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October 1, 2010

New month (end-of-September check in)

Sitting down to write an end-of-September check in means the obvious, that it is October already and soon we'll blink and 2010 will be over. I need one of those cryogenic chambers to sleep in so the passage of time seems less fraught with droop.

September was an improvement over August, which I suppose is apparent since I'm not hiding from my update and waiting until half the month has gone by, dashing off a one-liner on a Sunday night.

I had three big lightbulbs go off in September. I'm not sure how exactly they fit into my get happy/get healthy goals for 2010 but all three seemed important enough that I wanted to take note.

Significant Realization Numero Uno
Life moves in waves, with troughs and crests and the spaces in between. Peaks and valleys for the landlocked. Not every day will be a peak day and not every day will be a valley, most of the time I'm on the way up or on the way down or somewhere in all of that. Of course different people have higher highs and lower lows but in general no one person stays in exact balance and evenness and harmony every single day.

So I had a valley this summer. I was telling Drew about it one day on the phone and he said, "Yes, the valleys. I just wish that when I'm in a valley I could see it's only a valley, only temporary."

Exactly! I need to remind myself to have faith, that things improve and change and rise and fall and it's all natural. I'm not very accepting of my low points, I tend to judge them harshly and find myself lacking on every level. But if I could see that it's only temporary -- especially when it's happening -- I think I would roll with it a little more.

Significant Realization Two
It's a process. I'm not the sort of person who indulges in hokey feel-good stuff like "it's a process." Or at least I didn't used to think that way, but I get it now. It makes sense.

Changing your whole lifestyle in a single day is one thing, but adapting to that change is a process. Losing weight is a process. Writing a novel is a process. Learning new software is a process.

Instead of berating myself for not being THERE, done, finished, accomplished, I am looking at it all with a wider lens. Or at least I am trying to, it's a big change for me. I am the sort of person who wants to wake up and be THERE already! But it's a process. And when I get there, God only knows I will already have moved on from the goal and have a new THERE to be at, pronto.

So, wide lens. Embrace the process.

Significant Realization Three
Honestly, I'm not sure how this fits into anything, but this idea surprised me. And I'm the one who thought of it! It's about stuff.

When I was working full-time and commuting hours a day and trying to squeeze in writing in between, my relationship with my stuff was very stressful. I knew I had a lot of stuff, but I didn't want to let any of it go. I worked hard, you know. And so sometimes I added to my stuff.

I justified it by saying, "I work hard, I'm never home, I don't have a social life... so I deserve this purse/yarn/trip to Timbuktu/pair of expensive shoes that look exactly like two other pairs I already own because I work hard."

It took a while of being at home -- being near all my stuff all day long -- to realize I had been holding on so tightly all that time because I was just visiting my stuff on nights and weekends.

I would buy picture frames but never have time to fill them or hang them. I bought yarn I never had time to use. I bought books I never had time to read. I bought party shoes I didn't wear because I was too tired to party. But I justified it by telling myself I deserved it for working so hard. I deserved to have and to hold my stuff.

Now I'm with my stuff all the time and I still like it but I don't have this whole crazy lady thing happening with it. I am de-stashing books and yarn, putting them aside to give away here online or to send to friends. I haven't bought anything except food and wine and consumables for months (and a Halloween costume for my mom and dad's dog of course) and I don't feel deprived or poor, even though money is not pouring in. I'm listening to the music I bought but never had time for, reading the unread books I've owned for years, making my Christmas presents with the beautiful yarn in my stash. I'm finally cooking that great roast I had in the freezer and hanging pictures. You see where I'm going with this.

It's a trade off. I definitely don't have as much money but I have time and space and I can sleep. And now that I have full-time custody of my stuff, not just visitation, I'm OK with letting a little bit of it go.

- - -

So I'm not sure what all this means for October and for the remaining three months of 2010, a year I knew would somehow change my life forever. I still don't know if it's good change or horrifying ruin-my-credit change, but at least I am changing. I have decided to think that's a good thing, since I don't know what will end up happening either way.

The stress and anxiety I still have about the vast unknowns of my future are softened around the edges. It helps that I finally have time to sleep, that I am finally writing a fiction book (!!) and it has a sequel (!!) and that I may or may not have named the most abhorrent character in the story after my old boss. Like a tribute, yes? Or an effigy. Tomato, tomahto!

Last week I had lunch with a friend and she turned to me in the middle of the conversation and said, "I don't know how to say this without it sounding odd so I'm just going to say it. Everything about you seems happier. When you talk about your book, your day, your sandwich, you just seem like a different person. So much happier."

I'll take it.

Posted by laurie at October 1, 2010 1:52 PM