Riding the waves

There's a thin line between exhilaration and terror

“Setting the expectation that things will be easy results in disappointment and quitting at the smallest hiccup. If you prepare yourself for massive challenges and no such challenges crop up, it will be a pleasant surprise.”

[Source]

It’s been a challenging week, to put it mildly.

The financial reality is strain, with back-to-school enrollment fees and tuition for our four kids, and a long-awaited trip to see family, with flights, hotels, and trains booked. Yay! It’s going to be great if we can keep ourselves alive till the end of the month.

The work reality is almost-overload, as I’m at beginning point or wrap-up point for several client projects—which is when they require the most time and attention—plus taking on a few new writing gigs and working to document and systematize my own processes so I can outsource more of them. This will pay off, in multiple ways, but it’s a head-down-and-work-hard time until then… which has been made a bit more difficult by…

…The emotional reality which has been mostly terror. (You know I’m going to talk about my feelings. ALL OF THEM.) We found ourselves at the center of—we’ll call it community drama, for lack of a better term. I don’t really know what to call it. A mess. Painful, confusing, and full of lessons. I think we will be processing these lessons for a while. We have so much to learn about communicating, parenting, awareness, dealing with rumors, asking for help, and realizing that people will ultimately think what they want to think, and you have to be okay with that.

Ugh.

I wish I were mature enough to let all the bullshit float on by and be unaffected, but… Clearly, I am not. My emotional spectrum has been wiiiiiiiide this week, friends. From complete panic and terror to intense anger and hurt to a deep sense of loneliness and separation and fear of never being heard, never understood, to a “fuck-it-all” attitude that was, clearly, my attempt at self-protection.

I keep coming back to one thought:

We’re all doing the best we can.

All of us have the same goals: we want to be happy, we want the people we love to be happy, and we want our lives to mean something. We all have different ideas of happiness, and we all have different measures of meaning. That’s okay. All our differences create beautiful variations in life.

The tricky part is getting past those surface differences and recognizing our similarities. And looking at intention is important. It’s easy to feel attacked when someone spreads nasty rumors about you, but what’s the intention? How can I know that? How can I make that assumption? How can I judge someone’s motives, someone else’s understanding and choice, from the outside?

Obviously I can assume and I can judge, but I have no way of knowing what’s real and what isn’t until I talk to someone directly. Even then, communication can be difficult. If I go into a conversation with assumptions and predetermined judgements, can I really listen? Will I really be able to separate the facts from the feelings?

All I know is that community is worth the effort.

Conflict, misunderstandings, assumptions, hurts, offenses: these things come and go. Sometimes they come in mighty waves and knock us over. Sometimes they drip-drip-drip, a slow leak, and we overlook them until great damage has been done.

The doorways to connection look different than I expect them to. Every conflict is an opportunity. Every misunderstanding can lead to clarity, to deeper honesty and greater openness. That’s the path I want to walk. Here’s hoping I can figure out how.


Links!

Not much on the link list this week…

  • Is freelancing worth it? Freelancing, especially when you’re starting out, is not easy. It doesn’t have to be as difficult as I made it on myself (pro tip: don’t have four kids in five years and try to build a freelancing business at the same time unless you have serious masochistic tendencies which, apparently, I have). But it does require dedication, focus, hard work, and time. It’s easy to become disillusioned if you have expectations of ease. 

Enjoy your Sunday evening!

Watch the sunset, read a book, have a drink, plan your week, take some deep breaths, or… something completely different. It’s your life, and what you fill it with is entirely up to you. Make it good.