Wednesday, February 15, 2012

the path

It's 8:30 at night and I just opened my boys' bedroom door, which they had closed two minutes prior. This was a very unusual thing for them to do because they usually opt to keep it open to ward off their nighttime fears. They prefer to hear their father and I mulling around the house, as they dose off to sleep. Even though I'd tucked them in to bed 15 minutes ago, I see that they are huddled beneath their blankets - a flashlight illuminating their happy, mischievous faces. They've got school tomorrow and they're supposed to be asleep.

They know it.

The scene of my two young sons collaborating over, who knows what?, touches my heart as I tell them, "Boys, you're going to be tired in the morning. It's time to go to sleep..." They excitedly giggle and turn the flashlight off. Of course it'll click back on again as soon as I walk away. I suppose I could confiscate it, or split them up so one is in the top bunk and only one is on the double bottom bunk. But what they're experiencing, is a distinct joy of childhood; this moment is the canvas upon which their young memories will be captured.

I know it.

So I smile and quietly shut the door.


It feels like I've been keeping a lot inside, lately. I don't know if it's because I'm just so busy with life and work that I haven't had the ample opportunity to sit down and write; or if it's because I've been somewhat disenchanted by public blogging and have opted to hold my cerebral trivia closer to my chest. Whatever the case, I know that I haven't "openly" writing about some of the things that have been on my mind. I've bottled those thoughts up and have let them simmer while I do household chores and watch movies with my husband.

On the one hand, our house is somewhat clean and I've seen a lot of fantastic movies. On the other hand, it feels like there is a tremendous amount of data and mental information that I'd like to unravel and process in order to better navigate this next phase of our lives.

Where do I even begin?

Well, I guess I'll begin with the obvious and risk publishing in a public forum because this stuff needs to be documented. Not for the readers of this blog, per se, but for my own psychological health and prosperity. And for my children, who I hope will look back on these musings one day and think to themselves, "Oh, yes, now it makes sense!"

Charlie and I are in the midst of executing a significant life shift. It should come as no surprise, given the events that have transpired over the past 22-months and my nearly constant insistence that I can't do this much longer. No really. I MEAN IT THIS TIME. I can't do this much longer. OK, so I have no idea what "this" is but life has never seemed so challenging for me as it has these past 20-months, and the train that is my existence is in the process of derailing and flying off the track of reality. Even my husband, who understands his wife's flair for exaggeration, has recognized that we've been consistently hovering at threat level Orange.

At this point, I can't write about all of the details, but I hope too, soon enough. I'll elaborate on the events that transpired in December, a week before Christmas, when we temporarily rose to a threat level Red and I told my husband of 17-years (and four months) that I was leaving. That I was packing my bags and leaving. And we should probably call an attorney, or two, depending upon how amicable things would remain between us as we split up our family and assets.

He could keep the puppy.

And the steam mop.

Thank God that in addition to a race car track and a beautiful Nikon camera, Santa brought us a healthy dose of perspective. During a nearly three-week stint from "the real world" we regrouped. And we've since determined that we aren't raising the white flag of defeat on our marriage. We are, however, as quickly as possible, raising the white flag of defeat on the life that we've been trying to keep up with for the past 20-months. It hasn't been healthy, in any sense of the word. We've both gained weight and are out of shape (me more than him, which ticks me off tremendously). We've been sluggish and tired and frustrated and talk in tones that aren't conducive to peace, much of the time.

During Charlie's flight home from California, earlier in the month, he picked up an Esquire magazine and there was an article about "79 Things We Can All Agree On." The topic of this piece surrounded 79 things that everyone could agree upon. Item #12 was Kids, Career, Marriage. Beneath that, in bold it was written, "In That Order."

Wow, if that's something that even a slight majority of the population agrees upon, that would certainly help to explain the decay of the modern family.

Here's what my ideal prioritization looks like: My health. Our marriage. Our children. Our spastic puppy. My career. My career most certainly shouldn't trump my marriage; nor my children, who as much as I love the little buggers, should never come between their father and I. And yet, at this very moment, my career has been the one thing in my life that I spend the most time on, each and every day. My life orbits my career. I know it's largely my fault because I fail at managing a healthy work-life balance. But despite how much I work, there's always more to do, and people are consistently unhappy and maybe if I worked harder (or just one more weekend?) I'd finally get ahead of the curve.

Much to my surprise, that has yet to happen.

Despite my general self-perceived awesomeness and ability to make everything better, it probably won't get any better, any time soon. Because ultimately, there are people in this world who will never be happy, regardless of what you do or how hard you work. And at this moment, there are more of them than there are of me. And that constant feeling of being overworked and under appreciated is triggering a massively catastrophic burn out.

I'm perpetually stressed and have concluded this life that I've been living?

It isn't the ideal life for me.

Charlie and I have always had a pretty good handle on the important things. But when things get totally out of whack and it feels like you're completely drowning, you'll do anything to save yourself (refer to ideal prioritization, above.) Anything, like, tell your husband that he needs to find an attorney and start researching apartments.

To be continued...

(But I have no idea when.)