“These days I seem to think a lot
About the things that I forgot to do
And all the times I had the chance to”
Nico – These Days
-(Lyrics Jackson Browne)
Some days are unaccountably so much more difficult than others. This week has been short, and it’s also been the first week I’ve spent catching up on all the things I’ve been neglecting. That tight feeling in the pit of my stomach, that feeling has been with me all week and sleep is like this elusive, mythical beast just out of reach.
I don’t do regret. It’s just an emotion that is very pointless. To me, the past is what makes us who we are, memories the scars that shape our person. However, there are moments when the tightness takes over and I wonder why I put things off, how I could wait until the last possible second to finish something important, or I wonder why did I not pay my bills last month when I had the money, and am now paying extra? Occasionally, I think perhaps I could use my time better to accomplish the daily mundane activities instead of putting them off for daily mundane unnecessary activities, (i.e. Facebook, reading, Sudoku, Criminal Minds again). My only excuse: I’m a single mom with an active child and a forty plus hour a week job that requires me to be both very physical and very focused. When I get home, I make dinner, sit with my son for his homework, make sure he gets cleaned up, and then we read a story before bed. By that time it’s nine and I get myself ready for bed. And my brain shuts down. My body aches. I sit on the couch with every intention of getting up to work out for a little while, or take the clean dishes out of the dishwasher and load the dirty, fold the clothes I maybe didn’t fold the weekend before. It’s over the moment my butt hits my Homer Simpson worn spot on the couch. I may not fall asleep right away, but the exhaustion prevails.
And then I wake up in the morning. Perpetually later than I need to wake up.
Life is this big, complicated, mass of responsibilities, and I can’t lie, my history shows a steady timeline of me notoriously fucking up all of my responsibilities. I can ace a test, remember every actor ever, play a mean game of euchre, write a poem on a napkin at a diner, compose a short story in a matter of hours… Responsibility, well, that’s like trigonometry. I had to work my ass off just to get a B in high school.
Above is my reason for trying to keep my brains from coming unglued. Every year, we go to Lewis Farm Market and pick out a pumpkin, get our pictures in the giant rocking chair, feed the animals, go apple picking. It is fall. It is the kickoff to Halloween. It is one of my favorite activities ever. Our life together is why I wake up and go to work and play video games I hate and buy healthy food and cook a normal dinner and pay my bills and do all the things I don’t have the energy to do. He only gets one childhood, and I only get one chance to give him an awesome childhood.
I get sad. I let things go. I wallow and I cry.
And then I get my shit together.
This week has been Nico’s version of These Days. A little melancholy, a little quiet, a bit dark. There was some scrambling to fill out important paperwork, some restless nights, a bit of helplessness.
I try to remember no one has it together all of the time, and that actively taking steps to get it together counts as a positive. I try to remember life doesn’t get easier, we just learn to deal with the stresses better. I try to remember I don’t have to be perfect, or on all the time.
We have an imperfectly phenomenal life. We are an imperfectly loving mother and son. Mushiness isn’t really in my nature, but man, I’m pretty damn lucky.
On that note, here is some wisdom from my one of my favorite musicians, Frank Turner, because I might be working at responsibility, but adulthood, well…
Well I guess I should confess that I am starting to get old
All the latest music fads all passed me by and left me cold
All the kids are talking slang I won’t pretend to understand
All my friends are getting married, mortgages and pension plans
And it’s obvious my angry adolescent days are done
And I’m happy and I’m settled in the person I’ve become
But that doesn’t mean I’m settled up and sitting out the game
Time may change a lot but some things they stay the same
I won’t sit down,
And I won’t shut up,
And most of all I will not grow up
Frank Turner – Photosynthesis