Sunday, November 21, 2010

When Does an Anomaly Become the Norm?

A year ago I wrote a blog titled Fake It ‘Til You Feel It about trying to put joy back into my life. Well, a year has gone by and I’m still trying. This year has been an emotional roller coaster ride with a lot of downhills. Now, as we enter the holiday season, I’m reminded anew that I’m still not feeling the joy and awe that I would normally say is a part of my persona.

As I’ve sat thinking about this lack of joy this morning I’ve realized something. Lately I’ve been busy – busy, busy, busy! Laundry, housecleaning, shopping, cooking, volunteer duties, bookkeeping – busy, busy, busy! I’d even considered writing a blog about going through life being busy, getting things done and how good that feels. This morning I realized that I’ve kept myself busy, busy, busy because it’s easier to be busy than to open the door of my soul to check on what’s going on inside. When I opened that door I found that I’m no farther along the path to joy than I was a year ago and I’m worried – when does an anomaly become the norm?

Yesterday, while my husband and I were out for a walk, an old man came toward us on the path. As he approached, he tipped his hat and, with a huge smile, said, “Good morning! Have a wonderful day now!” I said to my husband that there was an example of how I used to be and how I want to be again. My husband responded that the old man had probably not always felt that way; he’d probably had down times, too.

I’m not willing to accept this “down time” as my norm. I wish I could put the busy, busy, busy behind me and just go sit on a mountain top for a few days to figure out where I’ve misplaced my joy. That’s not entirely possible, but a few hours of quiet this morning to think and reflect have done wonders. I will continue to consider this current frame of mind an anomaly, not my norm; I will open the door to my soul and clean out the cobwebs; I will go out, smile and tip my hat; I will fake it ‘til I feel it – and I will feel it!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Homecoming -- More on Perspective

A friend posted on Facebook yesterday that her son (who is in the military) and his wife will be arriving home today for a week’s stay. When reading her post, I could sense my friend’s excitement at the anticipation of this upcoming visit. This post came on the heels of my oldest daughter’s arrival home from college the day before for a six-day visit, so I completely understand the joy of having an adult child return home.

We have three children who no longer live at home and one more that is only home on a temporary basis. Should the need arise, any of them would, of course, be welcomed back home, but I understand that they need to grow up, move on and live their own lives. However, I also know that I love to have any of them come for a visit; it doesn’t matter whether it’s a six-day visit from out-of-town or just a visit for dinner (or free lunch food) from across the river – my “mommy feathers” plump up at the news that a visit is upcoming.

As I’ve acknowledged this feeling of joy at having a grown-up child return home I’ve thought back to my own childhood home and the feelings I had in going back as a young adult with the knowledge I now have of how my mom must have felt whenever I’d return home. I always loved going home for a visit and I loved having my mom take care of me, even though sometimes I felt smothered by her care or obstinate in my belief that my way of living – in many ways different from hers – was the really true “right way”. I know now that I probably hurt my mom’s feelings a time or two either by not being as gracious as I could have been about her desire to see me or by changing my plans last minute so that a planned visit either didn’t occur or was cut short.

This understanding of the two perspectives: going home as my young-adult-self and anticipating my children coming home as my adult-mom-self, is a new realization for me and I have to admit that it leaves me feeling a bit vulnerable. I realize that I’m vulnerable to the possibility of hurt and disappointment should an adult child decide not to visit home but I remember that I might have done the same thing so, hopefully, I can just growl to myself and move on (something I’m really not very good at). However, on the flip side, I can now fully appreciate my own great joy and satisfaction in having an adult child walk through the front door.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Perspective...Again!

I had foot surgery six months ago and I realized recently that I feel pretty good. Looking back, I find myself thinking that it’s great that in just six months I’m back to regular workouts (no running yet, but lots of walking), my foot feels okay most of the time and I can even wear some, not all, but some cute shoes. But then I remember how devastating I felt after the surgery and for the first several months. During that time I worried that I would never again feel good, that I’d never again be myself. I let myself dwell in a hole of pain, fear and self-pity. Now, when I look back at that time, I’m amazed that I allowed my perspective to be so skewed. When will I learn, really learn, that so much of how I feel, how I react, is just a matter of perspective? So many events in life could be handled more easily if I could just remember to think about perspective.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Quack! Quack!

A few weeks ago I was in Eugene for a Ducks’ football game. We’d gone down the night before the game in order to be at ESPN’s Game Day show bright and early the next morning. Upon arriving in town we went to dinner at a restaurant just off campus and then, on our way back to the hotel, we walked through campus. The UofO campus is really beautiful with lots of trees and grass – even a cemetery! Spirits were high on campus that evening in anticipation of Saturday’s ESPN show and the big game against Stanford. As we walked through the dark, we suddenly heard a band playing the UofO fight song off in the distance. Not having anywhere we had to be, we decided to follow the sound, even though it took us off course from the hotel. We soon found a portion of the UofO band holding an impromptu pep rally in the courtyard of one of the dorms. We stood on the sidelines and clapped along. Then, when the band moved on, we followed them. It was great fun – the music, the clapping, the energy. As I looked around at the crowds of students, I realized that it has been thirty years since I was a student there! Thirty years?!? How did that happen? But, then I realized something else: While I loved my time at UofO thirty years ago, I realized that I have enjoyed being a UofO alumni member much more than I ever enjoyed being a UofO student. As a student I was focused on the jobs at hand: studying, graduating and getting a job. Did I miss out on something by not getting involved with sports, extracurricular activities and Duck pride? Perhaps, but I did do well in school, I did graduate and I did get a job and, for the last thirty years, (actually it’s only been the last fifteen years – it took me awhile to discover my inner-Duck), I’ve been able to revel in the joys of being a Duck. Quack! Quack!