Big Ol’ Backpack.

I got a message from someone today, apologizing for something they messed up. It wasn’t a big deal and the apology was appreciated but not hugely necessary.

What was interesting is that, after apologizing, they said that they know I’m going through some assorted stuff in my life and they really admire the fact that I’m still holding my shit together .. and they don’t know why they can’t, too.

Hahahahahahaha Whoah, buddy. WHAT?!

There are many forces of chaos in my life lately – some of which are just about accepting change, some that are hugely disruptive, some that I’ve talked openly about, some I’ve only told a select few, some that I can’t do anything about.. etc. 

Yes, I am holding lots of things together, easily, at the moment. And I have also fumbled, or completely dropped, a bunch of things. I have handed a few things over to a few people. I have handed a LOT of things over to other people.

Am I making it all look easy? Two reasons why – first, you’re probably only seeing part of the picture. Second, I’m lucky.

Where I’m lucky is that I have the ability to fuck up, drop balls, hand things off to other people, be open about the hard things, and go through some shit, without it majorly impacting the bigger picture of my life.

I have a job where I have worked for over a decade, and where I have demonstrated commitment and skill – giving me a bit of leeway to drop off a bit. A coworker covered 2 weekends in a row so I could have time off. I have vacation hours banked up to use in the coming weeks. If I needed to take a leave, I could. There is immense security in all of this.

I have coworkers who have picked up my slack in big, and small, ways. In part because they have strong commitment and passion for the work, in part because they are incredibly supportive of me, and in part because they (hopefully) know that I would do the same for them – we’re a team. Some of us have worked together for many years and there’s a great deal of comfort in that.

I have friends who repeatedly check in, send love notes, hug me, send me snacks, mail me postcards, and listen to me vent – and also celebrate with me. Distract me. Boost me up. Tell me hilarious stories. Send me memes. I am not the best of friends right now (or ever, really) but I am so very well-supported with so much love. I do not feel alone with whatever’s going on – there are people I can, and do, reach out to for support. Not everyone is that lucky.

I have the financial resources to live reasonably. I can afford groceries and I eat meals of my choosing. I sleep in a climate controlled home. Mustang therapy is limited but still continues. I don’t have a huge amount of financial insecurity hanging over me while I try to deal with other things. Money is tighter but it’s an adjustment, not a terrifying situation. I have empty credit cards and access to a couple lines of credit, if I need them. I’m paid by salary, not hourly, so my finances are consistent. 

I have decent health. Allergies and migraines, sure, and wild insomnia – and all of that is an inconvenience, not a major concern. I don’t have chronic pain anymore. I have the normal trash heap body of a mainly sedentary 46 year old, but I don’t stress about that body – I get up, I go. (Sometimes an extra advil, sometimes an extra mug of coffee.) I have sick days at work if I ever need them. 

I don’t have small children at home. I am not taking care of anyone other than myself. I have the space and time to decompress and be grumpy and not worry about how that’s impacting on a tiny human. My kids are all adults – they are making choices and living lives that belong fully to them, not me. (That said, some of my current stress is related to my kid…)  I can be wildly selfishly self-centred when I need to be, and go to bed early or eat cookies for dinner (or skip dinner altogether) or sleep late.

My stress is not at all the same as many other people’s stress. If I am making it look easy, it’s because some parts are (relatively). 

And, too, things are getting easier. I am finding a nice routine and structure for my life. I have started doing new things. I am finally starting to sleep a bit more. My budget is starting to make more sense to me and I’m less terrified about the future of my finances. My kid is (sort of) stable at the moment.  There is also a nice predictability in my job, some of my friendships, in some of my old hobbies and routines..  And my awareness of the little shifts makes the stressful stuff feel less overwhelming.

Life is still weird. But it’s not terrible… And it keeps getting better, bit by bit, which helps so much. A lot of people don’t have/feel hope for things to improve.

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