Day Four: Seven things that cross your mind a lot:
**This list looks a bit depressing. It’s accurate as of right now, however, and I promised myself I’d be honest when writing this challenge. The list would likely be very different at a different time, but this is where my head’s at right now.**
1. Money. I don’t live extravagantly, I don’t want to be “wealthy”, but it would be really nice to not have to worry about money quite so much. I’m waiting for final confirmation that I have an assistantship for grad school for next year, my daughter starts college in August, there’s a ton of medical bills her father won’t pay his share of, the list goes on. I hate that I spend time thinking/worrying about money at all, because I try not to be an overly materialistic person, but uncertainty is way outside my comfort zone. I know that everything will work out in the end and I have several irons in the fire, but it’s probably what’s on my mind most lately.
2. My daughter’s health and future. The past two and a half years have been a bit of a nightmare where her health is concerned. It’s as if we’ve tumbled down the proverbial rabbit hole. She’s doing relatively OK now, but I’d still like to get her to a better/more stable place before she leaves for college in August. I also can’t shake the feeling that we – all the doctors and me – are missing something big here. We’re treating symptoms instead of an underlying cause.
She turns 18 in September and will be off to college (three hours away). She’s on the cusp of womanhood and, like all parents, I wonder a lot if I’ve taught her all she needs to know. Did I do the right things? What have I forgotten to tell her? I know I’ll continue to guide and teach her for a long time, but this fall marks a huge shift, so it’s on my mind a lot.
3. What I want to be when I grow up. Yes, I’m 44 – that doesn’t mean I know the answer to this question. I’ve had several distinct careers and while all have been fulfilling, none have felt quite right. I’ve been in a bit of an existential crisis mode lately, which I’m hoping passes soon.
4. Food. I’m an emotional eater – always have been. With all the stresses of the past few years, I’ve not been as diligent about moderation in my diet as I should have been. I also think a lot about what to make for dinner, what to buy for lunches and snacks that is relatively healthy and that my kid will eat, etc…
5. Grad school work. It’s the end of my last semester of classes and I have a metric shit-ton of work to do and not enough motivation to do it. Lack of motivation is in no way related to the amount of time I spend thinking about it and stressing about it, however.
6. People in my life. If someone is important to me, they’ll cross my mind on a regular basis. Many people = many thoughts. I’m not going to elaborate further on who and what, but if we communicate on a regular or quasi-regular basis, you likely cross my mind.
7. Mindfulness. Stress is a constant for me, and while recognizing that stress is largely a matter of one’s reactions to things, I’ve been making an effort in the past six-eight months to practice more mindfulness and what Thich Nhat Hanh calls “walking meditation” or “sitting meditation”. His book, Peace is Every Step, is one I recommend to just about everyone at some point and it’s one I return to often. It’s a small book, filled with short commentaries/reflections/teachings that can be read in a few minutes but often require deeper reflection and thought. When I feel tension and stress, I try to remember to breathe in a mindful way and refocus/re-ground myself. This is something I have a long way to go with, so it’s often on my mind.