Tag Archives: lost

Timeception

The Professor called on Saturday afternoon and was excited to share her latest journey in time management. She extended an invitation to join in the fun. Me? With all six of my planners? Of course, I would! This was going to be a piece of cake (an actual piece of cake and a full day of time sucks later, I was still lost).

Time blocking. It is terminology I had never heard before but practiced on several occasions (just a few months ago to be exact). I failed, of course, and set it for when I grew up more—well, until this weekend. Time blocking, for those who do not know, is the practice of—well—blocking time for daily activities. It goes much deeper than that, but for the sake of simplicity, we will leave it at that.

Start by writing down a list of your everyday activities—from the roota to the toota. Morning sex on Thursdays? Write it down. Daily 4 p.m. dump? Write that, too. Once you have your list written down, prioritize. Okay, now that is done, make an appointment for each task. Sounds easy enough, right? Workout: 5 a.m. – 5:30 a.m., Shower/Dress/Hair: 5:30 a.m. – 6:30 a.m., and so on. Morning routine time block, BAM! You know between the hours of 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. you are working out, showering, doing hair, getting dressed and eating breakfast.

But wait! There’s more!

Time batching is taking various tasks and grouping them together by brain power. Doing your taxes uses different brain power than, say, blogging. Go back to your nifty daily activities list and take a peek at all the things you do. Group the like-minded items together. By doing this, you will find it easier to focus and complete each task because you will not be wearing out your brain.

We won’t stop there, though!

Forgive me for forgetting the terminology, but when working in said time batch within said time block, it is best to set a focus time and a break time. From what I have been reading, most benefit from a 25 minute focus time and a 5 minute break time.

(Whew! I am spent just thinking about the timeception within the inception)

Needless to say, I failed miserably. I spent the majority of my day writing lists, researching planners (yes—stop judging), printables and the like. This means nothing work related got done. My brain hurt from all this time management planning and apparently (as seen in recent work productivity) I am getting nothing important accomplished.

I am still going to join The Professor in her quest to manage life better because the truth is I need to do better, too. Besides not working on actual work due to organizing my time, what do I have to lose (besides my legit job)?

~SM


Running The Tree of Peaches

This is it. You are standing in a sea of people staring at the largest American flag you have ever seen. Of course, you have seen it for the past ten years, same place, same bat time, but somehow it feels different. This year, you have something to prove—to you. You started this thing as a challenge, you repeated it to prove to The Kids anything is possible, you ran this whole thing in emotional shambles, you reduced your run to a walk after injury and sadly, was benched by The Cheersquad while carrying new life. But this time…this year….it is about no one, no one but you……..

For the last ten years, I have run the Peachtree Road Race. I stand in a sea of runners at the starting line, stomach gurgling with nervous anticipation. Every year for a decade I have been a ball of nervous energy as I waited for yet another chance to make it to the end. Each time I get the “Congratulations!” notification, I am all too excited to join an area tradition that has somehow become such a huge part of my life. I have muddled around in the mud with my shoes off after it was over, drank beer in the rain at a pit stop, glided up Cardiac Hill and cried when I crossed the finish line knowing inside all would be well. This time around it should be no different….but, for some strange reason, it is. This year, when the acceptance email came, I was afraid.

Any woman will tell you after she gives birth her body just isn’t the same. I dunno about the Beyonce’s of the world who spit out a kid and bounce right back, but us regular chicks do not always bounce back—especially knocking on the door of forty. Eight months later and I can finally walk up and down the steps without feeling like my whole body is about to fall apart. My joints are back to where they should be and my Va Gina bones have finally stopped hurting. The baby blues have subsided and I think the uterus has no longer gone rogue. I am back to myself–finally. However, the thought of trying to make it 6.2 miles in the Georgia July sun with rusty head, shoulders, knees, and toes makes me a little fearful. When will I train? Hell, when will I sleep? What will I eat? Can I actually make it? Better question: What if I can’t?

This will be the first indication if I am the same because, to be honest, nothing about me feels the same. A lot of days the world is fuzzy and focusing is futile. My heart is sort of numb and everything is tasteless. My immediate responses to everything are either boiling hot or extremely cold with nothing in between. ‘I don’t care’ falls from my lips far too often and it seems ignorance really is bliss. This run will be a test of will and mental mind (as YG says). For a decade, this race has been about everything and everyone but me. It has been proof to others I am capable, proof anyone can do anything, proof I was strong enough to pull through, proof no injury could hold me back. This will be the first of many moments when no one and nothing matters except the one walking six miles in these shoes.

…….The buzz of the crowd swirls around like bees. The announcer has the crowd count down and suddenly, the swell moves. Your feet cross the red and blue line and you realize there is no going back. You have been counted. Your time has been started, and no matter how long it takes, even if you are last, quitting is not an option. And you know what? You don’t want to quit. You want to prove to yourself that you are you, this is you and no matter how far you get from home you will always come back.

~SM

Que Sera Sera, Smalls

Sit down. Let’s have a chat. Friend to friend. If I might be frank, you’re killin’ me, Smalls. You are up and down and you hardly know which end is up. But we can fix this…promise.

We can fix this shit storm you are in. We can step away from the funnel cloud and watch it all swirl round and round. Do you see what is passing by? Mmmhm, and you were standing in the middle of it. Now that you are on the outside looking in, let me give you some instructions.

  1. Leave It Alone. You heard me. Leave it all. Walk away and in the direction of calm. There is no clarity when you are rolling with the debris. Over there, in that funnel cloud, is grime and grit and broken pieces. All of it ripping and tearing your flesh. Before you can assess the damage, you are getting hit again. That is no way to live. Is it Smalls?
  2. Breathe. Take a deep breath. Let it out. Matter of fact, take more than one. I’ll wait. Feels good, right? Now that you are calmer, we can move on to the next thing…
  3. Don’t Turn Back. Easier said than done, I know (just ask Lot’s wife, oh wait…you can’t), but try. Plant your face in the direction of goodness and light and will yourself not to look back. Nothing good comes from looking at the damage. It will just upset you. It will have you second-guessing. What is lost is lost. What you abandoned you abandoned. It is okay.
  4. Don’t Let Guilt Consume You. What is behind you is behind you. The choices you made are made. If they were stupid, then fine, they were stupid. If they were good at the moment, then cool. Yay, you. But no matter what you did or didn’t do, this just was not for you. Do not continue to carry around the guilt of the ‘what-if’. You can only do your part. You are not responsible for how others choose to react.
  5. Get Over It. I know, these are the worst three words anyone in pain can hear. It is harsh, yes, but it is necessary. Nothing you can ever do will change it. Perhaps if you are lucky enough to have a time machine, one day (if it bothers you that much) you can go back and fiddle with it, but for now, my G…gone ‘head somewhere. This holding pattern you are in isn’t healthy, and it won’t end if you continue to mull over what you can’t change.

Now that you have your instructions and you are starting from scratch, I want you to start with just the basics. Do not pile too much on your plate. Take it easy. Be in the stillness when you can, remind yourself to be present, and lean in. Lean in with all your might and grab onto what matters most. I know, it hurts. It does not seem like anything will go your way, but trust me, friend, it will. Just be patient, be faithful and keep walking toward peace. Keep grounding yourself in the simple parts of life and keep the understanding ‘whatever will be will be’ with you. Que sera sera, Smalls. Que sera sera.

~SM

Energy Shift

After a long week chocked full o’ vomit and diarrhea (now dubbed Stomachbugmagedon henceforth), a much-needed breath of fresh air was warranted. YG and I snatched up the baby, slipped into a pew, heard some desperately craved Word and took a Sunday ride. Along the ride, we had a bare naked conversation about where we were individually and collectively. I did not like our energy. Neither of us had been the same for a long while. Our lives seemed to be unraveling at the corners and eventually, the whole thing would come apart. But if we could prevent that, then why not? We are everything. Everything is us. What we put out is what we get back. If he hadn’t lost that, I certainly had…it was time I got it back.

Energy is everything. I had forgotten that. I had let myself forget I am apart of this thing called life. Not the ‘life’ we are always talking about—the journeys and the a-ha’s—but life the living, breathing thing. I let the sludge get mixed in with the good and it turned sour. I forgot what I was putting into the world would return to me in the way I presented it.

The moment we walked out of the church, our energy shifted. The second we ended our naked conversation, the air shifted. Things were possible. Yes, somethings might be a little on the tougher side, but it all seemed possible. We saw an open house sign and decided to just go take a look. Buying a home right now is a long way away, but what harm would it do to just pretend for a little while? From the onset, it was perfect for us and when we walked out our lives had shifted. We could no longer afford to fumble around in the dark, walk on eggshells or defer dreams. We had to become one with that which was around us, become one with each other and most importantly, allow God to breathe life onto dusty bones.

We walked out talking excitedly as if we would go home and call our banker right away. We smiled at the thought of The Boy finally getting his own bathroom too little too late. We made plans for the unfinished rooms in the basement. When the day turned to night and everyone was snuggled under their individual covers, I slipped into the shower. I closed my eyes and for the next ten minutes, I pictured myself taking a shower in the home we had walked through…our home.  I turned the water off and smiled. Hope had returned and pretty soon our energy would be right where it should be. Thank God for the shift.

~SM

Life & Time

I stepped into a friend’s beautiful home, full of warmth and the air thick with love, lugging The Baby, bags and The Kids. I sat across from an old friend, his face a little older, middle a smidge softer, and gray streaking his beard. We talked about his job and kids. It was sort of surreal to see us in this space. My babies (save the last one) were no longer babies, neither were his. At one time, both sets could be held on a lap or in the crook of an arm, but no longer. They were too busy running by or engrossed by whatever technology held their interest. Somehow, the time had flown.

Somehow life had been lived in the space of these almost twenty years. A lot of life had been lived. Adventures had been had, ideals had been formed and then questioned. Morals had been strengthened or lost…God, Himself, had made a lasting impression. Time was a moving, living, breathing thing, and we had moved, lived and breathed right along with it.

When I drove away, long-legged kids folded in their positions, heads bowed to the iPhone god, I thought about how I had gotten here. How had I ended up with two young adults, a new tiny one and all the attached adventure and wisdom? How had I made it past the devil’s tricks and my own stupidity? How had I found God and lost Him? How had I face planted and gotten back up? How had it all come to pass, and I was still able to tell all about it?

The how will forever be a mystery. The why, too. The awe, though, continues to take my breath away. I have lived. Man, oh man, have I lived. No, I have not been outside the country or brought down Goliath, but in my own little way, I have lived. It has been a ride, let me tell ya. Yes, there are days I would rather just sleep through it until I am ready to deal, but overall, it has been a fun ride chock full o’ nuts and laughter and joy and love. Boy…the stories I could tell (wink), but I won’t. I will keep them as my own little treasure, and when the days get long and my heart is heavy I will dig them up and take a peek. I will grab a snack, settle under the covers, Lifeflix…and chill 😉

~SM

The Possible Underneath

We are struggling pretty hard these days. We get paid on Friday morning and by Friday morning we are broke (yea, you read that right). I am barely keeping the car company off my ass, and most nights I spend the wee hours of the morning hoping the loud pickup trucks ambling by are not tow trucks. Rent is paid late, but seriously who has $1500 on the first, ever?  I slowly pass by the almond butters, the salmons and the exotic fruits and veggies for the staples: peanut butter, fish sticks and iceberg lettuce (or frozen brocc). We are in the sweet spot of making too much on paper but making too little in the real world. It can be hard to dream under these circumstances, yes? Ah…but I manage.

Don’t get me wrong, we have joyous moments. We play board games with the kids (when we tie them down) or throw caution to the wind and rent an odd movie or two (The Oath is so random). We forget about bills, empty bank accounts and pickup trucks rolling by for stretches at a time. A slobbery smile from Cookie or an out of place dance move from The Girl or an absurd comment from The Boy peek under the blanket of stress, for a moment. And in the quiet moments, when the house is quiet and the only sound is stillness, I dream.

Possibility is a constant. It never fades. It is always there to be rummaged through. It is why I lose myself in the stillness and dream. I dream of writing. I dream of creating a space all my own. I dream of vacations. I dream of being better than Sir King. I dream of my children rolling their eyes at the mention of my books from a stranger/classmate/teacher. I dream of big oaks and a conversation with Madam O. I dream about me, the little green sprout, pushing through the cold, uncomfortable blanket of snow.

It is not impossible. Nothing is impossible. It feels like it. My God does it feel like it, but underneath all of this heavy, there is something…possible. No, this isn’t comfy. It affects the sight and the mind. It makes things appear so much different than it is making it hard to navigate. It is easy to get lost when everything is covered. But the minuscule, lush green beacon of light poking through the blinding white is a reminder that everything is possible….I just have to hang on and dig a little deeper. I have to rummage through the possible and grab something, anything, and try it on for size. There is nothing to lose but opportunities not seized.

~SM

From The Mouths of Babes

For a whole fifteen teenage minutes yesterday, The Girl stood making her case as to why I should start making gift baskets again or go back to G. Mag. She proceeded to say how I needed something for myself and how she was trying to boost my confidence. “I have confidence!” I proclaimed. She didn’t look all that convinced. YG sat on my right, amen-ing from his gallery seat. “Please tell your mother.” He said. “I’ve been telling her this for how long?” He said. Okay, okay. I get it. It is time to stop sleeping. I hear you.

Here’s the thing, though. I made (and stand by) some valid excuses—err points. First, the basket thing is tough. I hate selling stuff. I’m terrible at it. And besides, who would actually spend their hard-earned money on…me?  As far as my baby G. Mag is concerned, I refuse to bring her back without doing it right. I need money, and a lot of it, to do it the way it should be done. Figure it out, they said. *sigh* Don’t worry about the money, they demanded. Invest in yourself, they preached. It isn’t that easy. Is it?

Aside from (the valid) excuses and their ridiculous rebuttals, I do feel like it is time. Something is brewing along the horizon in the distance. The air around me is static and the clouds are pregnant…with something.

I won’t say I am close. I am not. But I am certainly not as far removed as I was. I think the circumstances at the present moment are roaring in my ears. So much so, I can’t hear the sound being made from dreams meant to be touched. Perhaps, that is why on a beautiful Sunday afternoon a 16-year-old with important teenage things to do stood in my face defiantly walking all over my excuses trying to convince me of what was waiting. “If I had talent like you, Mommy,” she said matter of factly, “I’d be using it.” Well…I guess its time I start, hm?

~SM