January 31, 2009
Not only is it already the year 2009, which is right before the year TWENTY TEN (!!!), but it is also January 31st, which is practically almost February and I need to slow down and breathe or all the sudden it will be summer and I'll be wondering when my New Year's resolutions will start and why is another year gone already?
Because I think 2010 -- TWENTY TEN!!!! -- is going to be a really great year. That doesn't say much for the year we are currently in, year not-twenty-ten. Is it just me? Or does 2009 feel like a gap year, where there's so much housecleaning and hard work you have to do?
I am not sure why I am so fixated on this. Maybe it's because even though I have opted out of the recession there is still a part of me subconsciously soaking up the gloomy news about 2009? Or maybe it's because I know how busy and full this 2009 is because I have a calendar and eyesight and I am already tired from looking at it. It feels like I need an attitude adjustment but I don't even know where to start.
So I decided to vacuum. At 5 a.m. I love to vacuum, which probably makes me weird and perverted in ways I don't even want to acknowledge. But it's so fulfilling! You can actually see and feel and smell the difference as you're doing it. Taking vitamins and exercising are supposed to be fulfilling but you don't take your multivitamin and feel instantly better. And maybe you love the way you feel after exercising, but I just feel sweaty and in dire need of a bath. But vacuuming is like nerdy nirvana -- one minute you see the cat litter trailed onto the carpet and the next minute it's gone! Eradicated! Vanquished!
The floors aren't the only things I vacuum, either. I use all the attachments and I dust my keyboard, clean the slats in the wooden shutters, remove dust off the air vent in the hallway. Vacuuming feels like conquering, I can see my progress as I go.
There's something incredibly gratifying about having a clean house. It makes me feel like I have my domain under control, like I can at least count on getting one thing right, that knowing where all the pots and pans and shoes go and having things in their place is some kind of internal order which might one day spring forth and vomit into my daily life of disorder and chaos. Anyway, it's a good theory, achieving order by osmosis.
The biggest dilemma I seem to have right now is finding a way to be completely at ease (if that's even possible) with uncertainty. So many things are uncertain and aside from knowing where the shoes and pans and silverware go (and aside from my neurotic love of vacuuming), not much else feels very stable or permanent or real. So it's as if I have arrived at this big crossroads -- no, not a crossroads, that's too poetic. This is one of those huge freeway intersections with multiple on-ramps and off-ramps and detours and some road construction thrown in, and it's poorly marked and oh, it's also rush hour -- and my choices are:
1) Become completely panicked and freak out. Then make some random decision that has no basis at all in reason or meaning but is a DECISION. The Decider!
2) Find some way to be at peace with the knowledge that I am not sure which route to take and have no idea how I managed to find myself at this intersection. And just keep moving toward whatever seems better and hope it all works out OK.
3) Pull over on the side of the road and pray for wine.
I'm a naturally inclined optimist so I am going to select Choice #2 and hope it all works out, because it always seems to work out somehow. I just want to find that peace that lets a person be OK with not knowing, peace with uncertainty. In the past when I got all messy and chaotic and "how did I get here where the heck am I going?" I used to make decisions just to do anything at all, because doing something seemed like a plan, like action, like a solution. But all it meant was a change of scenery, usually, or a new boss or boyfriend or house or whatever, and it became just a method to distract me from driving the car of my life.
Sometimes instead of deciding some random thing on my own, I would stop and ask people for directions. I would actually let other people tell me what they thought about my life and what I should do. These were people I probably wouldn't take actual driving directions from! Funny. Sad. Thank God I stopped doing that.
So anyway. I'm not taking any real action, unless you include vacuuming. I'm not asking for opinions. I am not even sure where I am, except that it is the tail end of January, 2009 which feels a little murky and I know there is some stuff that needs to be worked out and I don't want to panic on the freeway. So to speak. I'm just trying to be still from time to time and listen.
Maybe the whole point of all this is to teach me how to be at ease with the rapidly moving current of uncertainty and instability which is commonly known as "real life." Maybe this is that time people talk about in their lives between where they used to be and where they are going. It's an in-between place. For me, I think that in-between place is 2009.
Just in case though, it still wouldn't hurt to pray for wine.
Posted by laurie at January 31, 2009 12:23 PM