During life’s many challenges think about taking time to slow down, think about what works and what does not, then make changes, reflect and recalibrate. Let me explain. Go pour a cup of whatever, and enjoy.
Life has been pretty interesting in 2017 so far, and as you know, “interesting” is often a euphemism for something unpleasant but not quite dire. You most likely read how I had a knee replacement in February, and went through months of rehab and physical therapy and depression. It wasn’t all bad, not by a long shot, but it was definitely “interesting!” Add to that a pretty bad case of diverticulitis, and heck, I kind of wanted to have things a bit more boring.
Eventually I began to feel like myself again (yay!) and by late June I was running errands and feeling pretty good. Around this time I also had finished rehab and after giving myself a couple weeks off, I started up again at the gym. And – go me – I also hopped on my mountain bike (set on a trainer) and rode in 25 – 30 minute sessions while binging on The Handmaid’s Tale.
Something else I did post-rehab was to start to look for “work outside the home.” The dreaded WOTH project. Yeah, I know, I shouldn’t’ refer to work as dreaded, but damn, it’s been a long, long time since I had to report to someone else. Someone else besides the family. Someone else besides teams of doctors. Someone else besides a surgery schedule, teacher meetings, GI specialists, transplant nurses, orthopedists, physical therapists, hematologists, lab technicians…and more. And that’s just one son. My older son has unfortunately been going through a lot of tests with more coming, to determine what is going on with his gut, liver, and lymph nodes.
And scary. Uncomfortable. Confusing. The constant re-thinking of this plan, tweaking that schedule, wondering if I’m explaining everything to him as well as I can, wondering if I am doing the right thing. Naturally I’m concerned about making a commitment to a new job and then have things fall apart because someone will desperately need my attention, my energy, the way Tom had needed me. Yet, because in a larger sense life had calmed down in the last few years, I feel like I have a certain amount of freedom to work out in the world. My older son’s issues are definitely concerning, but at the moment, his signs and symptoms are not directly pointing the way to a bad diagnosis.
Plus, the need for extra dough is quite the motivator.
For so long, while Dave was working for Fidelity Investments, he made some decent money. Nothing to make us rich, but the worries were not so bad. There were a few times that money was tight, and at one point we needed to refinance the house, but mostly the salary was quite adequate. Then a few years back he learned that his job was being relocated to Research Triangle in North Carolina. Wow.
Because we had strong ties to New England, plus were very leery about taking Tom away from his doctors, we knew early on that Dave would accept that severance package and leave the company. However we did allow Fidelity to fly us down and stay for a few days to get the feel of the place, meet with real estate people, and chat with other employees who had already made the move. It was a nice little trip, but not a deal maker. So, he worked up till the agreed-upon date, left, and had a bit over a year of severance to find a new job. Interestingly (there’s that word again), the timing was kind of perfect, but that’s something to elaborate on another time. Anyway, the new job was OK, closest commute ever, but the pay was considerably less.
Therefore, because vehicles breakdown, along with major appliances, plumbing, and who-knows-what-else, the expenses grew but not the income. I did contribute where I could, but my skimpy earnings from freelance wasn’t enough. I knew I had tools to grow, and the talent to produce a product that people would pay for, but I felt like I was always spinning my wheels, but not reaching any real destination. When a person is constantly worried about money, it puts a freeze on creativity. Well, at least for me. I’ve seen people in worse circumstances tread water and actually get somewhere, actually thrive, with more elegance than I was mustering. Whatever, that’s fine. I am happy for those who succeed, and try to use them as inspiration.
Luckily, I was also beginning to see what I was doing wrong. I could see outside myself to know that all the skills and tools aren’t worth much without more drive. I definitely had (have) periods of laziness. Easily distracted as well. One thing I began to realize is that I didn’t take myself seriously, more importantly, I didn’t give myself permission to REALLY work at all the freelance stuff. Part of this was due to being constantly worried if I was doing the right thing, should I really go all on in my book, do nothing until it’s done, hire an editor, market the fuck out of it, etc? Work hard to become the newsletter queen? Join some local networking groups to hawk my content wares? What about my oils? I’d been neglecting that a little too.
Alrighty, so fast forward to this summer, and I came across a job on Indeed, for a part time office person in a church one town over. I ticked off my wants: Part time, close, non-profit, and I probably, could actually, do it! They needed someone with experience with Word, newsletters, MailChimp, blogging, phones, and a little social media. Check, check, check. They also wanted someone who understood the flow of how a church works. They weren’t looking for someone who had to absolutely share the same faith ideology, but who was open to diversity, and was welcoming. Yes, I think I can handle that too. And, while this ain’t going on the resume, I’ve been told by a co-worker in the past, that his friends all “wanted to know who was the hot chick answering the phones!” Don’t think the church would want that to be my main skill, but it helps the ego.
Anyway, while we were on vacation at Cape Cod, I went to a craft fair. (I just LOVE craft fairs, I have the best conversations with crafters and see the neatest stuff.) One of the vendors was called StoneSpirations, and the artist, Valerie, had the coolest smooth little rocks and stones that she painted in beautiful vibrant colors, with mostly
abstract images. I said mostly, there may have been a peace sign, or an Om symbol here or there, and many had versions of the mandala, but still, they were abstract in nature. I only bought two, but I loved many of them. Here’s one sitting on my desk, pretty, right?
The other rock however, immediately became special to me. First, I was drawn to the design, intrigued by the arrows. I also loved the colors. As Valerie was taking care of purchase, she mentioned that she sometimes titles her pieces, this one I was buying she called “calibrate.” We spoke a little more and then I went in search of my husband and we found a few more neat things at the fair before we left.
In the last weeks since I’ve come home, as I started to really process what this new job will mean, the phrase calibrate came back again and again into my mind. I took the liberty of retitling it in my head as “recalibrate” as in taking stock of what’s changed, and making adjustments. This whole first half of 2017 has been a very big recalibration for me, and I imagine that the year will finish out the same. Constantly thinking about what’s working
and what’s not. Making the right changes, and praying that I have the sense to realize it a little sooner.
Shanti and Shalom,