Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mental Shift

It's spring, and the last of this year's theater jobs ended last weekend...another middle school productin of Annie that didn't meet my expectations in quality, but one that served its purpose: community, connection, and confidence for kids who need it most. I'm hitting the sweet spot of my year now, May through August, when I only have to do one job at a time. Time to read, scrapbook, sit on my front porch watching the girls do cartwheels on the lawn. The relief of that takes a long time to sink in. I spend nine months a year feeling all the time like I'm hurtling toward a finish line. And now I'm walking in circles, breathing deeply, covered in one of those shiny metallic capes they give you when the marathon is through.

Prompted by my house-a-versary, I've spent a lot of time in the past couple of weeks reflecting on the previous year, and truthfully, I'm feeling quite satisfied with the result. Late last winter, I feel like things broke open for me with the writing and producing of my play, and I made a lot of mental shifts that have done me a lot of good. I felt like I co-created a true miracle in finally getting my house of dreams, and I mindfully worked to build a home here that comforts and nurtures my little family. I've dug in deeply with my girls, talked about some hard things, created some channels for communication, and despite working a lot of hours, found copious amounts of time to give them my full attention. We've had some adventures and a lot of laughs, and sung our faces off. I've journaled a lot, gotten to the bottom of some frustrations, and let a lot of things go. I wrote on the walls of my Athenaeum, hung a dragonfly curtain, and put up a little Christmas tree with colored lights and talismans hanging all over it that I can leave up all year. I directed a whole bunch of shows with the best of my creative energy, got a chance to perform, and really tried to teach with gusto.

I intend, now, to sail into summer and rest a little on my laurels.

Hah. Even as I wrote that last line, I thought, "Like hell I will." Because another result of this year has been accepting the simple truth that I was designed to live a very full life. Over-stuffed, over decorated, over-dramatic, but never, ever dull. Even the moments of leisure and laziness are enjoyed mindfully and with a sense of having earned my down-time. Lisa said to me recently, "You know, not everyone has the dramatic moments that you have in your life. And you have so many of them through the year." The events, the shows, the moments of connection with kids. I think a shift in my thinking this year has been to just accept that. And truly appreciate it, and continue to expect and anticipate that turning forty will not bring an end to that, and that the best of times is now, and the best is yet to come. Both. It won't just "happen to me." I'll create it and build it along with the powers of the Universe that are weilded with Love.

I hung out last night with women that I love and admire. I sat in bed with my coffee and the Today show for an hour this morning, making lists and catching up on Facebook, little visits with people that interest me to varying degrees, all while in my pajamas. In a little bit, the girls and I will stop at Dunkin Donuts, hit a couple of yard sales (mission: white chair for the front porch), do the various Saturday things like Irish Step classes, haircuts, picking up flowers and granola bars and baking cookies for our visit to Gram and Grampa's tomorrow. Tonight I will go to see The Laramie Project, and I know that if I choose it, I will have that chance to appreciate the transformative power of theater. Tomorrow we will go to visit Patrick's folks, tour some sites to take photographs for Patrick's book, and likely end the night with my girls all showered and jammied, piled on the couch watching America's Funniest Home Videos, and rewinding and rewatching all the ones with funny dogs. Sounds so ordinary, a weekend in a typical life of a modern suburban wife and mother. Typical thirty-something. Where I won't be typical, though, is that I will refuse to let it slip mindfully past. I'll do my best to enjoy every moment, every encounter, and be grateful that all of these will happen without the dizzying undercurrent of... What scene do I have to stage on Monday? How many emails do I need to return? What props am I supposed to pick up today? Explain to me again why the set won't tip over?

I will relish the mental freedom, the pretty shiny cape, the laurel wreath, bounty of a life deeply lived.

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