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Love Notes: Precious Time

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I nearly quit my job last Monday. Over nothing particularly crazy or extraordinary. A whole bunch of little, tiny, rather stupid things that I let get to me. Some I can control, others are out of my hands and not worth mulling over. I came home, harrumphed onto the couch and allowed my preposterous mood to fester. When Alex came home, it didn’t take long to realize he was pretty much on the same wavelength as me. We had a talk. About him, mostly, but it opened my eyes. Something wasn’t right.

It’s not that my job is horrible. Or my life. In fact, we are rather grateful and happy at where we are in our marriage, in our lives, in our jobs. But there’s this part of our lives right now that just hasn’t been satisfied. And that’s when we made a tiny, yet extremely significant shift in our outlook. That’s when we made one statement, to one another, that changes our marriage, our lives, our jobs within 12 hours.

We took control of our lives. Together.

For the past few years, our busy schedules, our multiple jobs, our classes and professional developments…. these things controlled our lives. We woke up solely to go to work five, sometimes six or seven, days a week. Free time occurred if we chose to abandon daily household chores, forget about the gym and force our eyes to stay open for just… an… hour… longer. We lived to work. Eat, Sleep, Work. Lather, rinse, repeat. And we were so exhausted that we couldn’t see where we’d led ourselves astray. Or to really see who we’d become.

So we turned off the Oriole’s game, tucked ourselves in, and fell asleep with a plan. The alarm sounded two hours earlier than usual. By the time I walked out the door for work at 7:20, my husband and I had already completed a 45 minute workout at the gym, showered, sat down to a proper breakfast of eggs, tomatoes, sourdough toast and baked apple slices, cleaned the kitchen, and cuddled the cats while having a discussion about nothing wild or controversial…. together. We kissed, said “I love you” and drove our separate ways.

This is our new routine. And tacking those 2 hours onto the front of our day, rather than the back of the day when we often run out of time, has been the greatest decision we have ever made.

Are we entirely satisfied? No. There are moves, career changes and a growing family still awaiting us in our dreams. If we had the choice, we wouldn’t live here. We wouldn’t work these jobs. We wouldn’t have this schedule. But if we only live one life, and there are no guarantees in this one life, we better start loving what we’ve got. Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have.

So the fifth hour certainly isn’t our first choice but it is better than squeezing in a life when everything else is over (or ignored). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… if you look really hard, you’ll find the word rut in routine. Yet, sometimes, if the routine is controlled by what you love and whom you love, rather than work, money, responsibilities, the rest of that stuff shines brighter, finishes quicker, and fades into the background.  

*photo credit: Jodi Miller Photography*

Escaping Neverland

I’ve been thinking a lot about the act of being a grown-up lately. It seems as though Peter Pan is tiptoeing in my shadow as I shuffle around through the house. He’s been following me to work, recently, too. As incognito as he tries to be, that tiny boyish body lurking behind my feet, we’ve been stepping on each other’s toes.

And when I pause to relax for a moment, there he is, perched atop my foot. He dangles his legs over the side of my arch and stretches out, arms behind his head. He likes to relax.

I can see it on Peter’s concerned face as I rush through the monotony of life day by day. He doesn’t like this grown-up business. No, not at all.

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I wish I could tell him to call Tink over and we’ll just fly to Neverland on some fairy dust. But I don’t think it would be right to leave all of this important grown-up stuff behind.

The grown-up me understands that the cats won’t do my chores while I’m gone all day. If I decide to plop my butt on the couch all evening, the dishes won’t be done, the laundry won’t leave the dryer and the cat litter won’t be scooped.

The grown-up me has learned that a job is necessary in order to spend money because it doesn’t grow on the tree in the backyard. She understands the value of a budget, the horror of bill paying, and the feeling of seeing your entire paycheck spent on said bills. And she understands that regardless of what she brings in, she will feel like she never, ever has enough of it.

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The grown-up me has to watch the news because she can’t rely on her innocent, naive idyllic views to guide her through this world. She waits for people to gain her trust and she doesn’t give anyone the benefit of the doubt.

The grown-up me isn’t friends with everyone. And not everyone is friends with her. This is particularly strange for Pan. But she is beginning to understand that this is perfectly okay. In fact, she’s starting to understand the difference between cordiality, acquaintances, and friends. And that word friend- it’s a pretty strong word for a grown-up.

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The grown-up me understands that behind playing house and nesting like it’s her job, there are dirty baseboards, unfinished house projects and a slew of ugly, technical, elbow grease jobs that must be done. She’s starting to figure out this homeownership thing- turns out it’s pretty complicated.

All of that, she’s starting to realize, is okay.

You see, the grown-up me has a husband who kisses her forehead every morning when he leaves for work, two cats that sleep under the covers beside her each night, a scrumptious repertoire of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and deserts, a big girl job that leaves her exhausted each night, and the luxury of being in complete control of her life.

I’m starting to grow into the grown-up me and it seems to fit rather well. I think it’s time Peter Pan found another shadow to inhabit.

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*Filed under Personal Life*

While The World Lies Waiting

There is something very solemn about taking down the Christmas decorations.  Quick and painless.  Yet, we want to welcome our next Christmas with the warmth of this last, so we are careful to organize and pack neatly.  The nutcrackers rest peacefully side by side.  The ornaments are arranged by category- woodland creatures, jingle bells, santas, souvenirs and snowflakes.  Even the cats seem sad as we quietly undo what it seems we just did.

There is a depression and unspoken anger that comes with January.  The grey, dull world is hard to handle in the midst of Christmastime financial recovery and post-celebratory regrets.  Life returns to a very mundane state of existence.  At least, that is what it feels like after the holidays’ end.  Family and friends go into hiding as the weather chills.  The excuse of procrastinating no longer validates the growing to-do’s and should-do’s. 

I like January.  I like January because if December lasted all year, I wouldn’t love it as much as I do.  I like January because it’s a shock of reality.  The living room always seems 10 feet larger than before as soon as the tree goes.  The entire house takes on a brand new light, clutter free and fresh.  Now that I am moving slower, I see potential in what I was too preoccupied to see before.  I like January because I like the shock and wake up call that reminds me that I love my life.  Not the get-together-for-the-holidays life.  I love my boring, anticlimatic, daily routine.  It’s easy to forget these types of loves in the midst of December.

So, while the world lies waiting, I will live.

    

*Filed under Personal Life*