253 /// Autumn for a Day

I woke this morning to drizzling rain and a chill that had crept throughout the house. Quite a change from the record heat wave we suffered only two short days ago. This taste of autumn won’t last though. Summer has never left the front range so quietly as that. We’ll see days 30 degrees warmer by the work week’s start.

So, it’s officially a lazy Saturday, and not by accident this time, but by conscious choice. I know that taking a day for myself means giving up a day later, but I need it—desperately. The school year has been off to a particularly hard start this year.

I’m spending the day under warm blankets with hot cups of tea, bad movies, and internet rabbit holes.

Many of those rabbit holes are of my own making. I’m organizing my Are.na channels and sifting through old blocks. There are interests I have abandoned and new ones waiting to be named. I have old concepts that have revealed new threads and new concepts waiting for categorization and context.

I’d like to make a little progress through James Baldwin’s Collected Essays too. He’s a fascinating man, one of my favorite “Great Minds“, but he isn’t always easy to follow. The places he leads are the place where we are most hurt, most raw. It’s uncomfortable to face and your instinct is always to fight or fly or freeze, so if you really want to be changed you have to give yourself time to acclimate. It’s a slow journey.

As all journeys are—as all journeys should be. Growth takes time as the old truism goes. It’s one of the great tragedies of human existence. By the time you have finally gotten your heart and mind into a good place, your body is ready to fail you. I’m sure I will be no different. Not at this pace, and certainly not with so little discipline. Some things are beyond even time to change.

Luckily, there are other joys in life.

254 // Dividing and Balancing

The weather has improved today. More fall like than winter, which is an improvement over the past few days, but I’d prefer the warmth and sunshine of summer were back.

The week can’t pass by fast enough. I’m in one of those moods where I’d rather be anywhere else and doing anything else other than working. There is nothing particularly irritating or stressful happening at my day job. I just have so much more going on in my personal life and so much I need to do, for both myself and others, that anything I do here feels almost pointless.

I don’t want to feel that way though. I know my work is important and I have always felt fulfilled by it. I don’t want to lose that feeling or focus. I don’t want to always wish I was somewhere else. Doing my best work no matter what the task or goal has always been a source of pride for me and slipping into producing work of low quality or substance would result in profound disappointment in myself.

I suppose I have to work on dividing and balancing my work and home life, though I’ve never been a believer that the two are or should be separate. There is only life, and it happens to you all the time and wherever you are, but I guess some thoughts and emotions, worries and preoccupations must be cast aside from time to time so we might attend to other more urgent or important matters.

They may not even need to be cast aside, but simply allowed to come and pass without resistance or obsession.

253 // Time to Decompress

It’s my bi-monthly infusion day, which means I spent the morning hanging out with the nurses in the oncology/hematology department getting my 8-week dose of medication before heading home to rest through the late morning and early afternoon hours.

I always take off from work on my infusion days. Not just because I’m tired after, but because the clinic and the fact that I have to go there at all can be so depressing I need time to decompress from the procedure and return to feeling normal.

The nurse asked me how I was doing and how my symptoms were faring. I laughed, though I didn’t mean to. I just didn’t think he really wanted to hear how I was really doing. I gave him the light version but even then, just hearing ugly description of what my life has been like until now felt distressing and disturbing.

I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to catch up on my half of the responsibilities in the house. I used to hate chores but now going through the house, room to room, organizing and disinfecting is its own kind of medication and salve for both the body and soul. I needed it more than I knew.

Life continues to throw bad news my way, but I’m determined not to let myself get emotionally wrapped up in lives I’m not living. Most of what I stress about isn’t mine to fix or worry over, but I can’t help wanting to make the world right for those I love, and I can’t help blaming myself when I can’t. I’m trying to remember not every problem is mine to fix and not every challenge is mine to face. My role can be supportive, even if all I can do is support you all the way to rock bottom.

Knowing myself, though, the willpower and resolve won’t last. I can’t help who I am at the core, for better or worse, I have to do something. I just hope I choose the right thing. I hope I don’t risk the work and relationships I cherish the most.

Today was made of many small fortunes. The route I rode this morning was a long overdue reminder that this job can be both fun and rewarding if you put forth the effort to make it so. Of course, I knew that, but it’s been a long time since I felt it.

There was plenty of work to do around the office when I got back but none of it was hard and all of it made me feel proud and useful. There was time to read afterward and despite my fatigue I was still able to be cherry and social with my coworkers.

I took advantage of the rare opportunity to go home early today and promptly wasted it on an accidental nap. Oh well, it’s not like I’d have had the time on a normal day anyway and it’s not like I did nothing at all. Small chores and catching up on reading count for something, don’t they?

The evening is less easy but there is still good here too. I’m going off to bed only wishing we were further along in the workweek. As for the rest, I am content.