Work Life Balance

The summer of 2015 is half over. At least for my children. They are already sad about what has passed, in regards to what little is left. Time is really flying for them. They have had so much fun and excitement, they are so emotionally charged, you can almost feel it in the air. A whole month away from home, staying with family, but running pretty independent lives. What a wonderful time! And then the parental units arrive on the scene.

While I’ve been visiting my family in Alberta, I’ve been catching up. Running some very familiar patterns. Routines which are well worn over the years. Food preparation in the kitchen, dishes to be washed, recipes to be practiced. Games. Real outside swimming pools. Roasting marshmallows over the campfire. Small children staying up past their bedtime. Card games, both new and old favourites. Sleeping in tents because there were too many people to fit the number of bedrooms. Family.

Then, Sunday morning, I started to worry. I have a big week coming up. Will I get everything done? What do I have to accomplish anyway? What happens if I don’t get finished what I set out to do, according to my standards? What then? That was when I stopped myself. What brand of silly is it when you worry about your work life this much? On vacation? So I rolled over and went back to sleep.

But it haunted me all afternoon. I voiced my concerns about this topic to my Aunt. She disappered for a time. Then she returned with a book for me to read, easily accomplished in an afternoon. Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote, “Gift from the Sea”. A delight. As the pages started to fall away, I was amazed that something written so long ago was still so relevant. I immediately ordered my own copy. I was also taken by the fact that my Aunt could so easily put her finger on the pulse of my problem. She had answers at the ready. 

It is a gift to be able to help others. Especially when the “others” are me and feeling down or otherwise uninspired. My mini Alberta vacation ended on such a high note, I almost floated home today. I guess the only trick is, how to make this feeling last and apply these kind of lessons when life gets tough and stressful again. 

On the bright side, I am getting closer to finding a way to serve others. If I could harness the power of women around me, the wise women, the brave women and bring it forth for others to share. Help solve the daily mysteries for one person with insights from another. Restore a balance of working and living that makes sense to each and is not a prescribed formula. Fill up our cups with inspiration. Help us continue to serve and help others. 

It sure seems as if what we need to learn most, comes to us at the perfect moment. Just when we are ready to receive, ready to become teachers. At least for me, that is how my Sunday unfolded.

“I shall ask into my shell only those friends with whom I can be completely honest. I find I am shedding hypocrisy in human relationships. What a rest that will be! The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere. That is why so much of social life is exhausting; one is wearing a mask. I have shed my mask.” 

― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

Folk Wisdom of Mexico

Proverbios y dichos Mexicanos

I picked up this little book in the condo we are renting. I love finding these little treasures. Especially when the subject is local. Gives me a glimpse into the culture, the customs and the feelings as if we too were living here.

However, this kind of wisdom would not necessarily come form merely living here. We would need to understand the language, inside and out. Without growing up hearing these stories passed down through generations, the essence, the real meaning may not make sense.

Translated into English, the understanding gap gets a little wider, I think. But it is interesting to interpret in our own way. Learn by viewing old ideas in a new light. (And I feel a little bit caught in a Modern Family episode, with Gloria talking about “her country”.)

*Flies don’t enter a closed mouth.

*There is more time than life.

*Ambition never has its fill.

*Blood boils without a flame.

*One must learn how to lose before learning how to play.

*When in doubt of what is right, consult your pillow overnight.

*Conversation is food for the soul.

*All the time spent angry is time lost being happy.

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Grown Up

My Mother has a theory in regards to becoming a grown-up. She thinks we all pick an age, for her it was 29, and she doesn’t feel older than that. She must sometimes be shocked to see this much older face and body looking back at her.

I’ve had this conversation with many people, actually a good dinner party ice breaker. Most people have an age and a pretty good reason for picking it.

This might explain why so many people have such a tough time reaching the age of 40. The mid-life crisis time period. But maybe they simply picked an age to stay at that was too young. Forever after that, the march of time will appear as a huge disappointment.

I’m not sure I have picked an age yet. I kind of like getting older because I feel a wisdom taking hold. There is a sense of calm under the heat of pressure which I did not experience before. The indecision, sometimes even panic has started to dissipate. This is a nice time for me. Why on earth would I want to be younger? So much self-doubt. Watching others make, what I was convinced were mistakes, but having no experience to frame it with.

But there are moments when I feel like an impostor in my life. I am an interloper who is playing at being grown-up. I’m not responsible enough to own this house? My children can’t be this old already? And then it fades back as quickly as it came.

Emilie Nicholas of Oslo, Norway sings a hauntingly, beautiful song called “grown up“. It reminds that I am grown-up, a parent, a wife, responsible. But, at the same time, there is the distinctly clear memory of the early days, when I was just grown-up, still a kid, really. Those were heady times, filled with firsts of all kinds. It makes me smile to remember them.