Car trouble, car travel, and getting stuck

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It’s been a week since my last blog post.  I’m not quite sure why I’ve been so silent.   Since the snowstorm I have been puttering around, catching up with friends and working on our taxes.  And, kaboom, February!  Before the ground hog comes out of of his hole tomorrow morning I wanted to get another post out.

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Car Trouble . . .

Larry took his car into the shop last week for an oil change.  He drove up the road, and not a half mile away it stopped.  He turned around and drove back to the garage and upon arrival it stopped again.  Two hours and a tow later, I picked him up at the Toyota dealer.  That was Thursday.  Friday we waited for the phone call.  The dealer said that the garage had let some oil into the engine during the oil change.  Six hundred dollars later, and we had the car back.

 . . .  Car Travel

Saturday.  On the weekend we went to New Jersey to meet friends of Larry’s from his childhood.  We enjoyed pizza and then headed home.  The dogs were at the kennel, so we had to get them by 5 PM.  By the time we got around the corner the check engine light went on.  This is never a good thing.  We were holding our breath –figuratively –the whole way back for 60 miles.  Larry dropped me at the door without turning off the engine and headed to the dealer to drop off the car while I went to get the dogs.

Sunday.  We were expecting visitors on Tuesday, so I spent part of the day washing sheets and making beds and tidying up for company.  I went outside and did some more shoveling to widen the driveway.  That was probably a mistake.  With the melting the snow was heavy and I struggled to move some of it.  It’s hard to accept that I don’t have the physical strength I had even a few years ago.  During snowmageddon in DC I was shoveling snow for hours with hardly a wince.  Now I have to be cautious about a pulled muscle or a sore back.  Still, like most physical labor, I enjoy it and its benefits.

The car was fine.  The check engine light went off when the technician looked at the car and never went on again. We picked up the car today and got home without a hitch.  So here I am, in another month and another week.   The car is unstuck and now I want to get unstuck as well.

And then stuck.

How is it that when we have piles of work to get through, laundry, dinner, emails, bills to pay, and what not, we get through it all efficiently and then fall into bed to prepare for another day.  But in a day without a program, time flies by and little is accomplished.  In an earlier post I wrote about the guilt associated with not feeling productive.    As I embrace the joy of life outside the office, I forgot about one thing:  how do I get unstuck from occasional lethargy.

What does getting stuck look like?  For me it’s things like not knowing what to put in the blog, or worse, not even thinking about the blog at all.  It’s getting up in the morning and have afternoon upon me with no tasks completed.  Frankly, I don’t even feel guilty anymore.  I have control of my day.   If I want to waste time watching old Downton Abbey episodes, I can.  I can also read the Washington Post online, watch YouTube videos, and go out to lunch at 3 PM.  I still make long lists of what I need to get done and check off each item as I complete it.  But I don’t keep this up every day anymore.  I revel in my laziness.  I embrace the hopefulness that each new day offers.

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And yet . . . my days are not about nothing.  I take care of my health, I keep up with what’s happening in the world, I support my children and look after my parents, and I do volunteer work supporting non-profits in the area.   I have the time and opportunity to use the skills I gained during my working life:  strategic planning, program management, team building, and training. I hope to gain new skills.  What will these be?  I’m thinking of attributes like patience, mindfulness, empathy and generosity.  Not that I didn’t have these before, but in the testosterone laden workplace I can’t say that I intentionally cultivated them.

Getting unstuck

So now I need to get unstuck.  That involves thinking about what I will be in this new life.  I have to separate my connection to the tasks of productivity and replace them with new patterns.  It won’t be a pattern of inactivity, though.  After a life of getting things done and being efficient I won’t turn into a pumpkin.   Even now as I’m writing this I don’t know how to end.  Maybe that’s the answer.  We can’t finish because our lives are still in movement.  I am a work in progress and I don’t know what the finish line will look like.   Some days the goalpost may look fuzzy, like these past days of stickiness; other days the clouds will part and it will become clearer.  Most days I suspect it will in between.  What is not in doubt is that I won’t stand still.  I may move backwards or forwards or sideways but I will move.

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The forest and the trees

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