Thursday, January 26, 2012
I love my job. There, I've said it. I also loved being able to do so much freelance writing in a previous incarnation but, in all honesty, I don't really miss it. That is not to say that I won't go back, or that I will always do what I do now--but for the time being 50-60 hours a week (conservative estimate) of focusing on human rights, social justice and progressive social change is more than consuming...
As my 45th birthday approaches, I have been stealing a little time to think about this idea of being "middle aged" and where I fit into the world now. I feel like my capacity for getting work done is as large as ever, but my ability to settle down, focus and pace myself is far more developed than it was in my 20's or even 30's. I still make mistakes or find myself trying to figure out how I can do a better job of motivating, mobilizing, or strategizing but I am no longer a young person wondering what I should be doing--the problems are clear, the solutions are not so clear, but the need for effort is obvious!
There is so much to learn in this ever-changing world--sometimes I get impatient around how slow or erratic things can be. Alas, people don't always move at the pace or in the direction I think they should but I figure it works out fairly because I don't always move at the pace or direction other people think I should. When the thought of being 45 truly sinks in, I get a jolt of panic--there is so much more to do and so little time to do it! I start pulling out my metaphorical pocket watch and jumping up and down like the White Rabbit: Let's go!
I have always told my kids that life is not a race and it's not. There are things we can influence and things we cannot (I have learned that we ordinary folk have more influence than we have been led to believe, however.) I know I am extremely lucky to wake up each day with a busy calendar, a list of things to do that is longer than anything I could ever actually get done, and full life where all the pieces bump around against each other and struggle for attention, and an inspiring team of family, friends, cohorts and compadres to share in the journey. I am reminding myself that while it may not be a race, it is perfectly okay that I get jittery, excited and eager to get off the starting blocks every day!
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
When my kids were still living at home, even in the tumultuous teenage years, we had a rhythm too. We'd generally clean and purge their toys and clothes before Christmas and then get the house and our lives in order before they went back to school in January. Of course, my kids were used to me--my tendency to need order, my determination that dirty laundry wouldn't pile up and everything would have a "home," my obsession with systems to keep things clicking along at a relatively organized pace and I was used to them and their individual personalities. When Teri and I partnered and moved in together, it took us a while, but we've basically created our own agreements, culture and understanding of how domestic life gets lived. But, it is no longer just the two of us.
Teri and I have found ourselves very focused lately on this idea of sanctuary; of bolstering our surroundings to support positive energy and the way we feel about each other and our lives. We've been sorting and cleaning, making decisions about new furniture, rugs, curtains and rearranging things. We finally asked ourselves if our need to do all this now has anything to do with trying to control our home environment since we no longer have the sort of easy energy that we've been used to. I know it sounds kind of woo woo, but we both really value peace and think of our home as our fortifying sanctuary. My kids used to tease me about my use of the word "haven"--I would say, "Our home is our haven!" as a way of bringing things back from the brink of chaos. Family life and living socially in relationship with others can be a bit chaotic, but it can also be pleasant, peaceful and positive and that is really what Teri and I value. Even when we first moved in together and we were struggling to put together two completely different and separate lives, we kept the focus on the fact that we both wanted to get through to the other side; we both wanted the same result.
So, we are bumping along a little now in the attempt to both accept things as they are and recreate the sort of environment that feels good and right for us. We keep turning back toward each other in our way--sometimes with a little bickering, nudging and frustration and sometimes with a sense of absolute teamwork. For us, the outside world is where we do battle and take on the big stuff--home is where we get to be ourselves, enjoy the people we love, and wrap ourselves in the positive healing energy of space and stuff. Home is the sanctuary...