Sunday, March 23, 2014

Oatmeal and the 'tired epidemic'

There is a commercial I've seen recently.

Something to do with a 'tired epidemic' in this country. It shows middle aged women and young men and old men and even kids looking run down. Ragged. Yawning. TIRED.

The solution?

Eat oatmeal for breakfast! That's why we are all tired-we aren't eating enough oatmeal for breakfast!!

Obviously.

This is the problem and the solution.

Obviously.

I have nothing against oatmeal.
But it's not going to start giving you all kinds of energy. It's just not. Especially when you slept 5 hours the night before.

When you are juggling wife(husband)/mother(father)/sister(brother)/daughter(son)/friend/employee/stranger-on-the-street-trying-to-be-kind/stranger-on-the-street-needing-kindness…..and all that those roles entail.

It's a lot.

I am exhausted. Even if I have a whole nights uninterrupted sleep. I am still tired. We have 17 things to do every day. Cleaning, cooking, shopping, making sure the posse have social interactions, making sure the posse are in activities so that they are learning skills so that they will be productive members of society, taking care of the cars, taking care of the laundry, making sure that we have time with friends, making sure we have time by ourselves. WORK. Schedule. Schedule. Schedule.

And we live in Small-mountain-town, USA. Not even in Big-city, USA where there are things to worry about like traffic and if you are dressed trendy enough. Being trendy here involves making sure you have good enough snow boots.

What are we racing around for?
Is your life better because of all the things you are doing?
Is mine?
What makes a good life?

What if instead of eating oatmeal every morning to give us energy. Or instead of drinking 5 gallons of caffeine every morning just to 'get us going'.

What if we just SLOWED DOWN??

What if?

What if your life was not run by your schedule.
What if YOU ran IT?
What if you carved out the time to do the things that are really important to you and yours and FORGET the rest.

We used to have something scheduled for every morning of the week. Swim lessons, story time, play group, play dates….I felt like I was never home-always rushing to get the posse to their next thing-because this is what they need right? But what if what they need is to take their time. Because they are 2 and 3. What if they need the time to get dressed so they can learn to do it themselves. What if they need to not be rushed because waking up takes time sometimes (or EVERY SINGLE MORNING). What if I need time to make breakfast and enjoy it? To see the sun rise? To take a walk without a destination. Or take a walk with a destination but not in the hurried frenzied way of 'we-have-so-much-to-get-done'

Why do we have to get things done?
Isn't it ok to just be together?

Contrary to popular belief my worth, and by extension your worth (I'm assuming you are a human) is not tied productivity. But we are trained to think that aren't we?

In a small West African country you sit under a baobab and drink 3 cups of tea or bissop or whatever you are served for three hours chatting with old women and playing with children while the person you are looking for is fetched from a field 10km away-he walked there-when he eventually shows up, he gets to drink a cup of tea too. And then you do business.

And if your business happens to be during sieste-a sacred time of day where EVERYONE goes home to eat lunch and have a little reposer before finishing their work for the day-well you are just out of luck. You will probably be offered lunch and time to rest before business continues.

Although, you will more than likely plan your day so that you can get back to your own home before sieste. Which means you leave at 8 AM and spend the whole morning on this one thing.

This is frustrating and infuriating to a Westerner who is accustomed to making a phone call/shooting an email/meeting for a quick lunch to do business. Is is not a whole morning/whole family sitting around affair.

And while we Westerners certainly know how to make money and build businesses and all of that-maybe we can take some lessons from other cultures. The ones who purposefully build time in their day to take a long break. The ones who are closed for August as everyone goes on vacation for the entire month.
Taking one day out of the week to actually REST. To stop working.

I don't think oatmeal is going to fix this 'tired epidemic'.
I think rest is.
I think slowing down is.

I know, I know. It's easier said then done. From the time we are 2-judging by what's happening in our house-we are taught to be productive. So when we sit down for just a moment to rest we feel guilty or we feel restless 'I need to be DOING something!!! I feel lazy!'  But maybe relearning how to just BE is worth our mental health. Worth our physical health. Worth the depth of our relationships.

I want to linger over dinner with friends for a little longer.
I want to walk a little more.
I want to sit quietly without a device in my hands more frequently.

(And maybe eat a little less processed food. That's not helping anyone either)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Il y a cinq ans.

Five years ago.

Already.

And only.

Two people coming from opposite ends collided. Crashed.

And nothing has been the same since.

We are two boards of equal force leaning against one another holding each other up. Equal force sometimes means equally stubborn. Equally unwilling to move an inch. Sometimes it means gentle gentle gentle urging. encouraging. loving.

He is truth and I am grace.

I had a host of secrets.
So did he.

He said 'You are ok'
I said 'You are ok'

Broken pieces put back together again make a beautiful mosaic. Sometimes, oftentimes more beautiful than the original.

We didn't make sense. Only a few got it.
Even now I'm not sure how much sense we make.

But this is home.

It is easy to forget. It is easy to remember all the opposites. All the reasons there are still a lot of collisions five years later. To only pay attention to things that are not happening. Or to the things that won't stop happening. To complain that 'THIS IS NOT WHAT I SIGNED UP FOR!' Pregnant nine months in and then again and layoffs and back to school and hard times...

(but what DID I sign up for?) I signed up for life. This is life.

After all the colliding and the chaos of the day, when the posse is laid down, when the house is picked up, when PAX VINCENT is reestablished I see him again. I remember him again. The funny man with the big heart beneath the surface of entertaining obnoxiousness. The man who looked me in the eye and  said 'You are ok' when I was most broken. The man who says 'Do it' anytime I suggest anything I want to do. Nanny, stay home, breastfeed the posse back to back, natural child birth with a doula, make baby food, baby led weaning, running, run a half marathon, be a doula, be barista, be fluent en fran├žais, bike everywhere in town, walk everywhere in town…he is fiercely loyal and every hurdle I jump and every challenge I face my back is covered.

I know this even in the midst of battles over what to do with the posse or what to do with the money or how to tell family we are moving to Wyoming.

He knows my secrets. And I know his.
We've crawled through the mud together. Even  dragging the other behind.
And in the midst of it all we have built something. It's not big or flashy. It's quiet and unassuming. We are still working on it-working on each other. Helping heal the broken places. Building a beautiful mosaic out of the give and take of our lives that crashed together so mysteriously five years ago.

Already.

And only.

And I think I'm learning that this journey is not just about being happy during it or at the end of it-but more about the person I am becoming because of it.