Mixing metaphors and massive thoughts

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Transform from a body at rest into a body in motion.

Imagine a banquet table, round, eight feet across, ample seating for ten or twelve. An array, a menu of choices heaped upon the table. Not food, but aspects of my life. The one I want, for myself, for my family. The table must be steady. Six legs, each supporting a specific area or topic. Equal distribution of weight? Doubtful, but together, creating a balanced life.

Remnants of a ten-hour car ride. An assessment of my life. Where I’ve been, where I’m going. I need some structure rather than plan only a few hours ahead, never knowing what’s in store for me until I’ve already arrived. I hope to take a more active role in determining my actions and outcomes.

Parenting. My primary concern. Nothing is more important than this. We’re rounding the backstretch with Eli. A tenth grader. Sophomore. Second year. Make or break with remote learning, disease lingering in the corners of the room threatening once more to shut down the world. Sophie, she’s in a new race. At once alien and known. I’ve been there. Could it really change in only forty years? That, we need to figure out.

Marriage. Good. Great? It has been for twenty-three years, therefore it needs my attention. Do I do my share? More than my share? No way. Discussion topics, areas of interest we share, Susan is more likely to initiate a conversation and set the tone. I’m along for the ride. I defer the hard work and big decisions to her. She’s the organized thinker. I’m scatter-shot—diving into tasks only when they devolve into problems. Parenting, home projects, vacations, finances. I can be more of a partner. If I can’t plan, at least I can execute. I need to shake up my inertia. Transform from a body at rest into a body in motion.

Health. Thank god. An area where I have a head start. Years ago, I quit drinking. In February, I altered my diet. I’m already exercising four to five times per week. Historically (and right now) this gets more planning and attention than any other aspect of my life. It’s so measurable. Athletic performance, calories consumed, nutrients ingested, caffeine injected. Because it’s an interest area, a hobby, I keep poking at this trying to find the perfect combination of foods and activities in my quest to become better. More tweaking expected.

Home. Yes, the physical structure where I live, but also a catch-all for life-categories not collected in other buckets. Financial planning and retirement, house cleaning and upkeep, cars, pets, gardening, shopping, extended family relationships. Aargh! No wonder I’m overwhelmed. I can start by doing something about the ant-invasion that appeared over the past few days while we traveled.

Work. Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head. Found my way downstairs and drank a cup and looking up I noticed I was late. These Beatles lyrics sum up my work life clearly. My job tasks tend to be cyclical. A weekly schedule, a monthly schedule, an annual schedule. I’m only in my second year on this job. I need to steer away from settling into a formulaic approach. Treat each week, month and year as a new entity, one I’ve never seen before.

Writing. As my primary hobby, maybe sharing that top billing with exercise, this needs active attention. In her blog Bikes, Brains and Other Musings the other day, Crustytuna worried that her writing had stagnated into a simple weekly journal update. Blogging was, essentially, ruining her writing.

My comment: Blogging doesn’t need to be a journal-style life-update. It can be carefully wrought creative nonfiction vignettes, or short stories, or poems, opinion essays, or memoir… Quality writing and blogging aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, knowing you have a place to publish your writing can be a motivating factor in creating quality writing. This begs the question: Why give advice if I don’t take it myself. This post is as much a journal update as anything I’ve written. That’s wasn’t my intention. I wanted to write something big and beautiful. Perhaps I need to get this out of the way before I can dive into my creative projects.

~ ~ ~

Reading back over this bit of writing, I realize I haven’t done anything except make a list of areas that need my focus. Goals, or really placeholders for goals. Eli’s new school year, Sophie moving to college, weather changes, these serve as a chapter-break. A chance to start a new story. The past eight months—with an unending laundry list of problems disrupting the United States—challenged me. I felt like a teenager dragging behind a car bumper on a snowy day (skitching), trying to keep my feet on the ground, afraid to let go—either way, sure to wipe out.

I realize this is the world I live in now. It’s time to restart my life with structure and intention. I’ve created a road map, or a manifesto, a guiding document. A master plan. It’s time to chisel away at my block of concrete and sculpt the life I hope to live.

Photo by Asiya Kiev on Unsplash

22 thoughts on “Mixing metaphors and massive thoughts

  1. Motivating. I feel motivated to do the same. I am so day to day, but to take a look at the big picture and break each segment down, drawing awareness, setting goals. I think areas of my life may need a little bit of tweaking for the big picture.
    I had tried so hard to not make my blog a diary. In a way though, it is. I don’t share every story, believe it or not, but I do share the ones that I think are pertinent (most of the time) to an autism family. I do try and be creative in my retelling of the story. Sometimes I recognize that my blogging buddies are my friends, so I want to share something with you guys. Or my opinion on something because it will draw a discussion. Times I feel the need to just write something and that is when a diary post will pop out. It happens, I guess.
    The day you were dropping Sophie off I saw one of my FB friends’ daughter was being dropped off at the same university. I thought it would be great if the two became friends. We’ll see!

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    • That would be neat (and kind of random) if they met. Although she seems to be meeting all sort o people, which makes me happy. She’s fairly introverted but she likes to keep busy, so she’s been out and about making friends over the past two days. One of my college friends has a son who’s starting UVM too. I was hoping to run into my friend until a couple of weeks ago when I realized via facebook that he’s opposed to #BLM. He’s dead to me now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It would be totally random. I’m not THAT close with the family, but really, I’m not THAT close with anyone. Bobby played soccer with her brother, so I have spent time on the sidelines with her and her parents. She is a joy to know. If their paths should cross it would be a good match. Your college friend – yeah, that would be a tough one!

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  2. I think it’s so good to occasionally take stock and make a plan! As for journaling, it’s nice to have updates. Personally, I’ve been doing it since I was 9, so mine will probably always be a sort of diary. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, if that’s the aim. I wouldn’t mind trying out something different at some point though!

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    • Regardless o what I’m writing, my blog still serves as a diary because I usually write about what’s from and center in my brain. I often go back and try to gauge my mood at certain times in my lie by seeing what I was writing about. Right now, I’d *like* to be writing opinion, but I’m not sure there’s anything left to say. Even the op ed pages at the best papers are becoming redundant.

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  3. I’ve been doing a daily “Adventures of…” post since March, after lockdown. I’ve found that over the months the posts have changed to include not just “journal entries” but photography, music and a Science Project.😂 The series has been referred to as being like a soap opera, and it’s true. I’m truly surprised that people are still reading, 162 days later.

    My point is that we can write creatively in any style. Also, I think it’s great that you’re looking at your life and what goals you want to reach. Why only do it on December 31?

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    • My normal time to dissect my life and set new goals is on vacation. We didn’t get to take one this summer so maybe my brain realized I’m overdue. Regardless, this seems like a natural time to make some changes. I’m not sure why I’m not following your blog. I think I was under the impression that you don’t blog regularly. Not correct, huh.

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      • I didnt used to. I was more of a reader and commenter. But when schools closed I decided to document all the crazy stuff that happens in my life… I thought everyone had crazy lives for a long time.
        It really is a soap opera, or bad reality show🤷🏼‍♀️
        I wasn’t trying to get you to follow BTW, I don’t do any fiction or “creative writing” I just blab… like my comments🙄😂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Laundry lists, taking stock, must be done every so often to ensure that all is in order. Is this “adulting”? Ants: seems like a good and reasonable place to start.
    Thanks for the link…I’ve not written lately for the simple reason that every post I’ve started has been stale, stagnant writing. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, adulting. Blah. The ants are exterminated. I spent half the day sanding the wood siding on two walls of my screened porch. So far, I’m in motion. Church wasn’t stale. Especially the part that was about church.

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  5. A lot of soul-searching in this post. I feel that a lot of life has become stagnant over the last few months. The news each day is repeated over and over, just change the numbers – the numbers of sick and dead, the number of people randomly murdered in the city each day, the number of black men killed by police officers. All so frustrating.
    I stopped entering items in my bullet journal/to do list months ago. No rush to do anything around the house, no one comes in, right? I’ve become very lazy. Days actually fly by, I’m not unhappy, but nothing gets accomplished since the pandemic. My multiple volunteer activities are on pandemic hold, book signings cancelled, and I resigned last December from my college teaching job.
    Two weeks ago I started writing in my bullet journal again. I tend to get things accomplished when I use that tool. I’ve also been trying to figure out what’s next. Let’s wish each other luck.

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    • Many aspects of my life have been on hold since March. The crux of this whole post is inertia. I need to move from ‘at rest’ to in motion’. Today was a good day in that respect, and I’m actually looking forward to work tomorrow (something rare as of late). What college course were you teaching? I wish I had the courage to do something like that. I think I could finagle a class at our community college.

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      • OMG. Inertia. that is totally the word for what I am going through. I retired 6 years ago, took a year to figure out my life and clean out my basement. Began teaching college five years ago. It was a math for elementary teachers class. In theory, I didn’t teach them math. I taught them the pedagogy of HOW to teach math. But…. some of them struggled with elementary math. It was a chance to give back or pay it forward.?. I taught only in the fall. Said I didn’t retire from teaching to teach full time. Went from 2 classes to one to none. Last year I realized there was no joy any more. Might have kept it if I realized that all my volunteer opps would go south with the pandemic. Now I’m back to having to clean out the basement and figure out what’s next. But inertia, which I have been calling lack of motivation.
        FYI teaching college kids is…teaching overgrown adolescents. You have adolescents at you house. You might relate.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well (un)luckily, my volunteer job (coaching is a 7 day a week endeavor right now. This stone is gathering no moss. I snet an email to your conversations with autism email account. Don’t know if you ever check that.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I think many of us are feeling as if a reset needs to happen. My latest post is about the same thing, from a different angle. 2020 has really been a time to take stock in so many areas of our lives — a forced confinement with ourselves, as it were.

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  7. I’m not sure about more structure and intention. The reason I’m attracted to the Tao De Ching is that it challenges all our Western assumptions about how to live. It promotes wu wei, which is a philosophy of not-doing, not interfering, living in harmony with the way of nature. I don’t profess to understand Lao Tse’s writing, but I often think of it when I make choices.

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