I’ve been noticing something about myself lately. Maybe it’s the same for you. I spend a huge amount of time with my head down. I sit at my desk 32 hours a week looking down at papers or my computer screen. I sit on the train 2 hours a day looking down at my book. I sit at home on my couch each night looking at my smart phone or at my computer. My perspective is so limited during these times. I feel closed in, dissatisfied, constrained. Everyone once in a while during the week, I break away. I head out for lunch or walk from the train to my office. If I’m really lucky, I’ll hop on my bike for a brief while or get together with my friends. During these times, my head is up. I’m taking in the world around me, noticing how beautiful and how ugly things and people can be. It feels great, like I’m learning and growing. The effects are both physical and emotional.
The past two years have been ridiculously hard. It was at about this time two years when my mom started feeling crappy. The doctor said she had Lyme disease and gave her antibiotics. She didn’t get better. The doctor said she must have gotten Lyme disease again and gave her more drugs. And she still didn’t get better. Oh, gee, I guess it’s terminal cancer! So my head was down as I devoted myself to supporting my mom. After she died, I put my head down to tend to her estate. There were papers to deal with and the massive job of cleaning out her house. I thought maybe things would ease up when we sold her house 9 months after her death. It’s been harder than ever. Her house being gone means that she’s really dead. Oh, and did I mention I look at that house every day because my mom was my neighbor? So my head is down a lot of the time as I wipe my eyes and nose with an endless quantity of Kleenex. I also spend a fair amount of time looking down at the roll of fat around my waist. After two years of emotional eating and limited exercise I’ve gained about 30 pounds.
I think I’m finally ready to lift my head up. I want to live a life where having my head up is the rule and not the exception.
Step 1: I gave notice at work that I’m leaving in mid-June. I’ve never really enjoyed my job and have fantasized about quitting for a long time. And I can’t afford to continue having it drag me down. I’m done. So there!
Step 2: I have retained the services of a life coach. Over the years I’ve gotten a much clearer picture of what works for me and what doesn’t. I just don’t know how to turn those into a satisfying vocation. I’m hoping an impartial observer can help me get there.
Step 3: I told my boyfriend Dan that we have to figure out where our relationship is going. We’ve been dating four years. So are we going to move in together or are we going to move on? I need to know so I can figure out my life. We’re starting that discussion in earnest this weekend.
Step 4: I’m ready to take care of myself again. Not working will give me time to take care of three big things that are a drag on me—my lack of exercise, my poor food choices, and the clutter in my physical environment.
I’m not fully there yet. The grief I’m dealing with constantly tugs at me. But I think having my head up will help me deal better with it. The sun is shining right now, the lilacs are blooming and my head will be up for the rest of the day. And for many days to come.