Sliding back to normal

Manhattan SunsetFor the first time in a while, I woke up at past 6am Tuesday morning instead of the usual four-ish no alarm clock wake up call. Although it meant losing out on a headstart to the day, it felt good. I’m keeping my fingers crossed my body clock is easing back to a more reasonable morning schedule, because I don’t know how long I can last the 4-4:30am rise-and-shine-silent-alarm it’s been forcing upon me.

Or maybe I’m just getting older.

It could also be that it’s my body’s way of rebelling against all the stress I’ve been deluged with the last year or so.  Maybe.

But Monday night was rather pleasant, and I did stay up late.  So Tuesday saw me sliding back to normal.

These days, I am careful to label things as “normal” because I feel like I have somehow lost sight of it.  In a sense, I feel as if everything has just changed so dramatically.  From white to red, from blank to a full slate.  When you go through a life-changing experience, your perspective of how things are and your sense of reality are altered by the sum total of the  jolt or series of jolts you are subjected to.

I was reflecting on how different the sun seems to be shining these days compared to the very dark days of a year ago.  That was the time I was so full of anger and pain that if I were a color, I’d simply be black.  A dark, dark and endless black.  There were times when I would be simply walking and I would find myself suddenly enveloped in a deep rage.  I got reacquainted with chest pains that made me cough.  The anger and the pain were just too great that they manifested themselves in a very physical sense.

I still see hints of the darkness but I think I have a better grasp of how things have gone and are going in my life.  I have adjusted focus and now try to dwell on moving on and discarding the negative energy, and building on the positive.  I look for little bits of “happy” instead of trying to chase after the big dream that might not be my reality (or future) after all.  As BFF Fe would say, I’m kinder to myself these days.

I’m not as quick to react now.  And of course, that can be both good and bad — but I take a moment to evaluate things and think before I speak.  One disadvantage of having the gift for gab is that on the negative end of the spectrum, one is often caught saying hurtful or damaging things that can no longer be taken back once spoken or published.  (Don’t you hate how the internet has no “delete forever” function?)

My “normal” has since changed definitions — but it’s a state I’m trying to aim for.  Eventually.

So I go on with my personal art, chronicling my life in my altered book via art journaling, writing here, taking my online classes and making plans for the near future.  (Next week is near enough.)  My “normal” now is to be more outgoing and not be so quick to turn down invitations from friends to have a life between work and home.  It’s about putting myself first where I used to put everyone ahead of me.

It’s about finding a new perspective with which to see how sidewalks can lead to alleys of adventure if you let go and not try too hard to always walk in a straight line.  Sometimes you have to take an unfamiliar turn and just follow your instincts, and maybe you might discover something new, something to smile about.

All that on the way to normal.

 

 

 

 

On the road through the years

Road tripAs I write this, we’re driving down to Washington DC to attend a wedding. Things sure have changed from the days of MapQuest and driving as a couple to today’s GPS and the boy seating in front and me relegated to the back.

I remember how we used to fight because I failed to prompt the turn or exit in time until I got the rhythm of reading the directions and calling them out. These days, any wrong turns are more because of the kid talking over the audio prompts or an outright miscalculation of the driver.

I still travel with my bag of “go-to” items… Paper towel, folded plastic bags, sanitizer, snacks, water, baby wipes. And there are the chargers, the various handhelds, the iPad, etc. the technology actually came in handy today as the boss started texting me early this morning. While I am happy he misses me, I worry that I’m out at the wrong time and day and start feeling guilty. I am lucky that he is generally very mindful of reaching out to me when I am out of the office, so when he does, I pay heed.

But back to being on the road.

I don’t know about you but I like visiting the rest areas. The ones in Maryland, in particular, have been recently renovated and Angelo says that they feel like you’re in an airport food court. I like browsing the convenience stores for postcards and other souvenirs. During the last trip, I got some wood-mounted postcards that were quite a find. We also got the tiniest snow globe magnet of New Jersey for my nephew, Art.

Each trip is different even if we have a familiar destination we’ve driven to and from before. This one’s been easier for the usually car sick 10-year-old this time around, thanks to his sea bands and meds. I let him sit in front and enjoy the drive with his Dad behind the wheel. I sit at the back and do my own thing.

We usually seek out the Cracker Barrel restaurants along the way, but we were in a rush to get going given all the traffic we hit, we’re postponing that for the trip back.