Monthly Archives: September 2013

A Moment of Bliss

As I mentioned in my last blog, there are a lot of unknowns in my life right now. I am working on “living in the maybe” and also rebuilding me. The two knowns I have are that I want to be happy and I want to be the best mom I can be. (Not a perfect mom – I totally embrace my children will learn a lot from my not-so-perfect ways. At least I certainly hope so!)

One thing I have learned about myself is when I am trying to be calm and going with the flow in one area, that restless energy inside me still comes out elsewhere. No matter how many walks, Daily Love Blogs, yoga, and introspective books I throw myself into … there is part of me I can’t change. I am not a great relaxer. Thus far, it has seemed to work to my benefit. The reallocation of energy has shown up in some great new ideas at work, led to better organization of my house and our schedules (though the kids aren’t as keen on mom’s new thoughts for “healthy” routines), and has even allowed me to knock a few thing off my my vision board. So not controlling one area hasn’t slowed me down but has actually given me more energy to refocus in other places. Though, I still strive to find a way to truly take a break from it all. A chance to take care of just me. Strangely, with all the searching, a true break hit me in an unusual and unplanned way.

time out

Lunchtime for me is usually comprised of one of three scenarios: Eating at my desk to cram in one more project, a mid-day work out, or a list of errands that I need to knock off. Today was the last one, which included a quick run home. It was planned to be such a quick trip that I even left my phone in the car (and with it all the work emails I often answer as I am on the PowerPlate or speeding through Target grabbing supplies for last-minute homework projects). But what I found when I walked through the door surprised me.

It was quiet. I was alone. It was peaceful. I didn’t want to leave. Why not at least make a quick lunch? Then I decided, why not pour a glass of wine, too? There are no words to explain how it felt to sit in my house in middle of a weekday. Not working or checking emails. No one telling me long detailed recaps about the last episode of “Jake and the Neverland Pirates.” No one bartering who does which of this weeks to-dos and chauffeuring needs. It was just me, in my own house, in the middle of a weekday. I have no idea when the last time was that I experienced that. My mind was as quiet as my house. I was just enjoying my wine, food and the moment. I was completely present.

I wish I could schedule those times or recreate it again. But I think they just happen. I am not sure if they are truly few and far between or perhaps I haven’t stopped to notice them. I hope for everyone that they find a pure selfish moment in what might seem like a mundane scenario to others. It was perfect.

So Stormy, this may be one of my broken windows needing fixing.

Fixing the broken windows

KitKat and I have known each other for 15 years now and have become closer over the years due to some eerily similar personality traits. Really, it’s quite fascinating. To look at the two of us, you wouldn’t think we were that much alike, but our core attitudes—how we view the world—are so similar that I sometimes think we were separated at birth.

So when KitKat talks about making a mess of her life, I can admit that I’ve also got some cleaning up to do in mine. An article I read recently cited a theory about crime, the Broken Windows Theory, which I found interesting. In a nutshell, the theory is that small indicators of disorder can quickly escalate into something much more serious. That is: broken windows in an abandoned building lead to widespread vandalism which leads to squatters which leads to drug deals which lead to homicide… you get the picture.

The assumption is that your personal life has to be a mess to create, but how much chaos can you allow in before it takes over?                                  – David Byrne

This got me thinking about the broken windows in my own life. For example, I know this theory holds true in my house. When my house is clean, I make an effort to keep it that way—I’m more likely to put things away, wipe up the crumbs on the counter, etc. But if I’m tired one evening and leave a pile of papers on the coffee table or my shoes strewn on the living room floor, look out. A few days later, the house will be one big mound of clutter.

The broken window effect at work in my then-teenaged daughter’s room.

I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this example, but broken windows can also be more individual. A few months ago, I was having lunch with a friend. This friend was completely buried from a work standpoint, but had made time for lunch on the condition that on the way he could drop off his car to get it cleaned/detailed. I was a bit surprised he was concerned with something as superficial as his car, given all the critical work issues he was facing. He explained that his car was a mess—overflowing with the usual kid detritus and even dirty underwear from the gym. While as a dad this was understandable, as a sales person, it was a source of stress if he was suddenly required to drive a client or prospect to dinner or the airport.

This made sense, of course. The messy car was his broken window.

Since learning about this theory, I’ve been looking for the broken windows in my own life and I’m chagrined to admit that I’ve neglected a few. Part of it is summer laziness. Part of it is denial about what the future holds (like KitKat, I’m also uncomfortable Living in the Maybe). Part of it is just getting overwhelmed by the weeds… Every year, I have a beautiful, enviable garden through the month of June. Then the heat ratchets up, the mosquitoes all hatch and the weeds take over. Against this triple threat, I simply give up. With weeds, the consequences are not that serious (heck, even ragweed adds a striking touch of yellow to my late season garden), but when I let weeds take root in my life they seem to choke out every healthy thing.

From this...

From this…

...to this

…to this

So, like KitKat, I’m going to use this back-to-school time as a new start as well. I’m going to identify all the broken windows in my life and set about fixing them. It won’t happen in a day or even a week, but I’m hoping when the real new year begins (2014), I’ll feel more optimistic about the future than I do today.