Saturday, June 9, 2012

Life's a bitch beach

Feeling my little guy's body shudder with sleep as he cuddles next to me, I consider something  said to me recently - that I make things look easy.  The manner in which I navigate through life somehow gave the impression that I don't struggle, that I don't sometimes feel the waves threaten to swamp me.  

When I think about my life, I try to remain cognizant of moderation and balance.  With my mind's eye, I see myself juggling.  Constantly.  There are three balls I continually find myself tossing and catching.  The first contains my boys, beloved friends and family.  I need to place them front and center because I love them and want them to be happy.  The second ball is the me ball.  It's about exercising and writing and reading and whatever else I might do to stay healthy and challenged.  The third ball is all about responsibilities; work and home and finances.  These are the things which, while lowest in my personal priorities list, intimidate me the most.  Probably because I don't have control over them. 

I was raised to be responsible.  Whether it was waking up and getting myself ready for school at the ripe old age of 6 or paying my rent from age 20 on, I knew if it was going to happen I had to take care of it myself.  Decades later, I have more responsibilities than ever - 3 boys who seem to look exclusively to me when they need sneakers or other clothing for their quickly growing bodies, a nearly 100 year-old house with an accompanying mortgage. And insurance. And utilities.  A professional career that garners little respect despite an advanced degree and 15 years of experience in the field...

There are days that completely, totally suck.   When I realize I have missed a due date or deadline I can feel my spine tighten and my forehead bead with perspiration.  Obviously, I don't enjoy these sensations and I try to avoid them, but, you know what?  I'm not perfect and, as I frequently explain to my children, I'm doing my best.

Sometimes we forget or romanticize what the beach is really like. It certainly can be scenic and pleasingly comfortable, but we may neglect to remember that it is also kind of messy. You know, everything ends up sticky from sunscreen and sand and sea salt, demanding a thorough rinse off. The drawbacks of the beach might be nearly completely negated by an outdoor shower, preferably starlit, but it would be naive to consider the beach, or one's life, as perfect. Nonetheless, grab your suit and don't forget to bring a towel.

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