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There are periods of your life that stretch out, seem to go on forever, with you doing the same comfortable routine: A big one is The Work Routine, where you get up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch TV, go to bed. You don't realize when you're in the middle of it that life is actually going pretty ok. Maybe you feel a little bored. Or perhaps you're wishing for something exciting to happen to you. You want a new car, a new lover, a trip or a job.

I spent a lot of time in The Work Routine, with the self-flagellation and the lolling about, thinking I should be doing something more. Turns out, I was right. About 4 years ago, I traded in The Work Routine for The Self Employment Routine. Comprised of 3 parts anxiety and 1 part gratitude (gratitude as in "Thank God I don't have to commute," and more often, "Thank God I don't have a boss"), I noticed an interesting change when I shifted to The Self Employment Routine: Time sped up. Being busier - and happier - will do that to you. The Fridays were flipping by like lotto numbers on the big board. 

How quickly life passed back then is pretty much pansy-pants breaking-the-sound-barrier stuff compared to the light speed reality of today.

Time is moving so fast now, I feel like I can see the wrinkles forming if I look in the mirror hard enough. My kid is growing as if she were inflatable. Friends are sprouting hair where there should be none (then speeding to my house to show it to me). I'm discussing things like life insurance, trusts, and Roth IRAs without cocking my head sideways. I am a mother, for God's sake, and have a husband that's 40. When the hell did that happen? Suddenly, *gulp* I'm middle aged! And in two shakes of The Varmint's wooly bits, we'll just be aged - no middle about it. 

MakandMama_2mosOldActually, I feel pretty fine with the getting older stuff. I'd just like life to slow down a little. You know. So I can actually see it with shapes and everything - as opposed to its current, dizzying, brightly-hued blur.

During this era (which I will someday refer to as The Baby Routine) I'm going to take a lesson from The Work Routine, and not sit around wishing for things to change. I will change things myself. If I want to slow things down, I will need to clear my head. To be still. To breathe.

That sort of stuff takes patience and conscious thought, stuff of which I'm often in short supply. On the plus side, friends have noticed that I'm "mellower" - which I guess is a good sign. 

Of course, as I'm working on this, I have to approach it in a way that will work for me: I am not a chilled out, just smoked a killer bowl, om-om yoga type. Never will be. Sitting around drinking herbal tea and listening to Enya doesn't work in my Type-A universe.

What will work is this: Expanding my sense of humor. I've been working on it, and at the risk of sounding conceited, I think I've made some good progress. I now laugh at things like being used as a human handkerchief and having my boobs grabbed and snapped like balloons being tied off by a demented circus clown.

I've even been able to find humor in scenarios of public humiliation. One totally hypothetical example might be chasing the garbage truck down the street while wearing a robe and bunny slippers, shouting "Wait! Wait!" as I wave a putrid bag of diapers at the driver. Afterward, I might even find myself laughing hysterically.

In the end, I suppose, what really matters is that I'm the sort of person I wouldn't mind going out for a beer with. And I'm proud to say I would. I'd have a beer with me.

I just might want to drive separate cars.

 


Comments

  1. The New Yorker said on May 15, 2007 16:47

    Must be an age thing.

    For years it was up at 5am, 6:15 train, trading desk by 8, 5:30 pm train out, 7pm home. Not much time for anything else, but I didn't notice until I began to work locally.

    I much more enjoy the 6 am wake-up, maybe a morning bike ride, breakfast, some good coffee and being home early enough to enjoy the water. (Unless it's that ugly 6 month stretch of hell here and I have to escape to South Beach, Key West or out by ya'll in La Jolla or Laguna!)

    Maybe it was the reality check of 9-11 when the terrorists showed up, or the armed marshalls who hogged my space on the train. (I could barely open up my paper with the terminator hovering over me!).

    Coulda been the machine-gun-toting, army fatigue clad youngstas all over Penn Station (who always seemed a bit too trigger-happy, if ya ask me).

    Well, if that's what it took to get off that silly wheel, so be it. At least I've got my freedom now!

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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >