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Calm at the center of the storm. Perhaps it is merely knowing the storm was not of our making or a result of the New Spock Attitude I've been cultivating. More likely it was that my Evil Twin was taking such delight in the other side's -- excuse me, our partner's-- chaos and complete lack of preparedness that even though we had to endure part of their pain it was simply overwhelmed by the satisfaction of observing their failures. It is easy to keep a steady façade and smile politely on the outside while the inside resounds with devilish laughter.
Just how unrealistic my theoretical ideas for new career options are becomes apparent today. Not just financially, but if the idea is to have more time to myself, for myself, none of my ideas to date are the right path. Yet three years ago the current reality seemed similarly unlikely to ever happen. It is time to go to ground, listen deeply to the universe, talk with the real me and make some decisions. I've made decisions for the immediate changes and if things feel the same after my all too brief vacation, I'll set the wheels in motion.
Moving at a slow, controlled, but dead run all day gets the required minimum done today and I am home early enough to actually have time to enjoy being home. An hour of so of daylight, flowers scenting the air, kitties being cute - a certain peace begins to seep back in with the realization that I will escape the demands of my life for five days. Scavenging dinner from the remains in the fridge I pause and recognize that the weight has been lifted, just in the anticipation of immanent departure.
Things are much worse than I'd previously recognized.
Everything flows like clockwork, all the loose ends come together and I'm on my way. A few days of delicious freedom waits for me. A leisurely game of adult hide-and-seek follows at the airport with an attractive Brit also traveling alone, a nice way to start the trip, set the tone. I wish the Wizard the best of luck on the last segment of his journey to the Big Dream and realize, not for the first time, that he needs to choose the whole dream in IMAX, soon, or I will have to find a way to walk away.
Our arrival in Burford is all that is graciousness and warmth. Divine food and drink, refreshed after a brief nap, we tour high Street. Remove the single stoplight and the cars and suddenly it is 1602, not 2002.
Tea with incredible scones slowly gives way into a light dinner, esconced in wingback chairs in The Library. I realize this is the last time the three of us will do this, share this communion. The last several years we have done this several times in the city, at my house, at DragonCon and now, here, on the eve of her wedding.
I play at makeup artist, hairdresser and photographer today. I seem to be moderately successful at all three. The British contingent is a great bunch and I'm startled by the underlying similarities between one and the Wizard. It is a long day and despite my pain, a good day. Nine years ago I was not a very good friend at her wedding celebration. It is easier now, even though it will be even a stronger separation. I am now sadly accustomed to seeing friends go their own way. It all sets my mind to wander among my field of possibilities.
The newlyweds are off to Cornwall for a week of solitude and finally I have a day to catch up. Nothing more than sleeping, eating and reading is on the schedule for today. The library's wingback chairs might as well have our names on them as we settle in again, watching the comings and goings of other guests. I am too tired to even contemplate acknowledging my other existence although my conscience does prick me. I have no memory of what a real vacation is - one without a laptop in tow or worry about checking in with the office.
The sun finally shines as we prepare to leave Burford for London - what a pity we didn't get to sit in the garden for morning coffee or afternoon tea. Arrival in Paddington Station and the black cabs tell me this is London, but it is not the London I remember. Walking through Westminster, Saville Row, Soho and Covent Gardens the return to civilization isn?t painful at all. Of course, this t isn't *my* civilization.
Is it the improved economy that has changed things or is it that I am only seeing Westminster, or am I looking for different things this time?
Coming home to a garden that is in full bloom is such a welcome. It is warm and inviting, a place where someone really lives. My flowers are an extension of me; the shuttle driver suggested I make landscaping my next career. I noticed in London the lack of trees on the streets. I wouldn't have expected it in Soho, but even Mayfair didn't have tree-lined streets unless there was a park, although in Saville Row there were many flowerboxes. Perhaps the age of the city and the fact it just grew haphazardly rather than being laid out is responsible.
Looked at the photos for the wedding in the Cotswolds today. Not bad, although the backgrounds can't help but be beautiful. I should have taken some photos of High Street on Saturday. After a single day at work - and not even a full day - it all seems so far away. That leads me back to the conclusion that it is time to get out of there. I am no closer to knowing where to go next, but it's increasingly clear I must do something. I don't want to think of the client as meat, as someone recently suggested.
Beware! Very good things are coming! So say the signs, portents and prophets. I try to remain optimistic but I have no idea what they're talking about. Everything looks bleak from every angle and there is nothing on the immanent horizon that is discernable to the open heart. Adding to the confusion is that I am no longer sure what my heart's desire is, in any respect. And I've begun to wonder, how long do you hold on to a dream before you move from being a practical dreamer to being a foolish dreamer then to just being a fool?
Wholesale change - that is what I am looking for, I realized today. So very little in my life makes me happy right now, there?s no reason to hang on to the significant parts. I'm too tired to take a nap as impossible as that sounds, so perhaps my logic isn't quite there. Or perhaps I'm freed from its restraint. I need to find a new job, new commute, new social options. But what? Where? City or Island? Shoot for the dream or just a way-station en route to total escape? I am filled with questions and virtually no answers.
Nodding off in late the evening a daydream drifted into my head, a very pleasant if completely unreal concept. In the daydream it seemed like a small bit of paradise brought to my real life - a lovely, whisp of a dream. Thinking about it later, I realized it represents something, is a variation on a theme of something I have known I want for some time but have never articulated clearly. That variations are now surfacing in daydreams, like signposts on deserted stretch of highway, suggests it's time to not just articulate the thought, but do something about it.
I wouldn't have believed it four years ago when I moved here but I like being part of a community, a small one, at least. The commuter gang is a small one, and I do like knowing there are a few people who can identify me and my car and know when the car sits in the parking lot beyond its usual pattern. Someone would notice if something happened, and given my current isolation, I do take comfort in that small bit of connection to a surrounding community, however miniscule. It seems I am not wholly isolated from the environment.
Back holes surround me. I am losing things left and right, my energy is sucked away. Time also seems altered, somehow moving slower as I progress through a minimum of day's activities. It is not enough to actually gain a few hours or anything but at least it provides me with a few moments to savor the fact that I'm not at work.
The distraction for my obsession is no longer distracting enough no matter what I do. A week is pretty good mileage, all things considered, but now if feels even more as though I'm back in my life.
Another day made intolerable by the intrusion of work - not just phone calls but having to be physically present in the office. Alternatives to this life are still nothing more than thoughts, but I am now actively pursuing them, looking for opportunities, trying to find my future life. I don't believe anyone enjoys looking for a new job - it is always a stressful experience. As I don't even have time to get the minimum basics of life done at the moment, I am not at all certain how I'll manage the hours necessary for phone calls and interviews.
Hurry up and wait defines today, which seems to have no end at all. It is official, work has consumed my life, completely and utterly. I cannot stop it now, it is a monster out of control. I try to move as slowly as I can while things rush around me, hoping I will catch something falling between the cracks. It's also necessary to conserve my energy as I know this will continue for some time, some days, some weeks before I can end it. The summer stretches out before me, shimmering like a long road in the desert heat.
I must get out. There will be no possibility of having any kind of life at any point in this calendar year if I stay, this becomes more apparent every day.
Disjointed thoughts as a result of working 40 hours with only 3 hours sleep and being short on sleep to begin with. I have problems speaking today, my brain randomly selecting the wrong word, but a related word, especially when it comes to time - Monday instead of tomorrow, last year instead of yesterday. I'm sure Freud would attribute deeper meaning to these kind of substitutions.
The universe appears to knock at my doorstep and I try to answer each one as if it is a possible future opportunity. Hey, you never know where the next thing will come from.
Bleakness pours from his words, the steady LCD unwavering, stoic in the face of such terrible disappointment. I find my hand reaching out to touch the words on the screen, as though it were his face and feel the tears forming in my eyes. I remember a similar time in my life when it seemed as though my entire future was being wiped out. There is nothing I can do for him at this moment, separated as we are by the city, our lives, our realities. I can only try to convey in digital form my sorrow, understanding and solace.
I watch the afternoon gloaming shift into dusk as I sit on the porch on this, the longest day. I struggle to find a point of some balance after the upheaval of the last two weeks, the last two days. I see a yellow spark across the street and blink. I have not seen fireflies yet this year, I realize, and start what has become an annual tradition, celebrating the first fireflies of the summer. Watching them dance across the yard, I snap the connection to here and now and become a little girl again. For a little while, anyway.
Balancing productivity against downtime on a knife's edge. What do I feel compelled to do but don't need to do to survive another week - what is the bare minimum to do without making it worse next week? How much "fun" can I have when I have no, I mean *no* energy? Reading is the answer. I spend a weekend with a number of books that take me to different times, places, entertain me, feed me. Little energy required. And if I fall asleep, take a nap, the story will be waiting for me, just where I left off.
Idling on the porch - what luxury, decadence and irresponsibility. I find myself thinking along these lines as I watch the afternoon drift into evening while reading another novel - number four for the weekend. Dinner is eaten in distinct courses on the porch, trying to balance both plate and book while warding off the cats proves rather complicated but it's worth the effort to stay on the porch. I never want to leave it. A string of such perfect days, like pearls on a string, could do much to repair my inner reserves, bring them back to functional levels.
The only thing that stands out about today is tiredness. Being so tired I cannot write a simple letter without difficulty. I speak of The Wizard to someone who knows nothing of my personal life. I turn off Roman Holiday, a delightful piece of nostalgia guaranteed to raise my spirits (until the last ten minutes) and go to bed. From these ashes I must somehow rise, a Phoenix reborn. I have all but settled on a job on the Island, just to do away with the extensive commute, but traffic here on the island will mean some form of commute.
How much do I do out of a sense of duty and obligation rather than from pleasure and passion? How many times have I started something because it felt good then somehow converted it to something I should do thereby rendering it a negative, a burden? A quick review of this year reveals several things that started out as things I love to do then became "shoulds." To avoid when I have limited time. Remembering how good I feel when I let myself do these things may be a way to do them just because it will make me happy.
I realized today just how much I don't know how to schmooze or truly network. I do know how to listen and ask questions, to charm by verbally rendering myself too human, the world around me a touch ludicrous with my wry and deprecating comments. And I wonder what that says about my reality, when I feel I the only way to establish some common ground is revealing in a humorous light things that will I know be perceived by others as flaws or frailties. Only the very brightest newcomers will realize the depth of the intelligence behind the patter.
My mind seems unable to focus on anything real, any part of the here and now. Instead, I am caught in daydreams that have no bearing to any reality, now or future. They are a total escape from my surroundings. It seems that if I am unable to provide a physical getaway, my mind has decided to provide an imaginary getaway, vacation for the soul, to a different time and place altogether. No matter the details the theme remains consistent. Of course the daydreams are so perfect, catering to my every desire that reality seems even bleaker upon my return..
The evening storm came up quickly and released a torrent of rain and brief flashes of lightning before moving on just as quickly. The people gathered in the street for a summer evening celebration on Main Street in the village rapidly disbursed; luckily the event was nearly over anyway. I want a storm like that to come into my life now. Or perhaps it already has, and that's the problem. It was too short to release a flood, no flood to wash over me, so dry, a barren river wide. Calling Peter Murphy...Mr. Murphy to the white courtesy phone, please.
Three months ago I had a tiger by the tail. The tiger turned out to be an illusion, but one I keep reaching for, hoping to catch again. Obsessions aren't easy to shake and distractions from the obsession can turn into new obsessions.
I wish I could just turn it off, leave it all behind and focus exclusively on the work to be done now. But appearances to the contrary, I am not Spock. Neither am I Kirk, for whom his work is his greatest, all-consuming love. The office wants me as dedicated as Kirk but to react like Spock.
Another evening spent lazing on the porch in stubborn refusal to o the work piled up around me. I see that although there are many porches on the adjacent houses, few of them see any use. Perhaps porches, like drive-in movies, are a legacy of a time gone by, before video games and VCRs, when families and neighbors formed a community. Even if there was someone for me to share the porch with, would we use it on summer evenings? Would we linger here, watch Venus rising above the house across the street, watch fireflies twinkle in their delightful dance?
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