It’s no secret that I’m changing, rapidly and profoundly. I almost can’t keep up with myself. It’s possible that I’m driving others crazy with my constant discussion and self-reflection on this. But I must share and document my little epiphanies for later, because sometimes I feel these changes so intensely I wonder if they are really real. I mean, how could this be? Why, all of a sudden, are things clicking into place in a way that seemed so elusive before?
I ask myself this daily.
I can point to several specific reasons: I’m sleeping for the first time in over a year. I’m reading books and blogs that speak to me and inspire me and make me think. I’m getting help and I have energy. I’m finding my writing voice, the sun is shining, and there are exciting times on the horizon. My professional life is buzzing along with meaningful and challenging work. My children are flourishing and happy and full of personality. I know they are all part of it, important parts obviously, because they are important parts of me. But I need it to be something more, because I feel like at least some of these things could change, in a moment. And if they change, they might disturb this joyful balance and I will be left where I was. I cannot stress enough how afraid I am to go back there.
And my husband, my sweet, wise husband, says to me:
“Why do you need to know the why? Just go with it and enjoy it.”
And he’s right. My sweet, wise, generous husband.
“Fulfillment derives not from lofty achievement, but from ordinary feats. It arrives not once in a lifetime, but every moment of the livelong day.” Karen Maezen Miller
And so we come back to hand wash cold: care instructions from an ordinary life and all that I’ve learned from this book. And this important realization that came to me, seemingly from nowhere. He already gets it. He always did. And I missed it. I didn’t even notice him living it.
He already takes pleasure in the everyday moments, in the life he’s living today. He does this better than anyone I know. He doesn’t hurry. He plays with our children with abandon and complete focus. He includes them in any task without little worry for how long it will take with their help. He assumes responsibility when he needs to. By this I mean, he sweeps the floors, does the dishes, takes out the trash, puts on a load of laundry without my ever having to ask and never with complaint. He knows what needs to be done and he does it. He focuses completely on the task at hand. I tease him often for his inability to multi-task. But the joke is on me. He had it right all along. He does what needs to be done, when it needs to be done and just lets the rest wait. He’s good at it. And he’s happy.
I’ve been seeking out answers to improve my emotional well-being, to free myself from the heart palpitations I get when I feel overwhelmed and out of control, when all along they were staring me in the face. How did I miss it? Why haven’t I given him credit for being more in control and present in his life than I ever have been in my own? When did he get so wise?
I know when.
When I was too busy worrying, being preoccupied with my own thoughts and feelings and fearing that I wasn’t good enough. I failed to notice my real life and the beauty and simplicity that comes from just living. I was missing everything.