...the hell?! It's September 23. The last time I wrote it was July (and I have to say I was proud of that last post, aesthetically speaking) and suddenly I find myself walking through the grocery store surrounded by cheap Halloween decore.
Seriously, I'm like Rip van Winkle and I woke up to a world turning without me -- one minute it's July and the next minute it's the second half of the fiscal year and my company is laying people off again. (nothing like working hand in hand with the government to create the need for brown shoes and communism -- at least I hear the unemployment checks should receive an increase soon)
Truly, if there's anything that irks me in this fourth decade of my existence (I like saying it that way, makes me feel younger. I'm just a pre-schooler in the grand scheme of Life and its Lovely Little Lessons.) it's that I feel like a chicken with my head cut off. I know what that's like too! My great grandmother grew up on a farm and when I was about five she told me how her dad would tell her to ring the chicken's neck so her mom could start dinner. She would go outside and grab the chicken by its head and swing it around, lasso style, and then jerk the chicken like a whip and the head would pop right off. The body though, after getting back onto its feet, would run rampantly around the yard for a while before finally accepting its fate and realizing it wasn't supposed to function without its head.
(I never forgot that story. You know, I was five... with an imagination much more vivid than the one I have now. Really... the horror... I think the world will suffer once that generation and my parents' generation is no more. They really have the best stories. What can I tell my grandchildren? "This one time, I bought a chicken from Albertsons that had three breasts. That was when I realized they were using too much growth hormone. A year or so after that they started selling cloned meat and well... that's when I went completely organic... sorta...")
Anyway, that's what I feel like -- someone popped my head off a few years ago and my body is still running around like it's supposed to function. And I'm constantly living with this stupid thought that life is passing me by and it isn't because I'm not doing anything it's because I'm doing everything except for what I really want to do! Obligations obligations obligations... political appearances here, smiley faces there, rub an elbow, brown a nose... Oh look! Someone else realized I have a skill they can use to their advantage! Oh YES! And they want me to help them look good for FREE! SIGN ME UP! SIGN ME UP! I would love to put in ALL OF MY EXTRA PERSONAL TIME TO THIS PROJECT!! I would love to stress out over one more thing! YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(hopefully, you pick up on the sarcasm there but, as is usually the case, there is truth to sarcasm... meaning -- I was indeed working extra hard on more than one project both in and outside of work for little more than a pat on the back and thanks for making me look good. I think, halfway through my fourth decade of Life, I'm starting to realize that it doesn't pay to be the creative force behind someone else's greatness, even if you do take pride in what you created. It feels a lot like doing the bully's homework in an attempt to keep your lunch money.)
In the meantime, two weeks before I complete one of said extracurricular pro-bono projects, would it be a shock to you if I said my health took a serious dive? If you are one of my readers that is only in your second or third decade of life, you may be sitting there saying, "Health? What's that?" But any of the others who have graduated from Life Lesson Level Three are going through their memory files right now and reading this with complete understanding and find themselves wanting to say something to me like:
"Don't take life so seriously. No one gets out alive."
Yes, I know. I was thinking the same thing as I was sitting in the Emergency Room a few weeks ago. The problem is, my nature is to take life seriously. I believe in giving everything I've got to the things that matter most. What seems to be my problem is that I also give everything I've got to the things that don't matter most. I apparently need a class on priorities and time management (which should include time to eat healthy, sleep well, exercise properly, and have a glass of wine as I sit and tap into my imagination and create something that feeds my soul). And maybe, in Life's perfect plan, this is the class I unknowlingly signed up for this fall semester of my 35th year. So far it's a great class filled with medical terminology I have to look up and research so I understand more about what it is, exams that sometimes include cool medications reminiscent of the more carefree days between the first and second decades of my life, and Doctors who can teach and mentor me as I move through this transitional period of my physical existence. The final exam (of course) is a test in the practical application of all I am learning and well, the quality of my lifespan is the grade. It really is a lot like grad school, it's just that the doctor has MD instead of PhD at the end of his name. The result though, improved quality of life, is about the same. (even if I'm not working in my field, I am convinced my education has been my saving grace more than once in terms of job security and my paycheck ... at least until they start passing out brown shoes and we find ourselves needing a PhD to work at McDonalds)