The Way We Live Now
The days are just packed. I think about these words, some of my favorites from Calvin and Hobbes, as I drive home. I’ve remembered to get gas and pick up toilet paper. I have purchased a wedding gift and a set of cleaning brushes as a result of looking inside the straw of my water bottle.
Summer is upon me.
I like to be busy, and I like the rush of completing tasks. I like the feeling of my days, heavy laden with good things, with needful things.
But these days, I fall into a dreamless sleep, exhausted at the end of the day, still feeling like I haven’t made a dent in my to-do list.
It’s easy to say that it doesn’t matter, that I have to be gracious to myself and not expect so much. But it does matter. It matters because I need to make dinner so that I can be fed. It matters because I need to go to work, to grocery shop, to put gas in my car, to balance my checkbook. I need to do dishes and laundry and clean the bathroom. As much as I need these things, I also need to see people I love. I need to read, to write and to sleep. I need to have margin, and to respond to emails.
Such is the life I live now.
I know I’m not alone in feeling this way, and that being single doesn’t mean that my challenges are somehow harder than those who are married, or have children. But my challenges are real. Though I’ve looked at it many times, it doesn’t feel like there is much that I can cut out, or simplify.
This past week was filled with celebration. My roommate had her 30th birthday and I stayed up later than I have since college, reveling in the excitement that was in the air. We host dinners at our house on Tuesdays, inviting people to come and share life, and food, with us. Once a week, I meet with a group of ladies I love, and we talk about little and big things until we are all yawning.
These days, my daydreams are of naps.
For so much of my life, I’ve been on the outskirts, the Little Match Girl, looking in the bright windows. Now, often, I’m inside, near the fire. Outside there can be too much cold, but inside, the heat sometimes overwhelms me with intensity and I step back.
I’m hovering, somewhere between yes and no, between in and out, these days. There is a lot of transition and uncertainty in my life (those are words I have been able to write with truth for the past fifteen years, and they will likely only continue to be true).
I don’t know about your life, but I’ve found that mine doesn’t go in a trajectory. My path is not straight and always upward-climbing. It meanders.
Just when I think I know where I’m going, the path winds around the other way and I’m nowhere that I expected to be.
Lately, I’ve been trying to take deep breaths. I’m trying to notice and honor the things that bother me, and the things that give me joy. I’m trying to allow myself to feel the pain, and the pleasure.
It doesn’t always help. But it keeps me alive.