:: WHY WE BE ::

Boo to false, self-imposed limits, we say. These champion oracles want to live enthusiastically. Follow our trip through projects that challenge, frustrate, and/or scare us. In the end (which is really the middle) we want to live like big bright free and authentically awesome people.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Raptureless Days Ahead (John)

Well.  No Rapture yesterday.   Shoot.  I was hoping it would happen.

No seriously.

Life these days is crazy.  Kiddos need tending, teaching and loving.  Scheduling time with the Wife is next to impossible.  Our collective parents are spread across the health spectrum from "pretty healthy" right on over to near the "so long, thanks for all the fish" area. Employers are kind, but hardly ready to let us self schedule around our lives.  My business is on hold until further notice, so no shop time for me.  Finding time to breathe has seemed unreachable.  Which leaves me cranky and tired and wishing, wishing, wishing for a vacation.  Or the Rapture.

Because one way or the other, I'd be OK with that.  If God decided I had done well enough on the planet and met all the benchmarks for getting swept up, up and away, then I'd be in heaven with my family, friends and pets, and all would be fine with the Universe.  But if my scorecard was still in the red and I got left behind... well, I'm certain that the Wife and Kiddos are in the black and would be gone, so I wouldn't have to worry about them.  And I could survive pretty well in an Armageddon world.  I'd go all Mad Max and get me an unSaved dog or two, and we'd build ourselves a nice little fortress farm to live out the rest of the days.

And either of those sounds so much more relaxing than what life is throwing at me these days.  Even a zombie apocalypse sounds less stressful than my life right now.

I went to see Mom in the hospital Thursday, and while I was in town I went to a concert at my old high school.  It was the first time I'd been back since the early 1990's.  Some things are the same but much has changed.  The Choir director that started when I was a senior is retiring after 22 years of teaching and directing.  He has had a whole career there since I left.  It left me reflecting on just what I had done with the last 22 years of my life.  As I drove the three hours home that night I was thinking about what I would have done differently if I were back in high school again.  My biggest trouble, for my whole life really, is that I have no real direction.  There are so many things that I want to do, and so many things I want to experience, that to focus on just one and make a career out of it... well... it obviously didn't work out that way, so I can't imagine that it would sort itself out if I had a second time around.

The thing is, is that it is tiring trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up, especially since I am well past the "growing up" phase.  I ran into a couple of people from the "old days" at the concert who asked me what I was doing these days.  "I'm a paramedic" was the easy answer.  Because I am a sometimes paramedic, and I do enjoy that job.  But I'm also an artist, a writer, a father, a husband, a son, a small business owner, a cook, a gardener, a triathlete in training, a philosopher, a photographer, a pilot, a carpenter, a blacksmith, a repairman, a contractor, a designer, and a dog trainer that wants to go back to school to become an astronomer, a biologist, a chef, or maybe a circus clown.  I want to spend the summer studying the varieties of dragonflies in my front yard.  I want to develop my own line of grilling tools that actually make sense for grilling, then test them out by developing my culinary chops while I grill tasty food.  I want my parents to be healthy again so they can enjoy these days with me, instead of taking up dual citizenship in their house and the hospital.  I want time to do everything.  I want to figure out how to do everything I want and still accomplish the things that I need to do.  And that is a very elusive goal.

So... no rapture.  I guess I'll continue the march on the Seven Days project.  My goal is to have the Sandwiches up by the end of the month.  Or maybe by my birthday in August.  Time marches on, and so will I.  Doggedly and determinedly.  I'll continue to set goals.  Some I will reach.  Some I will not.  But isn't that what life is all about?  You just can't count on a Rapture for a break from it all.

I can't have everything I want.  This much is clear.  But like the song says, I might just get what I need.  I'd like very much for advice on how to be OK with that.


Tawni said...

I really enjoyed reading this and could relate to the feeling of being past the age we're "supposed" to have figured out what we want to do with our lives while not really having it nailed down. I played in bands into my thirties only to find myself pregnant and finished with the band lifestyle at 34. I'm still trying to figure out exactly how to accomplish the stuff I want to accomplish.

Great, thoughtful post, John.

Angie said...

John, I also don't know what I want to do when I grow up....in fact I have pretty much decided growing up in general doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun. And even though I have what could be classified as a career, and I like my job just fine, I hate it when people ask me what I "do". I always ask them to clarify "you mean what do I do for money or what do I do in real life?"

As for your call for advice, well, I am in no position to advise anyone on their deepest psyche, but I will say that you could practice making a conscious choice to just be OK with it. Maybe make a list of the top 10 things you are most grateful for in your life and look at it when the inner critic starts chewing on your brain. And remind yourself of it in the morning when you wake up and at night as you are drifting off to sleep. And maybe, cut yourself some slack, man! You've had a tough time lately. Give yourself some energy to process that, and to handle your current stresses without losing it. You would put (and are doing so) your goals and big giant to-do list on hold to take care of someone else during a hard time in their life. It's OK to do that to take care of yourself, too. :-)

patresa said...

yikes. well, i certainly wish you no zombie apocalypse. and i certainly relate to how tiresome it is to try to figure out what you want to be when you grown up--as a grownup. (i've decided that might be a uniquely American quandary, so maybe we're just more "citizens of the world" sorts.) and i'm so sorry that your parents are struggling with their health.

i will wish you a different kind of rapture. where everything is okay even when it isn't.

Tanner May (Tanya) said...

I too wish you wish you no zombie apocalypse. Sounds to me, without knowing you one iota, that you have a pretty good handle on things.

Rock on John. I wish you and your loved ones loads of health ahead. I can absolutely relate just how scary this is. Hang in there...