Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Endings

It used to feel as though life was full of endings--endings of jobs or gigs, endings of classes or activities or childhood stages. Endings that were pulling the rug out from under us, each time we might start to feel comfortable.

As the school year comes to one of those endings, I am struck by how quickly it seems that something that feels as though it just began has ended. We have met the expectations--or not. We have conquered the challenges--sometimes. We have rendered ourselves ready for the next steps--maybe.

In a life full of endings, it is easy to get caught up in the mourning for what is over, in the emptiness of losing what is familiar, in the fear of the unknown that is coming. Yet, with most endings comes a beginning. Rarely do we just end one thing and not start something else, even if the something is just a small step in another direction. So, at these times of ending, we can afford to be excited, not afraid. At these times of ending, we can let ourselves be full, not empty. At these times of ending, we can allow ourselves to celebrate, not mourn. What we know may be over, but what we can know next is just starting. And if we get too caught up in the ending, we will miss seeing the beginning of our next big thing...

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

When Days Blend

As my schedule becomes more and more overnight, I feel the days blending into each other, and I find myself wondering...

When days blend, what is breakfast and what is dinner?

When days blend, what happened today and what happened yesterday?

When days blend, are there seven days in a week, or more? Or are there fewer?

When days blend, what is the recommended daily allowance of calories?

When days blend, is it tomorrow or today?

When days blend, is it very early in the morning or very late at night?

When days blend, is 11am sleep bedtime or a nap?

When days blend, do weeks go faster?

When days blend, is this today's blog or yesterday's?

When days blend, is the bill due now or twelve hours ago?

When days blend, will I ever really know what day or time it is...?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Getting In, Part 12: Commencement

I have to admit, when we began the whole process of "getting in," we weren't actually thinking too much about the "getting out" that would go along with it. And so, graduation just came upon us--the cap and the gown and the goodbyes to something we'd just (or not even) said "hello" to. As hard and involving as the "getting in" process was, the "getting out" seemed like just a matter of getting dressed and showing up.

At each stage, whether it's a few months or a few years, whatever we're doing feels as though it will last forever (whether "lasting forever" is a good or a bad thing). And then, in a moment while our backs are turned, what we're doing is over, almost as if our doing it was just imagined. And we find ourselves at a new place, with new challenges, hopeful that those previous ones have left us sufficiently prepared.

In the blink of an eye, the caps and gowns, and all the things that came before them, are over. I guess it's not so much about "getting in" anymore. Now it's about getting started...

Friday, June 24, 2016

Preemption

Preemption

Soap writers rarely considered preemption a good thing. The usurping of soap air time by a breaking news event meant that their careful plotting of cliffhanger Fridays was upended, or that scenes that they had written and seen produced would never air.

I get it, believe me. No one wants to see hard work go to waste. And no one wants perfect timing to be compromised. But every so often, don't you wish you could have a little preemption--stop the clock for just a moment, so that you can catch up, step back, redo? Wouldn't you sometimes deal with a little inconvenience in order to buy a little time or breathing room?

So, maybe, once in a while, we let "breaking news" (or anything else "breaking" in our lives) preempt our regularly scheduled events. Maybe, sometimes, we allow the world to step in and alter what we have created. Maybe, just maybe, we even create a preemption of our own, just because. And we hope the stories and cliffhangers still work. Because no preemption, no matter how necessary, should get in the way of telling our stories...

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Deadline

I read recently that some of the brightest, most successful people spend their lives up against deadlines. While they may create masterpieces, they also often wait till the last possible minute to accomplish what they need to. It is, perhaps, a trap. But maybe it is also an opportunity--to harness need and pressure in order to up the stakes in what we are creating.
 

I confess, though I am not in the habit of doing the work the morning of, I have certainly had my last minute moments. Whether it's staying up late because something took longer than expected, or scrambling to write a post or finish the laundry that should have been done hours ago, I suppose we all sometimes find ourselves up against a deadline. We know what we do for that deadline. The question is, what does that deadline do for us? Does it make our head spin so much that we can't do quality work? Or does it make our head spin that much faster to use the best of our creative juices?
 

A deadline, as the word suggests, puts us in a situation of having to save our own lives, whether what we are saving is simply a schedule, or our pride, or something more significant. Will we let the deadline flatten us? Or will we let it take us to new creative places, where the pressure of time and the excitement of raised stakes combine to make us more than we thought we could be? I may not be waiting till the morning of to find out. But I can't help be moved by the power of the deadline--the stakes keep me writing and reaching and trying to make the deadlines without being flattened. Whether it's a week ahead, or the day before, or the morning of, we can all find brilliance in the deadlines. They keep us on track and in motion. And I'll take that kind of motivation any day.

Ups and Downs

I have often defined ups and downs by the external--the downs being the times out of work, rough patches at work, kid disappointments, and the ups being stretches of employment, life milestones, or a dress that fits just right. But as I wander through life, the line between up and down is increasingly blurred. And what once may have seemed external turns out to be a lot more internal than I thought. After all, it's very possible to be employed, but unsure. It's very possible to be between jobs but full of life. It's very possible to look great in a dress but feel not so great in your own skin. And, while up and down may appear to be opposites, they are often just different parts of the same experience.
 

I remember, as if it was yesterday, the days when I was out of work, just trying to make it through the day with some progress and with minimal tears--clearly, a time of "downs," a time I am grateful to be past for now. The key, I suppose, is to put the other "downs" in perspective, and to try to keep the "ups" in sight at all times. There will always be ups and downs. But just as we get past the big "downs," we can get past the smaller ones too. Until we find ourselves headed back "up."

Monday, June 20, 2016

Microscope

Look, and you will see what you think you see. Look closer, and you will see what is real.

Look, and you will see what you want to see. Look longer, and you will see what I may not want to show.

Look, and you may see the big picture. Look more carefully, and you may see the true picture.

Look, and you can see how I feel. Look again, and you will feel how I feel.

Look, and you may blur the details. Look with more focus, and the details will come into view.

Look, until you think you understand. Look a little deeper, and you'll really understand.

Look, and I will appreciate your interest. Look too closely, and I will question your motives.

Look, and see who I am. Look once more, and I will see who you are.

It's all different under the microscope. Maybe better close-up, maybe not...but different...