Not all of us experience the dramatic moments that spur life-changing realizations.
We don’t find our spouse in bed with someone else and realize, suddenly, what a dog he is.
We don’t have a heart attack and quit our job because we see—in a blinding flash of pain–it is, literally, killing us.
Instead, we find our magazine basket overflowing. And see ourselves through a new lens.
At least, that is how it usually works for me.
These mundane events do not make for stellar cocktail party conversation but they hopefully save me from the more unpleasant dramatic moments and heart attacks that can ensue for people who ignore what the mundane has to offer us.
Back to the riveting details of my overflowing magazine basket (and next week, in another exciting installment, we can discuss the unmated socks in my laundry room) . . .
My cleaning woman likes to roll her eyes at me, moan and groan as she moves my magazine basket to vacuum underneath it. Sarcastically complimenting her on her flair for the dramatic, I asked why the fuss.
“Kristine, when will you ever find the time to read all of these magazines? You work all hours of the day and night, you have two boys to watch over and a crazy dog. And you’re the one cooking dinner and taking them to their activities.”
I don’t know why this day of all days it hit me, but I realized she was so very right. As I looked at a basket that had at least 50 magazines in it, I thought how ludicrous this was for a woman with my schedule.
I was still holding onto pieces of a life I was no longer living.
A decade ago, I was staying home with my kids and freelancing just here and there. I had time, at the end of a long day, to peruse my favorite magazines.
And now? Not so much. Let’s just say the Vanity Fair next to my bathtub might be considered vintage. (But at a moment’s notice, I could now dazzle you with my knowledge of what was hip, cool and happenin’ during the summer of 2013.)
I was so busy Moving On, with the large bits of life—adjusting to thinking of myself as a single mother, sole breadwinner, dating again after two decades—that I had not moved on in a daily sense. It was time to go easy on myself. To recycle the heap of magazines I could not previously bring myself to recycle. To tell myself that it was ok if, during a time of great change, I did not keep up on current events and fall fashions in equal measure.
Getting rid of those old magazines was as good as admitting failure. Or that’s what I had been telling myself. I’d see the pile and think, “I’ll get to those in my spare time.”
Only, guess what? Spare time went out the window with my marriage and a second income.
I am betting that each of you has areas of life that fit an old model. That, like me, old bits have crept on you, catching you unawares. And in a lightbulb moment, you realize it’s time to change—whether it’s the shower curtain you never liked or the boyfriend who never makes you a priority. A friend of mine recently gave away scads of gorgeous perennials, as she realized her life no longer supported time for the yard she used to have hours to attend to. She now makes due with some very low-maintenance shrubs—and her gal pals have added a bit of her showy splendor to their own gardens. Win/win.
The end of my story is as mundane as the beginning. My recycling bin was probably 25 pounds heavier than usual that week. My garbage man, I’m sure, cursed me under his breath.
As for me? I simply smile now when my cleaning woman vacuums the living room.
And that, dear hearts, is a welcome change.