Being farsighted, I don’t need glasses to drive, but without glasses, I can’t read or use a computer. The same is true for how I live my life. I am, much to the irritation of some, not at all spontaneous, unless Jim says, “Want to go get ice cream?” and even then, I have to finish what I’m doing before I actually go. No, life up close is too full of surprises, and I hate surprises. I prefer to know where am I going, who will be there, what do I bring, and – most important – when will it end.
Unless you’re one of the fortunate few living on a remote island in the Arctic with an endless supply of Grape-Nuts and toilet paper and with no contact with the outside world, life’s been up close and personal in all of our business more than usual the last year. My go-to strategy is often: deal with the issue at hand, lose my shit, pour a glass of wine, watch The Great British Baking Show, deal with the issue at hand, lose my shit, pour a glass of wine, watch Queen’s Gambit, repeat. And still I wonder, Why can’t I sleep? Why am I so lethargic? It can’t be because I’m navigating a pandemic, and writing a memoir about grief, and taking care of my parents remotely, and designing a new headstone for my late husband, and that my dad died suddenly last week.
No…(drumming my fingers on my desk)…it must be something else.
I finally got out of my own way on Monday and sat myself down for a talk.
“Maybe, and just follow me here for a minute,” I said to myself, “Maybe surrounding yourself with grief, sadness, and bittersweet memories all day every day is taking a toll?”
“Gee, ya think?” I answered, digging in the bag for another pretzel.
“OK, so…” I said. “What are you going to do to make things better?”
“Where’s the remote?” I answered. “Have you seen the corkscrew?”
“Stop,” I said. “Put those down. You have a bike in the basement collecting dust. You haven’t played your guitar in weeks. And when’s the last time you ate spinach?”
“I know, but…” I mumbled.
“Look, it’s been a rough year, no doubt. But put on those glasses, hon, and look closely at how you’re not looking closely,” I said.
Sigh… I know I’m right.
It’s not the first talk I’ve had with myself about this and I know it won’t be the last. I’m just grateful I have the wherewithal to know when I need that talk, especially since anxiety and depression often delay it.
I will forever be farsighted, a planner, a hater of surprises, but every day I get to decide how I’ll respond to life close up. Sometimes I’ll still decide to take to the couch, and that’s OK as long as I also seek out the bike, the guitar, spinach, and other farsighted people. I hate clichés, but seriously, “one day at a time” is for real.