On my last day of work one of my friends called to check on me.
Her: “How are you? Are you OK? What are you doing?”
Me: “I’m cooking spaghetti sauce and making blueberry muffins.
Her: “Oh”. “Why?”
Me: “Because that’s what I do when I don’t know what else to do”.
Cooking brings me comfort and I’m good at it. I needed a little reassurance that I was good at something. And I needed comfort. I needed to do something positive in the midst of mixed emotions. I recognized how easy it would be to go to a place of despair. I needed to stay out of my own head and not second guess myself or the decisions I made. The feelings I was experiencing were familiar too. It reminded me of my separation and divorce. It hurt and the future looked scary. I needed to remind myself that I survived, recovered and thrived in the aftermath of that and I would do the same this time too.
What are you doing? I am liberating myself from a bad relationship with a toxic organization in which I spent the last ten months being mentally and verbally abused. This did not feel any different than being in an unhealthy personal relationship. I am navigating a loss and the process of getting through it is similar to other kinds of loss – denial, disbelief, anger, self-criticism, withdrawal, reflection and acceptance. There is this angry part of me that wants to tell all, get nasty, let my bitterness guide my actions and live in the negative. I choose not to go there. I am grateful to be out of that situation. I still need to heal, be kind to myself, learn and be who I am. I will learn from this experience like other experiences and make positive daily choices that will propel me forward. Making spaghetti sauce seemed like a good step in the right direction.
What are you doing? I’m cooking, watching funny movies, taking walks, taking naps, drinking tea, and doing all of the relaxing things that I love to do. I’m resting. I’m unpacking boxes, hanging pictures, and organizing the living spaces in our new house. I’m lazily taking in the sun on my relaxing porch retreat. I’m making beautiful wreaths and planting herbs and flowers. I’m spending quality time with family and friends. I’m touring the local museums, churches and historic houses. I’m walking Savannah and discovering new coffee shops. I’m enjoying the fresh air. I’m taking care of myself. I now have the time to do all of this.
What are you doing? I’m sleeping at night. I’m preparing and eating healthy meals at home. I’m exercising. I’m enjoying the company of my wonderfully, supportive husband. I’m feeling healthy and not sick all the time. I’m feeling happy and content. I’m remembering to be grateful and counting my blessings.
What are you doing? I’m educating myself. My bookshelves are filled with wonderful titles waiting to be read. I will reread my favorites as well as the newest Anne Lamott books. I’m engrossed in TED Talks and reward myself with three inspirational talks every day. I limit myself to just three per day otherwise I would watch them all day long! I’ve discovered some wonderful new authors through TED and look forward to reading their books as well. I’m watching Oprah’s “Super Soul Sunday” series. For Oprah it is “What I Know for Sure”. For me it is “What Have I Learned Today”? These activities provide inspiration and the opportunity to learn something new every day.
What are you doing? I’m finding strength in who I am and what I’m about. I’m evaluating how I want to spend my valuable time in the future. I hope to put my skills, knowledge, talents and experience to use in a healthy and rewarding way. With any luck it will be in a library setting because that IS something I’m really good at! If not in a library it will be somewhere where I can make a difference. Life is too short to spend it in a place that does not bring joy to your heart. I’m excited about the possibilities.
What are you doing? I’m breathing. I’m living. I’m putting one foot in front of the other, walking out the door, and experiencing what the day has to offer. That’s what I’m doing.