Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Pensive Whitney

I think I may be coming out of this finally. A few days is all I usually need during these little episodes. This one seemed particularly tough a week ago. But maybe it wasn’t.

How do I know I’m coming out of it? Well, I’m starting to tire of the Pensive playlist on my mp3 player. On the Pensive playlist are songs that in my life for years, and recently, I have been able to listen to over and over and over again during these times. I lose myself in these songs. Artists include those already mentioned – Guy Clark, Radney Foster, and Lyle Lovett – and others: Jimmy Buffett, Fleetwood Mac, Don Henley, Nickel Creek, Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen, Annie Lennox, Melissa Etheridge, Angie Aparo, Otis Redding, and Everthing But the Girl. There more, but those are the ones this time around.

So this is a good sign.

I think I’ve figured out the source of the Pensive-ness (ivity?), though. And that’s the second step on the path. While Dave D. was brought to his own reflection during an event that pulled so much to the fore, my own epiphanies are the opposite. I need to be away from everything in order to sort it all out … stand back, and look again.

I think it’s that I don’t feel like I’m doing anything lately. Well, I’m doing plenty, as evidenced by my calendar. I guess a better word would be accomplishing. I’m not accomplishing anything.

This is something that is distinctly different about childhood vs. adulthood. From day one through college, there was always an accomplishment on the horizon – the end of the school year, the beginning of the school year, graduation, some sort of goal for whatever activities we were involved in. Constant end-points in front of us. As an adult, it’s not so much like that anymore. Yes, there are promotions and raises, marriage and children, but these are not as defined as goals before. And what do you do in between these defining moments in your life? How do you figure out who you are and what you’ve accomplished without these rites of passage?

I catch myself spinning my wheels, doing lots, but getting nothing done. So I have to remember to set some goals for myself. Maybe this is why people make New Year’s resolutions. I never really have. And I probably won’t. But what I will do is keep an active list of things I want to get done, and really focus on those. (I hear Dave groaning now, “Not ANOTHER list!”). Also, all of these have to require little cash, since something we have managed to accomplish is an uncomfortable amount of debt.

Finish painting the kitchen cabinets
Paint the living room
Paint the dining room
Pay off Dave’s car

I’m not saying that painting and paying off bills will define who I am. That’s what my relationships and daily life and the rites of passage are for – the way we treat other people and the larger accomplishments. I think I have a handle on these for now. What’s got me weird is whatever happens in between. Apparently, I need something to fill the in-between.

These can all be done relatively quickly – before the end of the summer, if I put my mind to it. So then what? Well, I’ll deal with that then. I’ve considered martial arts, but that means I’ll have to give up at least one soccer team and something financially. We’ll just have to see. But I will find something. I can’t go through this again in a matter of months.

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