This greeted me this morning on Instagram, and I realized that the reason I’ve been feeling so cranky lately is because I’m wanting something other than what I have.
I know better than this, right? Live in the moment, accept what is. But here I am again, wishing and hoping, looking to the future to save me from the present. Oh well, I’m not perfect. Surprise, surprise.
Summer is my favorite time of year, and where I live it’s short. Three glorious months of sunshine and warm weather. The list of things I like to do in the summer is long, and almost all of them involve being outside. In my present living and working situation my time is limited and by necessity I spend most of my time indoors.
Not what I want.
I really enjoyed my 5-day mini-vacation before the 4th. The weather was fabulous and I took long bike rides every afternoon, spent most mornings reading on the patio, and had campfires (s’mores!) a couple of evenings. This past weekend was nice, too, and I enjoyed a couple of nice rides, which really is my priority in the summer, so I was a happy girl.
Now today I’m back at work, freezing in my ridiculously over-air conditioned office, trying to keep up with today’s Tour de France stage via live feed from Cycling News, and feeling sorry for myself that I’m not retired and free to enjoy this lovely summer day doing something fun outside.
Not what I want.
Tonight when I get home I may have time for a short ride, but the bulk of the evening will be spent cooking dinner, doing dishes, and hanging out with mom inside watching TV. Tomorrow night groceries, cooking, dishes, TV. Rinse, repeat. Everyday until the weekend, when I’m freer to be outside more because I’m not working and mom hasn’t been alone all day. If the weather holds I can have a nice long ride each afternoon, as I did this weekend.
Not horrible, but not what I want.
I want to be free. I want to ride for a couple of hours after work every night like I used to. I want to walk home for lunch and sit at my table outside in the backyard and eat while reading. I want to go out with friends and sit at a table outside and drink a beer and laugh and have fun. I want to go down to the park and enjoy whatever band is playing on Thursday night and look at the boats and people in the marina while I listen. I want to go to the beach and spend all day there soaking up the sun and swimming in the lake and reading.
I don’t want to sit in this cold office and do work I don’t like for difficult people. I don’t want to cover the front office at noon and deal with all the questions I don’t know the answers to that people come in or call with. I don’t want to hear about all the fun things my co-workers did last weekend or last night. I don’t want to deal with the tourist traffic to get home to make lunch for mom and scarf my lunch so I can get back in time.
I don’t want to have every minute of everyday scheduled with things I do for other people and don’t enjoy. I want to be free.
But I’m not. I’m not free, and I’m not having a lot of fun. Wishing and hoping and thinking about the future (when I’m retired and my mother is gone) doesn’t change that. And in the big scheme of things it’s not even that important. Lots of people work in jobs they don’t like and have family responsibilities. Most people, in fact. I have always worked and there seemed to be enough time for other things. I was lucky to have the freedom I did before.
And I totally get how lucky I am that my biggest complaint right now is that I’m not having fun.
So, poor me. I need to gently remind myself to just be here now. This is how it is, and until it changes (and it will, for better or worse) I need to find contentment in the moment right now, cuz really that’s all there is. The future is not guaranteed. Anything can happen.
Eckhart Tolle says, “Leave the situation, change the situation, or accept it. All else is madness.”
Exactly. I’m driving myself mad for no reason. I can’t leave my mother or my job, and changing anything right now would be counterproductive. So acceptance is the only way. It works the way it is, and that’s what matters. The rest is gravy and that just makes you fat.
On with the day, and the summer, and the year. one minute at a time. Appreciating what is.
Got it. Whew!