I recently loaned my copy of Life After Yes by Aidan Donnelly Rowley to a friend. As I packed it up to take with me, I took a moment to thumb through and read the passages I had underlined and made notes on for the Motherese book club. I came across this passage:
This is how happiness comes-in small moments, in fierce flashes. It’s not a state of being, not remotely permanent.
I nodded and sighed at the truth of it. I’ve written before about my relationship with random clarity, fleeting moments of overwhelming calmness and the sense that all is right and as it should be. They are my happy times. But more than that, they illustrate my desire for complete acceptance with my life.
Life for me is never static. For some reason I live on a roller coaster of emotions and events that keep me from catching my breath. Some of this is self-inflicted, but much is beyond my control. As I grow older and weary of the constant fluctuations, I long for a period of stability and the opportunity to just coast.
Over the weekend I had dinner with one of my closest girlfriends. We have both been so busy that we hadn’t seen each other in what seemed like weeks. I had so much to talk about. She, thankfully, let me rattle on. For more than three hours I chattered away about all the things that have been happening. I hardly came up for air. At the end of our evening she told me, “Too much. This is too much. You need to just slow it down for a while.”
She’s right. I’m weary, torn, and run ragged as I’m pulled in too many directions. It’s making me emotional again. This afternoon as I gear up for my return to work and a crazy week of commuting, working and coping I cried. It’s too much and it’s making me sick. Once again my heart is racing to keep up and the panic is taking over. I can’t keep up.
Because of this madness, I lose sight of the happy moments. They become more temporary, less frequent. In my rush to keep up, I’m forgetting what really matters. My children, my family and me.
It’s been a particularly stressful summer. My extended family is facing some difficult struggles. Some we’ve been through before, some that are new and scary. Work is challenging for reasons I can’t discuss here. My boys are busy and overwhelming as boys tend to be. I haven’t had control of my domestic responsibilities in ages. And I miss my husband. He’s here of course, but our lives are so busy we hardly get to talk and connect.
How did I get here? Only a couple of months ago, I was radiating. But here I am again. It snuck up on me and I feel as though I have more swimming to do than ever before to reach my surface. The feeling of being submerged in a sea of responsibility and never catching a breath that I thought I had learned to keep it at bay is back. In the chaos, I’ve lost the perspective that I gained through the spring.
I realize now that it requires constant vigilance to maintain one’s equilibrium, to keep focused on being healthy. You can never let up, it takes work to stay happy. I also realize that it’s time to ask the hard questions and to really prioritize and embrace change. My week of vacation at least offered me that perspective. For that I’m grateful. I’m certain now of what I have to do.
Image: Formel 1 – NÃ¼rburgring 2009 – Ring+Racer via a Creative Commons license.