Thursday, April 27, 2017

Wait--What?

Wait--what? It's Wednesday? Wasn't it just Sunday?

Wait--what? Soaps are back big-time and I'm not working on them?

Wait--what? Did I miss the boat? Or did I just stand and watch it sail without me?

Wait--what? Marshmallows don't fall into any food group?

Wait--what? Older kids are more challenging than younger ones? How did that happen?

Wait--what? There's no such thing (and will never be such thing) as a "put-away" assistant to help with groceries and dishwashers and junk mail?

Wait--what? I'm not supposed to be able to catch up?

Wait--what? There aren't really beginnings and ends, just a lot of middles?

Wait--what? Have I missed anything, or actually nothing at all? Sometimes, it is hard to tell...

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

And It Was Enough

I slept just a few hours, because that's all the time I had. And somehow, it was enough.

I chose the simpler solution, rather than the perfect one, because there were other things to be done. And somehow, it was enough.

I went from making lunches to leaving lunch ingredients to assuming my kids could mostly manage their own lunches. And no one starved, because somehow, it was enough.

I spent years working fairly comfortably, and years unemployed rather uncomfortably. So, these days, I am grateful for both work and time. And somehow, what I end up with is enough.

I cook when I can, and order when I need to. And somehow, either way, we sit together and eat. And it is enough.

Cleaning what will always be too much stuff in too little space may always be impossible. But we straighten, and eliminate, and try to stay ahead of things. And somehow, it is enough.

How it is may be nothing like how it was, or how I thought it might be. But somehow, how it is turns out to be is enough.








Sunday, April 23, 2017

OLTL Reunion--A Week Later

It has been over a week now since that One Life reunion, and life has returned to, well, life. And it occurs to me that change is not just about losing that soap world. Rather, it is about all the things that happen over time...

If One Life had continued, I might still be working 14-hour days and eating nightly dinner with my colleagues, rather than my family. Hmm...

If I were working 14+ hour days, I might not have been physically or mentally available for proofreading college essays and talking through science projects. Hmm...

If I were not physically and mentally available for the ins and outs of my kids' lives, would their paths be different now? Hmm...

If their paths were different, would my path be different too, and my stride? Hmm...

If my path were different, would I have learned as much about other countries, about politics, about the world outside a TV studio? Hmm...

If I had not stepped into that world outside a TV studio, would I have friends I never would have met inside? Hmm...

If I had never met those friends, how would my life be different now? Hmm...

And if my life were not different now, would I have the appreciation I do for all those friends I saw, now a week ago, at that OLTL reunion? Hmm...

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hero For A Day

I watch my son at his baseball game, hoping he will get a game-winning hit or make the game-ending play. I want him, for just a moment in time, to be a hero.

I hold my breath through my daughters' shows, hoping that they will be word-perfect, confident, transcendent. I want them, for just a moment in time, to be heroes.

These are, to be sure, the words of a proud, ambitious, paranoid parent. But wanting my kids to be heroes isn't about pushing them too hard or expecting too much. If they simply play ball, or perform, or do whatever it is that makes them happy today, that's okay. But don't we all, at least sometimes, crave that moment of being the hero? Don't even those of us who work mostly in the background crave just a moment when the cheers are for us, when we go beyond what we thought we could do? So, I watch for those hero moments. I appreciate what is, but look for what might be. I hope, for them, and I guess a little for me too, that they will be heroes. But, at the end of the game, the end of the show, the end of the day, I take us all home to dinner on the table, chores to be done, homework to finish. Perhaps tomorrow will be our hero day...

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

In Transition

Night turns into day, we travel from here to there and back again. Through each part, we are accomplishing, enjoying, sweating it out, learning from it. Yet, no matter how much we accomplish, enjoy, sweat, or learn, we find ourselves, once again, faced with the transitions.

There are days, like some of mine in the last week, in which my transitions are so extreme--an overnight of work followed by a sun-filled train out of town, a week caught up in the tasks of home followed by a weekend far from responsibility--that it is hard even to get through them. The eyes don't focus quite right, the mind can't quite assimilate the pieces of information that just don't fit together. Yet, getting the most out of life requires mastering--or at least managing--the transitions. If we don't want to live in a straight line, we have to be willing to zigzag a little. If we want to experience more, we have to stretch our legs a little farther and open our eyes a little wider. The steps may be too hard, and the light may be too bright, but we make the transitions because staying in the same place is just not enough for us. And in doing so, sometimes we realize that the destinations are the easy part. It's in the transitions between them that we really learn how to live.

Monday, April 17, 2017

OLTL Reunion

Despite writing about and thinking about and learning from all the experiences and people I encountered at One Life to Live, I rarely actually SEE anyone from those days. Once in while, we might cross paths in our current work, or even succeed in meeting for coffee. But for me, most of the time, "now" life fills my days, leaving not so much time for actively revisiting "then" life.

And so it is that I am even more grateful than most when a fellow "Lifer," one far more of an organizer than I, creates a gathering to bring us back together--a gathering that I can actually, despite the work and the kids and the life, arrange to make.

Perhaps there were just 30 of the hundreds of people who passed through those studio doors. Perhaps I could only stay for a few hours, when much more would have been better. Perhaps I spoke to just some of the people and found out only a fraction of what they are doing now. But I came away from this One Life To Live reunion not just satisfied with having made it, but genuinely happy about all the friends whom I can still call friends. Grateful that I have landed--if in assorted places--these last few years, but even more grateful to have this group who understands so well what the drifting and the floundering and the remembering and the landing feel like.

When you go to a high school or college reunion, you likely talk about what was. For me, this One Life To Live reunion was even better. "What was" was absolutely there, but "what is" among us all is pretty good too. And while we talked mostly about those of us who were there, I couldn't help but think of all the other people from over my many years who were there only in my mind.

For me, it was a great evening in what has been far too long. And I have hope that it won't be quite that long until the next.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Six Degrees

I had the privilege of seeing the current production of "Six Degrees of Separation" this week. As the effects of the original production, which I'd seen many years ago, had stuck with me for all that time, I was eager to see this one, and I was not disappointed. It was just as consuming, affecting, altering an experience as the first. And yet, through the gift of remembering just the high points, it felt familiar, and yet totally new to me. It was an afternoon of theater that will stay with me for a long time.

Now, this is not a theater review blog, so, what does any of this have to do with, well, anything?

I went into the show thinking, of course, of the title phrase, "six degrees of separation," the idea that we are all much more connected to each other--by no more than six people, as the phrase says--than we realize. Which is kind of what networking is all about. If it is true that we are all so connected, networking our way through a freelance world is actually a much more natural, accessible thing than we realize. I came out of the show, however, thinking about another phrase from the play, the one about holding on to experiences we've had, because even the briefest of experiences can really change us. While the events of the play may be extreme, the idea that every experience--random, or planned, pleasant or disturbing--does change us is not so extreme at all. We may go through life thinking that we make our own path, but it is often the detours we make--or are forced to make--that determine how we emerge, and who we are when we are done.

I had the privilege of spending a great afternoon at the theater this week. And my experience of this "Six Degrees" has definitely changed me...