Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Departure from the Ordinary

I'm not sure I even know what ordinary is any more; not for me, anyway. Ordinary keeps changing on me, and I wasn't liking this most recent ordinary. The rut in my life was getting deeper, and I was fearful that a routine of solitary days and insomnia-filled nights would be my new normal. 

My days were spent alone, boxing up my belongings, and cleaning out corners, cupboards, and closets. The silence was broken only by the hum of the furnace. Short nights were a challenge, as I seemed to wake earlier and earlier to start each day. Waking at three, the days stretched endlessly before me. I've never been much of a nap-taker, and if I ever attempted a nap, I was lucky if I could sleep 5-15 minutes at a time. 

Last week I was overcome by lethargy, and felt slovenly as I dove into unusually deep slumber each afternoon. My stomach hurt for days, which is strange for me, the one with the stomach of steel, which should not be confused with abs of steel. The conditions are quite different. One looks good; one feels well. I wasn't enjoying the benefits of either. 

I tried to blame my condition on the absence of sugar in my diet. It was my second full week of not indulging in sugary sweets and desserts, but it may have been more than that.

A medical visit had not occurred to me; it's been over a year since I've seen a doctor. When I ran out of my prescriptions from the dermatologist and the rheumatologist, and realized no one would give me a refill without a recent office visit, I decided I'd make an appointment. 

Leaning my head against a book shelf in the waiting room, I fell asleep. The nurse startled me from my cat nap. 

When she asked me to step on the scales, I didn't take off my shoes or jacket. (That alone is an indicator that something is not quite right, as I normally remove everything not required by human decency.)

"You look like you're not feeling well at all; what are we seeing you for today?" she asked me once I'd taken a chair in the examination room. Well, that was awkward.

"Oh, I'm fine," I reassured her, "Just tired today. I am only here for prescriptions." Great, I thought. I'm giving off a sick vibe.

When the doctor came in, he apologized for running late. Only a 57 minute wait, I thought. He should have taken three more minutes so I could easily remember he kept me waiting for a whole hour. He remarked on my appearance, too. I must have looked worse than I thought.

"What's going on?" he sat down, and rolled his chair toward me for a closer look.

"I'm just tired; I don't sleep much."

"Why is that? Why aren't you sleeping? Is it stress? You shouldn't be stressed. You just retired..."

Yes, retired people would know nothing of stress, I thought wryly. Stress has ebbed and flowed in my life, just like anyone else's. Why should I be any different? I filled him in on the missing details...Daddy died, I got divorced, I have to move, I miss my dog...

"No wonder you're not sleeping." I could tell he was going to offer me sleeping pills. I hate pills. Pills ruin things. I refused to add one more pill to my regimen.

"I'll be fine; really. I just need my refills." He paused for a moment, about to say something, and then reconsidered. He called in my refills, and we were done.

I went home and slept for two hours. 

That was almost a week ago. This morning I woke up after sleeping eight and a half hours. No one could accuse me of not getting enough sleep last night. It was lovely. What was the difference?

Chimney Rock behind me.
They say a change is as good as a vacation. Yesterday was a departure from the ordinary for me. After spending days on end sitting in silence, I found myself to be in the uplifting company of good friends. Good friends with cameras. We went on a photo safari to Capitol Reef to capture the spring blossoms. 

Clear blue skies, and soft breezes were everywhere I turned. The sun warmed my face as I looked at the world through my viewfinder. My mind was lost in the moment, in all of the moments that presented themselves to me while we were gone. 

Living in the moment has to be one of the best cures for sadness and anxiety. Sadness overtakes me when I dwell on the past, and the shoulda-coulda-wouldas spiral inside my head. Anxiety becomes a constant companion when I worry about all of the details of the future. Yes, there will be uncertainty and hard work, but there will be blessings; there always are. 

My camera helps me focus on beauty, joy, and the moment. As I review the pictures I took, I recall the peace I felt, and I am able to recapture the feelings of a wonderful day, absorbed in the moment.

Here's to a new day, and a break from routine. I really need to remember to make part of each day special, so life never feels dull or monotonous. Living in the moment is a good insurance policy for making the most of day-to-day living. 



9 comments:

  1. Oh, I so loved this. I've experienced some of the same to a lesser degree; I really need to disrupt the tedium sometimes. And that pic of the blossoms stops my heart, so beautiful.

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    1. Thanks, Janna-Banana! ;-) Women, in general, forget to take care of ourselves, I think. I loved the blossoms, too. Again, thanks for reading, and taking the time to comment. I feel the love!

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  2. Amen to being in the moment. HUGE HUGS of love. Fingers crossed this comment posts. Love your gorgeous photography. Love that pic of you. xxxxxxx

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    1. It posted! Thanks, Liane! Thanks for everything.

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  3. What a lovely reminder. I think I feel the same way about my photos--so often they bring back a feeling of the moment. I hadn't really put that together before. Be well, friend. Be well.

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    1. Thank you. Our pictures connect us to something important to us in that moment.

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  4. Denise, loved the beautiful pictures with such a raw and real topic and the comment that retirement isn't supposed to be stressful (Hah!) Much enjoyed this piece.

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  5. Shouldn't and should are such interesting words.

    So glad you were reminded of the secrets to your own rejuvenation before it spiraled into something more. I also have been reviewing my books that spur me to mindful living.

    The reality though was that the period of time you were packing and spending time alone with memories and the reality of changes were also moments of living mindfully.

    Our lives are built on both. Giving ourselves permission to not be on the top of our game is important, as long as we can balance it with the moments of living beyond those confines. I am learning to do that.

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  6. Enjoyed reading your blog! I too needed our little get away to take photos . I too thought living the " retired live" would be stress free. Ha ha! In the two years Doug has been retired I have had foot surgery, Whitney's brain got tuned up, and Doug had neck surgery! Each of these problems gave us blessing in making us a close family and seeing how many people care! Thanks for your sharing!

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