Prioritize Much?

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Last weekend was a throwback to our lives of about five years ago; our house was full of people and bustling with non-stop activity.  Andrew spent a few days visiting, and Emily’s friend spent the night here on Saturday night.  I took a day of vacation on Friday, but there wasn’t a moment of quiet until late on Sunday afternoon.  While that was my normal life five years ago, the past weekend was a shock to my system.  Our lives have become quiet, peaceful, and ordered.  As much as I miss a busy household, I have come to appreciate the down time at the end of the day. It makes me realize how much has changed over the past two years.  So much.

T and I took a walk early Sunday evening. It was the first time we had been able to have a conversation alone in days.  We talked about the past weekend, and we talked about the future.  Where are we headed?  What is the next step?  We’ve made so many changes with our jobs, our home, our location, and we’re still trying to figure out exactly where it is we have landed.  Or have we really landed at all?  Is this home or is this still part of a larger transition?

Making this move was the right thing to do.  My motives were not pure, though.  I’m not sure if I was running to something or away from something.  Maybe a little of both.  Thankfully, this move has been good for my family.  The kids are all happy.  We are able to spend more time with the boys, and the girls have adjusted beautifully.  T is happier than I have seen him in years.  He loves his new job.  He’s made friends, and he has more free time than he’s had in years.  A few weeks ago, he told me that he feels like he’s semi-retired. Considering he works over 40 hours per week, this shows how much he really needed this change.

As for me, I’m not quite as happy or well-adjusted as the rest of the family.  I am unsettled.  I’m stressed out.  I’m not sleeping well, and I don’t know what I want.  If I take a step back and think about what in my life has made me happy in the past, none of those things are available to me at this point in my life.  I can’t go back to the time when I was home raising my children.  The band I once played with is no longer together.  Those were good times, but I’m not able to time travel or recreate those years.

I often wonder if I am destined to always be a step ahead or behind of really being content.  I get frustrated with myself for not just being satisfied.  We want for nothing.  We have a lovely home in a nice neighborhood.  Shouldn’t these things make me happy?  Yes, I should be happy, but it all seems kind of two-dimensional.  I feel like a sitcom family.  I have become the kind of person that I had always been secretly proud NOT to be.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about this situation over past few weeks, and T and I have spent a lot of time talking.  How much of myself do I really want to give to my career?  This job has become all-consuming.  I’m spent and exhausted at the end of each day.  Too many weekends involve some kind of work-related event.  I am overwhelmed, and I don’t feel like I am making a positive impact.  I don’t know if it’s even possible for one person to make an impact here.  I’m discouraged.  In the past, I didn’t let hurdles get in my way, but this time, I think the hurdles may be too large for me to move out of the way.  I lay awake at night analyzing and planning strategies, and I can’t seem to find a possible solution.  I am one person, and I may be in a situation that is impossible to change.  This situation is complicated, political, ingrained, illogical, and unkind.

The illness of my friend Glenn has shaken me.  Life is too short too spend time being unhappy.  In the time I have known Glenn, I have often wondered about the logic of some of the choices he has made.  He has turned down work opportunities if they would have infringed on his time with his children.  He lives in a small apartment, yet he took his kids on yearly vacations, concerts, and weekends of fun adventures.  I’m ashamed to say that I often saw those expenditures as a waste of his money.  I see it differently now.  Glenn has only a short time left to live, and I’m sure that he treasures the memories he has created with his family much more than anything he would have bought with the money he spent.  Glenn’s life may be cut short, be there is no doubt in my mind that he didn’t squander the time he has had.  He has been happy, and he loved well.  I’m not sure I could say the same thing about my own life, and that has caused me to take a step back and assess who I am, where I am, and where I am heading.

I am not unhappy; I’m just tired and stressed out.  I am discouraged.  I have been chasing something that I’m not sure I even want.  There’s no passion in my life, just empty acquisition.

Today I spent hours alone my car.  I listened to music as I drove.  There were memories attached to so many of the songs that played.  Some songs I remembered playing with a band.  I thought of musician friends, smiles, shared jokes, camaraderie, and good times.  Other songs brought back memories of loved ones, times and places from the past.  What was special about each of those memories was what I felt in my heart.  My memories were connected to my life in a way that is not present in this drone-like life I am now living.  That makes me sad.

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Week From HELL

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I went to bed early (for me) on Monday night.  I had an early morning meeting the next day followed by an evening event.  I knew that a long day was ahead of me, and I was patting myself on the back for trying my best to be rested.  I had left my phone on, as I had promised Emily, because she was working a rare overnight shift.  By 1:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning, she was texting me.  “Mom, something is really wrong.  I’m feeling so sick.”

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The Old House

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We moved back to our hometown in 1990.  We had been headed for Tennessee, but at the very last minute, we couldn’t leave.  T had been offered a job, and we had sold our first little house.  We packed up everything as we prepared to move across the country.  We loaded it all into a moving van with the help of our families.  I’ll never forget that day in 1990.  Baby Andrew was asleep in his car seat between us in the front seat as we prepared for a long drive.  We sat for a moment staring at our first house before we pulled away, and I began to cry.  My parents were not taking this move very well.  Neither were his parents.  I don’t remember who said it first, but instead of heading for Tennessee, we headed for my parents home 20 miles away.  The next day, we rented a storage unit, unloaded the truck, and began to look for a home in the town where we had once proclaimed we would never return. Continue Reading »

F-Tards

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ftard

I shut down the blog for a few months.  I needed to detach myself from those things which were causing me stress.  By detaching myself from the stress, my intention was to come home in the evening and be present in my life instead of, even for a short time, refocusing on the stress.  Did this help the situation?  Looking back over the past few months, I think it did.  The stress still exists, but over the past months I have spent time cherishing and cultivating the good things in my life. Continue Reading »

Sylvia’s Mother

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ktel

I’ve been a little obsessed with the song, Sylvia’s Mother performed by Dr. Hook for the past few days.  I have a long history with Sylvia and her mother.  The song was a track on one of the first albums I ever owned.  Yes, I had it on vinyl.  It was on my first album, K-tel’s Believe in Music – 22 Original Hits.  I had a little portable record player, and I listened to that album over and over.  Sylvia’s Mother was one of my favorite songs on the album.  I could practically feel the singer’s pain as he begged Sylvia’s mom to allow him to speak to her daughter.  I wished with all my heart that Mrs. Avery would put Sylvia on the phone.  I could imagine the caller plugging dimes into the payphone, which I was sure had to be located in a rainy, bustling place while he implored her for the chance to say goodbye.  He just wanted to say goodbye, but Mrs. Avery and the nagging operator didn’t care.  As a little girl, I felt so bad for him.  Gosh, he must have really loved Sylvia.  I wondered if I would ever break a man’s heart by marrying a fella down Galveston way.  I hoped so! Continue Reading »

The Old Piano

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lola piano

My grandparents gave me a piano over 40 years ago. I was about 5 years old.  I had shown an interest in playing any and every keyboard that was near me.  If I was in a church, I found eventually found my way to the piano.  I loved to play on my aunt’s old pump organ.  The neighbor girls were teaching me how to play on the piano in their dining room.  I’ll never forget the day Grandma and Grandpa followed the truck carrying my piano to our house.  Through eight houses or apartments, that old piano has been a part of my life.  I have pictures of me, my grandma, and my great-grandma sitting together on the bench.  There is another picture of my sweet dog, Susie, sitting next to 8-year-old me while I practiced my lesson.  My parents and I posed on the bench one year for our Christmas card photo. My long gone pets,  Abe, Hank, Pete, Puffy, and Violet all sat by my side as I played.  Boo and Pepper sit on the same bench now. Continue Reading »