I’m not sure what it is I crave these days. Adventure? Spontaneity? Or muted creature comforts: a quiet room, an uninterrupted stretch of time to laze around in.

All of the above, maybe.

Every day is stacked with routines, one after another. Storybooks, snacks, shoelaces. Cooking, cleaning, commuting. I should be wearing this life like a broken-in pair of jeans, every frayed edge and accommodating curve a comfortable familiarity. I should be managing this on muscle memory alone.

It doesn’t seem to work that way, though. At odds with the day-in, day-out patterns is this sense of impermanence to everything. The ground is insecure, it’s untrustworthy. One minute everything is fantastic, the next my patience is nearly gone and I’m pacing in my brain like a zoo animal. I wish sometimes that my children would just be quiet and predictable for an hour at a time, but they aren’t, they can’t. They buzz from one distraction to the next, they laugh and scream and cry. They are all wild oscillations and unstable surfaces.

I do the laundry but it never gets done. I clean the floor but it never stays clean. I put on my running shoes but every block is an unknown, I can so easily switch from feeling strong and motivated to fighting every hateful, shitty step. I eat healthfully and happily, then switch to crap for an entire weekend, unable to stop. My sense of worth at my job can be undone with one email.

Everything in my day used to revolve around the contents of a bottle, and at least this isn’t true anymore. It’s hard, though, to take back control only to realize I don’t really have it, and maybe I never truly will. I am like everything else, constructed of delicate material that sometimes doesn’t hold up, defined by things that are in flux.

It is stupidly hard to do the things you set out to do.

So, there is this: trying the best you can. There is this: pushing yourself past of what you believe you are capable of. There is this: living in the moment you are in, and letting go of the things that have already happened. There is adventure when you can take it, a quiet room when you can find it.

Tomorrow will be like today but it will also be different and you won’t know how and maybe there is a wild and luscious beauty to that.

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JuJubeeJenny
12 years ago

Wow, this hits home. Every morning as I am making my bed, I think the same thing. Here I am AGAIN making the bed AGAIN and I will do it AGAIN tomorrow morning and the next day…just like when I wash the dishes and pick up the toys and put a load in the washer/dryer and fill the sippy cups AGAIN and punch the time clock and smile at clients. All the same everyday, but always different. Not sure whether to love or hate it, so I chose both.

Anne
12 years ago

Sometimes I read your posts and wonder how you crawled into my head and wrote down my thoughts and fears and feelings.

This is one of those times. Great post.

Here’s to living today and looking forward to tomorrow.

Danell
Danell
12 years ago

I love these posts. They are so…I don’t know…relieving? comforting?…to me. I feel these same things-and I spend so much time WORRYING about having these feelings about my life. I look around and see other people and think “Look at them! They’ve got it ALL WORKED OUT. They are happy and fulfilled and they’ve gotten their lives all worked out JUST HOW THEY WANT THEM.” How come I’m all grown up and have a family and the job I always wanted, yet I still feel…like…like just what you said here! It’s actually nice to read. And advice I try to keep in mind when I get to worrying. =)

heather
heather
12 years ago

you are supremely good at expressing the universal, and i’m grateful for that. my life is vastly different from yours (no kids, partnered but not living together, recently laid off and wondering what to do next) but so much of what you write, particularly in this sort of post, resonates with me. it really is a comfort to know that others struggle with the same…STUFF. i agree with the above comment that it is so easy to look at other people and wonder how they’ve worked it all out and are happy with the here and now when it can be such a struggle for the rest of us.

in any case, thank you. :)

Sunshyn
12 years ago

Right now, I am mostly just grateful for routines, because I have had them yanked out from under me too many times in my life. Shoelaces? I’m GLAD there are shoelaces! He can even mostly tie them now! Stories! We can both read them together! What a miracle; my seven-year-old, who was nonverbal at age three, can READ! Snacks! He can even help make them. And we can discuss them! And no part of my life involved a bottle or a bag. What a miracle. Gratitude. I have gratitude today. May you find yours when it is hiding away as gratitude is prone to do…

Annie
Annie
12 years ago

“There is adventure when you can take it, a quiet room when you can find it.”

Want this tattooed across my lower back… a mommy tramp-stamp, if you will. :)

beach
beach
12 years ago

I needed to read this today. Thank you.

Eric's Mommy
12 years ago

Wow Linda, that brought tears to my eyes. I’ve been having a hard time lately, and I needed that.

Beth
12 years ago

Oh my, so true, so true, so true.

Ana
Ana
12 years ago

I have such an appreciation for this post, and for the knowledge that it is not uncommon to both crave and feel trapped by the nature of day to day life. As well, there are many, many times I don’t recognize my own contributions as a mom, daughter, friend, girlfriend, employee, citizen, and so on…I suppose it’s because day-to-day impact is to be measured differently than how I’ve been doing so, and it’s time to stop undervaluing my efforts.

Thank you.

Jen - Mom of 4
Jen - Mom of 4
12 years ago

Wonderful post as always. Very moving and perfect for how I feel today.

maggie
maggie
12 years ago

Ditto to everything above…and I too am in tears. I’ve also been in such a funk lately, not wanting to get on with the mundane things. I appreciate everything in my life but sometimes it’s hard. Thank you, indeed!

victoria
victoria
12 years ago

I read this when I was feeling really overwhelmed by everything that is out of control in my life, and thinking, “Wow, I miss drinking.”

Wendy
12 years ago

Thank you. And yes. Yes to all of it.

Christine
12 years ago

God, this was a great post; and I love the title. Thank you. Having kids really is the ultimate ceding of control. Every day they get older and bigger and more their own people and I feel like I have so little influence over what they do and who they become.

Ashley
Ashley
12 years ago

Nobody has their shit together. I’m convinced we all feel very similar to this, and it’s sucky and comforting all at the same time. Sometimes I suffocate from the mundane, the routine..the moment i vacillate to the other extreme then ALL I want is my routine and security back. It’s that fucking balance that we all need. But resent needing.

Jeanne
Jeanne
12 years ago

Like others have already said, I needed to hear this today. I need to know I’m not the only one struggling with the days being all the same and yet so very unpredictable at the same time.

Thank you for finding a way to illustrate this juxtaposition. Oh how I love my 2 and 4 year old, but oh how I wish I could run away and never look back sometimes.

Reading your writing is like a gigantic bowl of warm comfort food. Thank you.

Sharon
Sharon
12 years ago

Well said. I really needed to read this tonight. Thanks Linda.

Niki P
12 years ago

I am sending this to all of the Moms I know. Well said as usual.

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

“Tomorrow will be like today but it will also be different and you won’t know how and maybe there is a wild and luscious beauty to that.”

O no. And o thank god. A wild and luscious beauty indeed.

Madeleine
Madeleine
12 years ago

Again, you are able to articulate so well the way I feel. Thanks.

Nicole
Nicole
12 years ago

Wow, so true. It is uncanny- sometimes it is like you are inside my head. Inside a lot of people’s heads, judging from the comments so far. Thanks. It’s reassuring to know other people feel this was too sometimes.

joanneb
joanneb
12 years ago

This was absolutely perfect.

trackback

[…] today, Linda’s post, I wish I could just hit a “share” button and it would repost to my blog without being […]

Lesley
Lesley
12 years ago

This ‘moment of Zen’ resonated with me. I like your honesty.

Amanda
12 years ago

You’ve done it again, Sundry.
Awesome, awesome.

Donna
Donna
12 years ago

In the olden days, even before the days of yore, when the folks would get to feeling helpless, or like events were out of control, they would sacrifice a virgin to a volcano.
Good luck with that.
But that is how it feels sometimes doesn’t it?

Erin (Snarke)
12 years ago

The self worth being undone so easily hits home with me. One klutzy move and I can go from feeling strong and proud of myself to hating myself and feeling like the biggest drain on those around me.

It happens to the best of us.

Josh
12 years ago

I get that same panicky, helpless deja vu whenever I watch Fox News. Don’t sweat it. I always thought it’s better to be scared about total uncertainty than to be boring, which you aren’t, so you’re winning.

Barbara
Barbara
12 years ago

I always remind myself that…Life is supposed to enjoyed and not endured. I have to work at living it and I am in control.

Amity
Amity
12 years ago

This, right here, is why I love you and always come back for more. You lay it out there, girl, and in such a wonderful way. Thanks for always powering through. :)

Chris
Chris
12 years ago

Ditto everyone. I walked into my office today and was immediately assaulted by so many things, I can’t even put it into words. I hate my life, but feel guilty for hating it because I have a job, daughter, husband, so many things I see my friends and family wish they had. But deep inside I hate it. The routine, I constantly think – there has to be more then this. Please let there be more. Thanks for sharing Linda, it’s always enlightening to see others feel the same way. You DO have it together and you express it in ways the rest of us can’t.

Life of a Doctor's Wife

Beautiful post.

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

Oh this is just so absolutely perfect and true…

Kelli
Kelli
12 years ago

Excellent post. I want to print this out and stick it on my bulletin board at work as a daily reminder. Thank you, Linda.

JennB
12 years ago

That is perfectly stated. We as women work so hard at everything we do; we give 110% at every bit of minutae that is hurtled at us, from parenting to partnering to working to cleaning. And it’s so easy to forget that the person we should be taking care of is ourselves. I’m just as guilty. I am the first one awake in the morning to tend to the kids, and the last one to sleep, after MAYBE an hour of me-time before my head is lolling on my neck, ready for sleep. If only I could take my 2-hour-a-day commute and make it work for me: exercise would be good, or reading a book without interruption. I don’t think it’s a good idea to multi-task while driving, though, so that won’t work.

Thank you, as always, for reading my mind and putting these truths down. You’re not alone!

H
H
12 years ago

I felt this. I worried that these routines were suffocating me. Then it all fell apart in one phone call, a close family member has a potentially terminal illness. What followed was stress, tests, worry, information, lack of information – nothing was routine anymore and I wanted that routine so badly. I regretted wishing away the routine. Now, it turned out there is hope, things are not as bad as originally feared, there is more watching and waiting to do but life will not be turned upside down with the really bad stuff. And where am I? In an instant, I am back in the routine – partly because I have to be, partly because now it feels safe.

Debbie
Debbie
12 years ago

Wow, I could have written this. I mean, if you take out the eloquence and the sensitively crafted wording. Obviously.

It’s weird…I get so irritated at the fact that one day just keeps following the next, same shit, different day, day after day after day, but let anything switch up that routine and I’m all “Jesus’ Teeth, can we just get back to normal?”

Women. What do we want? When I was working full time, I was frustrated because I wanted to be at home, making the place we live into a place we loved to be at, keeping ahead of the housework instead of frantically chasing after it, greeting my kids when they got home from school. Now that I’m not working, I’m like “Dear God, I need some professional level email, like right the frak now!!” I crave the flurry of phone calls and emails right around 11:30-“Did you bring your lunch today? What about Kelly? Did she? Well, where should we go? Ugh, no, we went to Qdoba last week..” You know, office stuff.

I don’t know what I’m looking for either. I wish I could put it into words as well as you do. (And so do the two readers of my blog, I’m sure!) Thanks for sharing, Linda.

Mandy
Mandy
12 years ago

I love and loathe my routine as a working mom – the fragile nature of my perceived “control” in all areas of my life. Thank you for this, for the reminder that most of us are just trying to keep it together for one more day, and trying to enjoy it as much as we can along the way.

Kaitlyn
12 years ago

Oh my goodness, it’s so good to know that I’m not the only one who feels this way about my life.

telegirl
telegirl
12 years ago

Beautiful. The post and all the comments; I needed to read this today. Thank you all…

Melissa
Melissa
12 years ago

GREAT post. Especially regarding control of it all. Thank you.

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

I haven’t read the comments so I’m sure someone as already said this but I SO needed to read this right now. Thank you

Belle
Belle
12 years ago

I still feel the way you do and I am 59 years old. You’d never know to look at me that I feel this way as I am one of those people that everyone thinks has their shit together. Ha! I still try every day to find peace and joy. Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes I’m not but the important thing is that I keep trying.

Beautifully written, Linda!

Faith
Faith
12 years ago

I love the metaphor of your title. Also, I add my voice to the voices of those above me who said thank you for putting this feeling into words so that I know how to express my own frustration with the mundane, and yet my simultaneous frustration with the unpredictable. Why can’t everything just stay the same? For the same reason everything can’t always be different. I think humans need change to be able to push themselves and to learn to adapt. But we need a certain amount of routine to prevent us from going stark raving mad.

Michelle
Michelle
12 years ago

This was awesome… I sat at home yesterday, eyes swollen by tears and head throbbing with worry and uncertainty. Worried about being a good mom, paying the bills, getting back in shape, getting MY LIFE BACK ON TRACK! It’s so good to know that there are others out there who share this struggle. I feel like I should know what to do by now, but it still is relentlessly hard. I cried when I got to work, because I felt SO out of the loop by missing JUST ONE DAY, and my boss let me know it.

This being a grown-up/parent shit SUCKS!!! I hate working and leaving her, and then I hate when I know when I get home, I have to feed her, bathe her, fix dinner, etc., etc. I hate that this doesn’t stop. But then, like you said, the next moment, it’s not so bad. After lunch, a talk with some friends, and some advil, things seemed to look up. To be continued… Again and again.

Mama Rose
12 years ago

Absolutely love that last sentence, and may paste it on my bathroom mirror, or even write it on my hand. It’s something I do believe, but it’s hard to remember and harder to express, as you’ve done so perfectly here.

tanya
tanya
12 years ago

I’m not a mom, but I know where you’re coming from. Just doing the day-to-day life things, so often I wonder why, what’s this bullshit for anyway? I push myself to remember the wonderful moments, the ones where I feel light and free and joyful. I find it impossible to bring those feelings into the sad and difficult and heavy here-and-nows. But I know that I have those moments, those wonderful ones. Funny, it’s not knowing that gets me through. It’s just mostly distraction I think. And before I know it I crest again, and I remember why. So I can forget again. : )

Marie Green
12 years ago

First, none of your posts are showing up in my reader, which has never happened to me before. Huh.

Also, life with kids is so difficult simply because every time we figure them out, they change! And I’m glad they are changing and growing, but MAN. At least the rate at which they are making these changes slows as they get older. My school-aged children are ever-so-slightly easier all the time.

You know, except for in the way in which they are not.

Sigh.

Laura
Laura
12 years ago

Yeah. You said it, sister. And thanks. P.S. You’re a winner.