The Power of Nothing

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“Hey Karen, what are you going to do this weekend?”

“Nothing!”

True conversation held last Friday.

The last two and a half months have been nothing short of a rat race. Every weekend something was brewing.

Every. Weekend. Since May.

Most of the stuff was good. Traveling, dinner with friends and family, visiting newly born godbabies, etc.

Also, both The Good Man and I celebrated birthdays over that time span.

There was also some crap stuff, like moving out of our place for termite tenting.

Every weekend was a blur, non-stop, arriving back at work Monday more tired then when I’d left the previous Friday.

I’m a Taurus, and by nature, a bit of an at-home kind of girl. Bonding with the red couch is my sort of speed.

My Gemini love is more of a “let’s GOOOOO” sort of fellow.

So for us, it is about striking a balance.

Combine my natural tendency to lay about with a couple months of mistreatment at the hands of my employers, and you have Little Johnny Karen on the verge of something not pretty.

All work and no play makes Karen a very, very cranky girl.

And so, for the past two and a half months I have been plotting and planning a weekend that included zero plans with anyone other than me, the husband and the feline.

I had targeted this past weekend for some time and was a little bit cranky in defending it. We had no less than FOUR invitations to do something this weekend. All of which, we turned down.

Sure, that may make me a bad friend, but I have my sanity to consider.

So finally, the delicious weekend of July 18th arrived, and good for my word, I did nothing.

Ok, to be fair, I did a few things. Laundry. Landlord came to make some needed repairs. Ran a few errands.

But I also took a *nap* on both Saturday and Sunday. Oh delicious mouth watering naps.

I also made dinner for me and the cutest boy on Saturday night. Took the time and made a genuine homemade dinner! Imgaine that!

You know what else? I *read* a book. My god, it’s like vacation porn. I actually sat on my tush and READ A BOOK. Ay god. Makes me drool just remembering.

So as it will, Monday has returned to my life, but so far so good. I feel a bit rested, calmer, ready to take on the slings and arrows that will inevitably land my way.

Next weekend, it all begins again. Rev up the big machine and start running. Won’t see another break until September…*sigh*

My new motto: Do nothing. And do it *really* well!

P.S. and all those old fashioned “you must get up early and work hard!” because you think it makes you moral-and-just type of folks. To you, I say BAH!

P.P.S. And BAH! again!

How you view the world through your own eyes

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Lately, there is a lot going on in my life. Starting with some insecurity about where my job stands, given the merger. Yeah, the place where I spend most of my weekdays is like standing on shifting sands.

Then there is the economy, as I warily look at the balance of my retirement account.

Turning 40, and looking at what this next era in my life looks like (along with looking at the balance on my retirement account, ay yi yi!)

And a lot of at home personal stuff, too.

So lately, I’ve become like a broken record. I say to The Good Man, “I’m overwhelmed” when presented with a new problem. “I’m overwhelmed” when I have to make a big decision. “I’m overwhelmed,” when we try to sort out our calendar of all the events and friends and appointments and to do’s.

I had kind of a bad week last week, and by Friday I was not in a great mental place. Saturday morning, I’d had a good night’s sleep and things were better, but I was still on the verge. A couple tears over my morning pancakes and some heavy sighing over coffee.

On the way home from breakfast, The Good Man and I went to the local drug store to pick up a few items.

I was completely in my own head standing in line, just desperately wanting to get through the store and go home, be away from all of humanity. Just…shut down.

The lady in front of me in line was having some conversation with the clerk that wasn’t going anywhere, and so there I stood, rolling my eyes, waiting, tapping my foot, etc.

I listened in trying to figure out what the problem was. This elderly lady was waving a piece of paper at the probably nineteen-year old clerk, “My son needs these things, this is what I need….” she said, desperately.

The clerk was looking at her like she’d sprung a second head. “Did you call in for that?”

She replied “my son…he wrote this down just now….I need these things!”

The clerk looked at her list, “Coffeemate, that’s over in the freezer section,” he said, waving distractedly and shooing her away.

She shuffled off, muttering, “I need these things….”

I paid for my stuff, and as I left the store, I saw the woman pleading with another clerk, and getting more frustrated and disoriented.

As we walked to the car, I told TGM, “I’m worried about that lady.”

He asked me if I wanted to go back and help her.

I waffled. Sadly, most of the time, it’s better not to get involved. Best to just go on about your day. But something about this woman really got to me.

We went back inside. I didn’t see her immediately, so we went over toward the freezer section. She wasn’t there, either.

So we turned and walked a few aisles.

I found her, standing in another aisle, completely lost, eyes wide, and she was frantic. She looked about like I did the first time I entered Times Square, only way less excited and eight times as scared.

She held out her piece of paper to me and said, so plaintively, “Can you help me?”

“Yes, I can,” I said, and she visibly relaxed.

TGM and I helped her get the items on her list while and got her to the cash register. Then we took our leave and went on about our way.

But the rest of the day, I couldn’t stop thinking about that lady.

She clearly needs help, needs not to be wandering out in the world alone. She’s reached that point in her life where she can’t do it herself anymore.

I have been saying so much lately, “I’m overwhelmed,” and I am, but I’m not so overwhelmed with my life that going to a neighborhood drug store in the suburbs makes me feel wide eyed and frantic.

Maybe, seeing her terrified eyes (honestly, the look on her face is a memory that will never leave me), was like looking in a mirror for me, but it was also a wake up call.

I’m not downgrading what I’m feeling, what’s going on inside me is real, but sometimes, and this is a weird feature of human nature, having a comparison to know that one, you are not alone, and two, you could be in a worse spot, is healing.

I sure do hope that lady found her way home ok.