Well this is just embarrassing. I wish I could chalk this long lapse in writing up to simply falling off the wagon, but really what happened was that the wagon was nuked. Obliterated. Vaporized. Went supernova. Michael Bay was knocking down my door trying to get the secret to the power behind the explosive destruction of my wagon for use in Transformers 3, it was so spectacular. So, not only did the writing here stop (I was writing elsewhere when I could though), but the weight loss momentum came to an abrupt halt, the exercising habit vanished, and much of the freelance work I had on my plate was piling up at an alarming rate. Amazingly, the only habit I was able to maintain was not biting my nails, which considering I’ve been a nail-biter my whole life is a minor miracle. I like to refer to this time as “The Battle of Midway” and if I had really learned my lesson last time, I should have seen it coming, but I broke my own prime directive: pay attention. I just didn’t realize what time it was.
April & May were roughly the mid-point of this deployment. Last deployment, I had a pretty good meltdown about six months into it which lead to a turn around in short order (I hired a friend to help me out once a week). I can’t claim that I had a breakdown this time because generally I have things in hand and ask for help when I need it, but I definitely hit a wall. Repeatedly and with vigor. There just comes a point when you get mentally burned out from doing the smallest of repetitive tasks like loading and unloading the dishwasher, rotating laundry, making lunches, food shopping. You think, “If I have to do this one more effin’ time, I’m going to toss out my Acme portable hole, jump down, and pull it in after me.” I remember last time being so sick of hearing “Mommy!” a million times a day that I required 4-year-old R to call me by my first name for a week just so I could hear something different. It hasn’t come to that (yet), thankfully, but we have definitely hit our speed bumps along the way. I just wasn’t in the frame of mind to be positive here and resorted to the “if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all” adage. Plus, I thought sleep might be an important experience to have.
Probably the biggest monkey wrench in my well-oiled machine was the death of my laptop not once, not twice, but three times in 6 weeks until it finally required a logic board replacement (thankfully all covered under a warranty!! Let’s hear it for Apple Care!). And for some inexplicable reason, two of the breakdowns happened while watching my favorite new show, Justified and trying to get some work done. Seriously. The third time happened the night before Justified. Maybe my poor laptop was just jealous of the time I was spending admiring Timothy Olyphant (perhaps I’ll put that re-watch of Deadwood on hold…), or maybe it was protesting the idea of working late at night. Who knows? All I do know is that the only original part of my laptop left is the (slightly dented and dog-hairy) case. I don’t know how many of you have ever had to rebuild a computer the way you like it after a near-catastrophic data loss (luckily, I only lost 6 weeks of files), but it can take a while—especially if you are trying to make it organized in all the ways you couldn’t be bothered to do with your last set up. The first time the hard drive bit it, I approached the situation with the optimism a clean slate can bring, but the two times after? Not an ounce of optimism to be had. Needless to say, all my work fell behind and I’ve been playing catch up while still taking on new work. Doesn’t leave much time for anything else, frankly.
Throughout all the computer shenanigans, I was continuing to deal with the daily grind of kid and dog stuff, keep the house clean during shedding season (why Casey and Zoe can’t coordinate their shedding schedules is beyond me—their tandem shedding is hardly efficient), plan and slog through an acre’s worth of yard work (that I’m wholly unqualified to attempt) and garden planning, maintain all my other relationships both long and short distance (with varying degrees of success), and I realized the time had come to start working toward my long-term career goals now that Monkey will be in school full time come Fall. Needless to say, my to do lists had to do lists. I’m not sure “tired” really describes what I have been feeling the last several weeks. Daunted, overwhelmed, weary, all of the above? Mental doggie paddling is now my particular super hero ability, and I would gladly trade in for invisibility or telekinesis.
I can’t say that I’m caught up or remotely ahead, but I’ve made some headway, and now it’s definitely time to shake off the funk of the last couple of months, readjust my thinking, and rebuild all those habits that went up in smoke, which include writing here more often. Tomorrow is the start of a new year for me. For my 39th birthday I’m giving myself a shiny new (hopefully bomb-resistant) wagon with enough space to allow myself some slack now and again when things don’t go as planned. If I’m lucky enough to be several years short of my mid-life, I think now would be the perfect time to put to use what I’ve learned over the last 39 years before the next 39 years go by in another blink.
To quote Betty Friedan:
“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”