I am dying to write and this is what I can manage today.
Top 10 Profound Thoughts for You Today
1. You asked about community, in the context of Ancient Greece. I've been meaning to write a chez d'oeuvre on my views pertinent to this matter. These views were crystallized not only while I was walking around our formerly shared neighborhood on Halloween (talk about an occasion that will get you fired back up for the community spirit) and as I've conducted my business this fall/early winter, simultaneously sharing meaningful moments with family and friends and feeling it's a good thing to be held accountable to others while also knowing how important it is to have the choice to turn away from the mob once in a while. Here's where I'm at on that one, and this is to be continued: Modern Community is defined by choice -- we can move to new communities, interact with our family in the way that we choose to, and define our individual selves within or by community. This modern freedom makes the way we take on "Community" an even greater responsibility or opportunity.
2. You mentioned the way you're enjoying your own little mini-community of just the family while you are out there finding your way. Can I just say for the record that: Right now, there is no greater pleasure or sense of well-being for me than sitting in my house or being on some mundane errand with just me and one or both of my two kids -- ? This is kind of scary, because I fully realize that this kind of time with them, as it is for us right now, is limited. And I just don't feel as "right" in any other context. Even when I have free time I feel better running their laundry or planning their dinner or arranging for our next weekend adventure than doing almost anything else. I suppose this is what happens to moms. What's become of me?
3. I heard yesterday that the third Monday in January is statistically the most depressing day of the year. Yesterday that day was the celebration of Martin Luther King's birthday, also my beau John's birthday, and I had the distinct pleasure of having my 3-year-old niece with me all day. It was warm and temperate and we went sledding. Birthday dinner plans were cancelled due to John's daughter being sick. We all had the day off of work and school. All was well. Maybe it's just symbolized by the droopy Christmas Tree still sitting in my living room, or maybe it's just the Wisconsin sports killing us softly (Packers had an almost perfect season and just lost rather shockingly in the playoffs -- I know it's not your thing necessarily but it does affect morale for my greater community, and myself, and kind of pushes that "why is my life/sports team not perfect and beautiful and always toiling to no glorious end" button) but there is something a bit drab and gloomy about this time of year.
4. That being said, I did set a pretty kick-ass New Year's Resolution this year and it seems to be working out. So inspiration has not totally left the scene. It's all about time management. Idea being that I have actually created blocks of time for my job, for my business, for my domestic stuff, for working out, etc. -- and plan to stick to those blocks to avoid what happened last year which was one big soup of simultaneous efforts and agendas going on. I truly think this is already making a difference in my life. My friend Crystal says if you want to do something or want something to happen, you have to create space for it. So, in the interest of attending to all of my little mini-agendas, I'm creating special spots for each of them so they have "space" to develop. I'll keep you posted. But the fact that I am writing on this blog right now is one example of how this might work.
5. I think it might be okay in my time management plan, however, to replace work outs with shoveling. I don't really know if it's an equivalent amount or quality of exercise, but it's something, and it's pretty much impossible to stick to a plan around here when you wake up and have an hour of shoveling to somehow fit into your schedule. I suppose you really relate to this right now out there in sunny California. Remember that whole game of feeling so accomplished and sticking your mittens on the heat vent to dry after shoveling, getting cleaned up and ready to go out to do something, getting your kids ready to go, then opening your front door with just enough time to get to your next engagement only to find that the plows had come and deposited eight inches of hard, dense, crusty mud-snow at the foot of your driveway. Yeah, you miss it here. I knew it.
6. I absolutely must become accomplished in writing now because it's my only hope to salvage respectability as someone with a hint of coolness and a chance at "making it" in any way more note-able than just being a decent professional and a great mom and a generally good person. I would be perfectly happy with that good person option, mind you, it's just that I am now 34.5 years old, too broke to have any style or plans for exotic adventures, and too happily sucked in to just being a mom and a normal middle American person (see number 2 above) to really even see a path toward any unique accomplishment or hip contribution or wild and crazy narrative. Except, of course, sitting my ass in front of this laptop and starting to say something worthwhile that might actually get me somewhere unexpected. I think I may have the ability and some decent things to say. Let me know if you have any thoughts on this.
7. Relevant to numbers 1 through 4 above, I miss you. I'm not hangin with too many women these days, and you may recall that the moms that I hang with are mostly 10 years older than me. I need somebody who really knows me and cares about me and gets that my narrative is a little off the beaten path to help me figure some things out these days. For example, how the hell should I look at my life trajectory right now? Should I try to get some form of "settled down" established so that my kids can go off to college with a feeling that they have that stable base that middle-class kids are supposed to feel? Or should I say -- when I turn 40, my two kids will already be in college so I am going to go do some crazy shit that I didn't get to do when I was 25? Or -- ? Now I have a friend or two who are completely in favor of the latter (live for YOU and your one special life and adventure) and then have other very important people in my life who wouldn't even understand any option other than the married-with-a-house-and-a-401(K)-and-matching-dishes version of life -- which, I might add, I am still self-consciously far from. Again, I welcome your thoughts.
8. I picked up that book Flow again. I love the idea of engaged activity and I'm getting better at putting that whole theory to practice. Here's the part I'm hung up on. Best possible satisfaction and experience comes from the correct cross-section of adequately high expectations, and adequately high skills in reaching those expectations. So if you rock low expectations, not so satisfying. If you fail to meet inappropriately high expectations, also not good. This pertains to #7 above, but how do we set high enough expectations to create adequate challenge but still have a good shot at reaching them?
9. What the hell is the deal with long-term relationships? I have no idea what I am doing here. Help!
10. All of this expounding aside, I just want to say for the record that all I really want is for my family to be happy, healthy, and successful (in grounded terms), to get to spend time with interesting people who I love, to have enough money in the bank to not worry about it, and to be pretty sure I made things better in the world and not worse. I'd also like to create one thing to be proud of (in addition to my kids). And, I'd like to see the world a bit and learn more about this great mystery that we all experience, so I can create even better stuff based on all that exposure. Considering these foundations and my desire to properly address #s 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, and 9 above, I've determined that I'd really, really like to get me and the kids out there in the next year or so, and possibly even convince you and the boys to take a drive over the border with us. Little MX adventure?
That's all for now, Ab. Life is good and never ceases to challenge. Glad I've got you, even if remotely for now.