Weirdly, this feels like my most vulnerable post yet. Probably because it focuses on my inner workings, and not external awfulness going on around me. Welcome to a piece of my headspace.
Sometimes I feel like I just owned the world, and sometimes I feel like the world’s biggest failure. I suspect that’s what it means to be human. This weekend I felt mostly the former, but the latter always creeps in, especially when I least expect it.
I’m not good with uncertainty. One of my dad’s favorite idioms is, “make sure all your ducks are in a row.” Or, be prepared by controlling All The Things. It’s not a terrible sentiment, usually, except for those nights when I lay awake, fretting over all the things that are beyond my control. To be fair, my father understands that some things are beyond control; I’m the one who struggles with this concept.
When those ducks are ornery I start to panic, but try to remind myself to take ownership of what I can control and trust in the universe to handle the rest. It works, most of the time.
We’ve all been there (and if you haven’t, please, tell me your secret): it’s late, the darkest part of the night, that time when your home is at its most silent. It’s the time of night when it feels quite possible to be the only soul awake in the world, and maybe you even go a bit existential and question your existence…are you really alive? Are any of us? What does it even mean, to be alive, anyway?
This was not one of those nights. This was a night when my ducks were haunting me, relentless, keeping me awake to angst over needing to get a job in September.
That’s right – it’s June, and I had ducks parading around in my head, beating drums and trumpeting horns, telling me I must do something about needing to get a job in September.
I mean, plenty of places would hire me in June, when I can’t start until after Labor Day, right?
I never said the ducks were logical.
We were so, so very fortunate that I was able to quit my job at the end of February in order to better care for Love Bug – to truly make her our priority – but even then, we understood it was a temporary change. The fact is, like every “millennial” (ugh – that term) I know, we have a lot of debt. Some is “responsible” (she said sardonically), but a lot of it is not; it’s just circumstantial. On top of the debt we had, we now also have recurring medical bills that will likely continue to accumulate for the foreseeable future. Add to that the fact it’s a priority to us that Love Bug returns to preschool in September – which ain’t cheap – and we simply cannot float forever on one income.
Which is fine, except for those stupid ducks who are insisting I do something about it RIGHT NOW. At midnight, on Sunday.
In the end, I write everything out by hand, practicing my cursive, which up until recently I haven’t used since learning it in the third grade. The flow is pretty, and soothing, and grounds me. And as I write, two things occur to me.
The first is that there’s no sense worrying about something beyond my control – it’s stupid, unproductive, and possibly damaging to be fretting over not being able to get a job when September rolls around, in June. It makes no sense to worry for the next three months, when I can’t actually do anything proactive until August, at the earliest. I’ll continue to keep an eye on openings at places I’m interested in, and hit the ground running when the time comes. In that way, actually, I am being as proactive as I can.
The second is far more profound. I realized that I don’t have ducks. I don’t have a row. I have squirrels, and they’re at a rave. And instead of railing against the beat, I may as well grab a glow-stick and go crazy. For the time-being, at least.
I mean, even squirrels need to sleep sometimes, right?