself first. It sounds selfish but it's really not. I remember when I first moved up north and was working PT. Life was so simple! I hardly had any money but I got by with what I needed.
    Now we have the stress of trying to keep our house.
    I love the pictures. My favorite is Talia's I would love to frame that and hang it up. I love it!

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  3. I am with Liz. I miss the simple stuff. Perhaps I will jump onto this theme with my first post back on my blog (crediting you, of course) as it seems so fitting.

    I also think, as I told you in person, that it's hard as a mom to feel joy in the present with so many things tugging at us. But... it can be done. It takes 28 days to break a habit, right? And if we really work at replacing old habits with new ones, there's studies that show that the neurons in our brains literally rewire.

    I believe as moms we subconsciously brace for disaster. It's in our DNA. "Must be sure bear does not steal baby in cave." It's protective, but in keeping us from hurting, it keeps us from joy, too.

    Knowing where you are means you are at least on the road. It may be a very long path, but you can take it one step at a time and head in the right direction. (Unlike many who are sitting there with their head spinning at all the choices.)

    In closing, while you journey, remember that the road really never ends. There's detours and curves. And like your quote here: I can't think of a better way to begin my new journey, besides winning the lottery, than to find and be open to feeling the pure joy first..." I totally get it. But... I personally feel that real joy can be found in absolute devastation and loss - not just when we get good things. It's not easy, of course, but that's real enlightenment. We have been taught "Don't Worry, Be Happy" and perhaps we need to learn to Live and Let Live... and not set ourselves up for unrealistic expectations of what joy is.

    My two cents that got long. I can't wait to journey down the path with you! (Let's just stop for a Diet Coke under a tree at some point. Too much emotional hiking drains me.)

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  4. Beautiful reflections, Daria. I know what you mean about really feeling the moment. Sometimes you just have to put it all aside and paint, or dance, or sing with them. I love their art, really, its awesome!

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Thoughts?