Funky blues…Part II

A week has gone by, and I still can’t shake the blues…but at least it looks like we’re actually going to be on time today.  Kids are dressed and fed, bags are packed for school, and just as we go outside to load everyone up in the car…DISASTER! Oh. My. God. There is rotten food everywhere…I forgot to close the garage door last night and raccoons got into my green bin!! GROSS!!!

A quick clean up later I’m thinking, crisis averted, when up the driveway comes my cleaning lady. My existing cleaning lady – the one that keeps rearranging all of my stuff; the one that keeps breaking things in my house; the one I’m putting off letting go because I’ve never “fired” anyone in my life.  I wasn’t expecting her!  Especially since I am actually trying out a new cleaning lady…TODAY!!! And who is set to arrive any minute! What to do now???!!! I blurt out, “Oh…hi! I wasn’t expecting you today.  But…ummmm….great.  Go ahead inside, I’ll just be a minute.”  Quick, send text. No response. Call….pick up, pick up, pick UP!! “Hi, it’s me.  I’m so sorry, part of our roof fell off last night and I really don’t feel comfortable having you come here while they work to put it back on.  Us?  Oh, geez, we’re fine…thank you for asking.  I will pay you, for sure, I’m so, so sorry! See you next week.  Thank you so much.  OK, bye.”

Before you judge…part of the roof DID fall off last week (some trim thingy) and tomorrow a roofer IS going to come and put it back on…so…not a lie…just a stretch??

I hop in the car with the rest of the gang who have now (thank goodness) offered me a ride to the subway.  Purse?  Check.  Spare bag with shoes?  Check.  Latte?  Checkity, check, check! Things are starting to go my way…I think I’m going to shake this funk after all…I mean, what a comedy of errors this morning, right?  And I survived.

This subway is disgusting.  It is crowded and hot.  I hope I don’t almost faint again.  Focus…perhaps I should turn off Zero Dark Thirty and just stare at the ground – somehow torture scenes seem too akin to what I feel like I’m going through right now.  Hmmm…why don’t they have the AC on? OUCH!!! What the…OUCH!!!!!  Some totally oblivious woman has not only just stomped on my foot with her big, high-tech sneakers but when I turned to see what was going on, she clocked me with her giant backpack.  And now there’s a medical emergency and I’m stuck here??? Oooofff. Funkity, funk, funk!

It’s eight hours later…I did make it to work, had a not-so-productive day evaluating my life again and managed not to cover myself with my lunch this time – so all in all, not so bad.

And now I’m at my son’s baseball game (which I signed him up for as a way to at least cross one more item off my list). We’ve been in our neighbourhood for close to five years and this is a great way to get involved – and yes, this new-ish environment will be just as tricky for me as it will be for him…I just wish I wasn’t in such a funk…

I look around…there’s a group of women who seem like they’ve been on this circuit for years: they have their folding chairs, their travel mugs and hunter boots (on this unseasonably cold and rainy Tuesday evening I am wearing a thin t-shirt and converse and willing the sun to come out) and they appear more interested in comparing notes over their latest acquisitions, recipes and social agendas. I swear that if I were to look closely enough at the grass by their feet I would see tiny little brass plaques denoting their respective, individual plots of land at the park – undoubtedly passed down for generations.  I know this because I got the “once-over” when I was carrying our gear to “their territory” so I did a quick 180 and changed course…I’m too funking drained to deal with this…

But…oh no.  I’ve now wound up with the really nice and inclusive group.  You know these people – they are overly sweet and complimentary.  They want to know every little detail about you and where you come from, seem oblivious to the fact that you only met five seconds ago, and for some reason, believe that you are just as interested in every detail about their lives: “We’ve been at this league forever!  You’ll love it!  We live right over there…see my house?  What about you?  What street?  What number?  My son, X, has been playing for the past two years but just look at him, he can’t focus or listen – X!! PAY ATTENTION TO THE COACH!!!!! – I swear that child is going to be the end of me.  You know, he won’t eat any vegetables??!! What do I do? You must have some ideas?  Which one is yours???” Oh boy.

So now I’m sitting by the dugout. This really is the best spot anyway – near all the kids and I can really get into the game.  Little-by-little I’m feeling not funkadelic anymore, but bewildered.  I’m trying to figure out how I got here.  And how I’ve let my funk dictate so many of my moves…like not making an attempt to get to know some of these people, or worrying about the consequences of each and every decision I’ve made up to this point, or the consequences of each and every decision I have to make hereafter.

I look up and start to really watch.  To my surprise, I notice that my son has joined, I mean really joined, his team without hesitation.  He’s talking to all the other kids and having the best time. He got thrown into a situation he knew nothing about, or had control over, and is doing just fine.

As the innings progressed, I found I was enjoying myself and letting go of all of my other wonderings…the noise in my head grew quieter as it was replaced with cheers, squeals and my favourite, the crack when the ball connects with the bat.  Then, to my utter astonishment, the game has ended and I am being congratulated by the coaches: “Your son had the hit of the game!” And all of a sudden, I knew that we had accomplished what buying a new pair of shoes could ever achieve…I was out of the “spin-cycle”…for now.

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The big “M”

A few weeks ago, after a very long day at work and longer evening at home, I found my husband at the computer reading intently.  When I asked him what he was up to, he told me he was reading about midlife crises.  Which got me thinking, isn’t that the time when middle-aged guys buy fancy (sport) cars and have affairs with (much) younger women?  What on earth was HE doing reading about midlife crises…Oh.  My.  God.  Was HE having a midlife crisis??  What does this mean???!!

Run upstairs, grab iPad, start research…FAST!

Psychology Today refers to midlife as: “Mortality and the idea that time is running out [which] can leave a middle-aged person feeling discontent and restless.  Often this 40- to 60-year-old may have a need to reassess life and its meaning.”

Hang on then…does this mean that I might be having a mid life crisis?  At thirty-X and fast approaching 40, am I middle aged?  I mean, I have more laugh lines and crows feet than I used to, and sometimes I huff and puff after just a flight of stairs.  Then there’s the music on the radio… sometimes it just sounds like noise.  And just the other day, I was driving home from work and a bunch of kids were crossing the street in front of me and I can’t believe their choice in clothes these days – my mother would’ve never let me leave the house looking like that!

Uh oh, I’m feeling warm, I’m feeling agitated…and oh my goodness, restless!!  I am in full, DEFCON 1 crisis mode!!!

I think I AM middle aged!!  I mean, I don’t think I can even remember the last time I did anything spontaneously like tried to get into the latest, most hip lounge/bar/restaurant on a Saturday night after 10 pm that didn’t have any high chairs, kids menus or crayons….what does this all mean?

I continued my search for an answer when Google took me in a different direction.  Apparently, in today’s kinder, gentler lexicon, we should no longer be referring to a midlife crisis as a “crisis”, but rather as a transition – a period of tremendous growth.  Transition?  Really?

I admit, I’ve been searching for how to leave my mark…searching for something more.  I ask myself regularly, have I done all that I want to do?  Achieved all that I want to achieve?  Should I just be content with where I’m at???  And then there’s the list.  You know…THAT list.  The one we all have.  And if you’re anything like me, you have a few of those lists:  categorized, colour-coded, time sequenced…the works.  I haven’t even started to knock items off MY list!

And now I’m middle aged???  I’m going through a midlife crisis?!  I mean…transition?  I’m so confused.  I yearn for the past when things were simpler.  The present seems so overwhelming and don’t even get me started about the future – positively, terrifying!

And wait, I didn’t even bring this up…my husband did.  The big “M” has infected my household!!!!

It’s all starting to make sense now.  Seemingly, out of nowhere, my husband decides that it was important to get in touch with his Scottish roots before he dies – he’s 41 and healthy as a horse.  For him, that means learning to play bagpipes.  Not guitar (mmm…sexy), or drums (cool), or even the piano (hello)…bagpipes.  See, when my husband was just a young boy, his mom would take him to a sweet, little old lady’s house for piano lessons.  She would pull into the piano teacher’s driveway to drop him off, and then he would have to make his own way home.  But instead of going in, my husband would sneak around to the side of the house, wait until his mother’s car was gone, and then kill time wandering around the neighbourhood for an hour.  This went on for weeks!!

And right now, at this very moment, my husband is “learning” to play his chanter (an instrument that looks like a long recorder but sounds like an elephant with a stuffy trunk) which he bought online and just arrived today. This instrument is to bagpipes, as a tricycle is to a bicycle…and, I mean no disrespect, I THANK GOD that we have not yet graduated to the real thing!

But NOW he practices.  NOW he’s making up for lost time.  And NOW I’m listening to the two other “chanter enthusiasts” try to get in on the act but daddy doesn’t want to share his precious new toy.  So instead, I’m surrounded by the noise of none other than my own, “pop-up boy band” comprised of the chanter-to-be-bagpipe player, the guitarist, and the drummer.

Akh!  I can’t think!

I have evaluated, re-evaluated and re-re-evaluated my purpose, my career, and “what I want to be when I grow up”.  I have given up, picked myself up and continued my search for MY holy grail more times than I can remember.

And what have I learned?  That the big “M” is indeed a transition.  That it is ongoing…like learning to play the chanter.  I’ve been through some of life’s most notable and trying times – all of which continue to shape who I am, and undoubtedly, who I will be.  And while the chanter is now in the hands of my 3 year old, under the tutelage of my husband and accompanied by the loud stomps of my nearly 7 year old, and I still feel like I’m nowhere near figuring everything out, I know that I have now, this moment, this memory during my midlife, that despite all of my transitioning, I will never forget.