Seasons of Change
This may be funny to no one but me, I am about to write a post on change, and I am typing this on some “new, easier way to create” on WordPress.com (please read the part in quotes with the sarcasm I am intending). I already hate it, which probably is an indication of where this post is going.
I think about the changes going on in my life right now, and the word that comes to mind is “layers.” When I first started thinking about the content of this post, my initial thought was not to write it at all; after all, isn’t anyone with kids going through change right now? Mine is a bit more complex than years past in that both kids are attending new schools, and the schedule change is dramatic for everyone in the house, but other than that, who doesn’t experience change this time of year?
Plus we just got a dog, which in my life I never thought we’d have, so there’s change with fitting Dimple’s schedule into the mix.
Plus the usual rigmarole of sports, and no one wants to listen to me talk about that nonsense.
So this week has been a hectic one, filled with missed buses, forgotten alarms, lost lunch boxes, but, and maybe this is the recovery talking, but… I can put all of that into perspective fairly easily. It is week one, and sooner or later this stuff will become as habitual as getting ready for the pool was a week ago.
The change that has me a bit more unsettled in within me, and I’m not sure I’ve diagnosed it properly myself, much less found an answer to it that settles me.
I used to look forward to the beginning of the school year the way a child looks forward to Christmas morning. I’m sure if I were to go back to last summer’s posts, August would be filled with countdowns, and rants about the kids driving me crazy. I’m sure if I went back to the first day of school last year there would be some sort of celebratory post.
Not so this year, and I’m still trying to figure out why.
I can, with no small amount of shame, confess to some of the realizations that occurred to me as I puzzled over this non-excitement. The first: I was, until a few shorts months ago, a secret smoker, most especially secret from the kids (well, secret in my own mind, anyway). So kids in school meant the ability to smoke with relative freedom. Sounds ludicrous, but bear with me, I’m getting to a point.
Another obsession from which I’ve recently disentangled myself: soft pretzels. I have been threatening to write a post about my feelings on soft pretzels for years, and I may still find it within me to do so. I was obsessed to the point that I knew the one and only place I wanted them from, the people knew me there, and it was almost a ceremony the way I sat down to eat them (Recovery-minded readers: remember the ritual of getting that bottle of wine and your favorite glass? Not far off of that, seriously).
And, like the progression that alcoholism takes, I preferred to eat my pretzels uninterrupted. So, again, kids running around, asking to share the pretzel, etc = not fun. Kids in school = pretzel-eating fun.
And as I considered all of this, I got that “someone walked over my grave” shiver, because all of this was exactly as I behaved in active addiction. Because those substances, in addition to being mind-altering, were my little secret, my reward for… well for what exactly, I don’t know. Waking up that morning?
So this day one of school season felt really, really different, and I really can’t give it a label like “good” different or “bad” different. I guess the word I can best come up with: uncomfortable. On the one hand, I consciously recognize that there are a bunch of unhealthy coping mechanisms that I have risen above, evolved past, what have you, and that is obviously to the good. On the other hand, there’s this vaguely empty, “now what?” feeling going on. I have learned enough from my recovery experience that I can sit with it, and realize that it will pass, but there’s this nagging voice telling me, “You’re not working hard enough to figure out what you have to learn, come on, just get there!” And then there’s the counter voice, “Come on, you may have given up all of those things, but can’t we find something to replace them?!?”
One theory has occurred to me as I’m typing: in addition to having all of the external changes going on that I listed above, I am on the cusp of some personal change as well. I am on the tail end of the “clean-up process” of the consequences of active addiction… the finish line is in sight. So perhaps this uncomfortable feeling is the set-up for the next chapter of my life, preparing me for, God willing, a professional change. Although the finish line is in sight, it’s still far enough away that it’s not yet time for me to write a whole lot about it, there will inevitably be more to come on this subject.
Other than that possibility, I’ve got no other thoughts, but I’m open to possible solutions. Which, now that I think about it, is another big change: being open and willing to consider anything other than my own opinions. Because, no matter what happens, I am alive, and I am sober. Everything after those facts is icing on the cake.
That I typed for as long as I did in the “new editor” of WordPress. I have no idea where spell check is, so I now have to switch to classic mode, but still, I lasted a lot longer than I thought I would!