I have admitted on several occasions that I have what is pretty close to the perfect life. This is one of those weeks why its pretty close not absolute.
I turned 42 on Monday.
I've never been a big celebration person, don't like being the center of attention, but I married someone who although she thinks shes an introvert, loves being the center of attention...especially as it relates to her birthday. Tara loves her birthday and loves to celebrate her birthday, she actually attempts to celebrate the entire month. This is not a narcisitic thing - I mean, I guess it is but not in a negative way. She loves gifts and she loves to eat, two things that usually go with your birthday. Also, she wants other people to participate. I live gifts and I like food but I would rather people mail me the gifts and have dinner by myself - usually.
Therein lies the rub. How do we manage to celebrate my birthday? Tara knows I don't want to make a big deal but she does. I know that Tara enjoys making a big deal but I don't. We didn't make a big deal on Monday which was great, I still felt embarrassed when I saw the pile of gifts on the table (all from Tara). The bigger problem is since 1984 my birthday has been tainted by the death of my mother. She died on the 8th, I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan (my first concert) on the 13th and my birthday was the 14th. My discovery and obsession was one of the last and most enjoyable events I remember sharing with my mother. So maybe I just can't remember my birthdays before that fateful 1984 birthday week but this one has pushed the needle past the slightly depressed line.
We are going camping this weekend and as the stay-at-home parent I am responsible for getting a lot more together than I'm used to. Of course, that's life in general for the post-Julia era of my life, so it shouldn't feel any different than the last couple of months, right? Well, it does. Julia is more mobile every day. She's more determined to have things her way and she continues to be so very curious. All of this creates a more sporadic sleep/activity schedule which makes it much more difficult to predict when I can get something done. Of course, this week that has to be combined with the rain. Its been raining off and on all week, mostly on. I am less inclined to take Julia out in the rain, I am less inclined to be in the rain and I most likely bring Johnders inside and therefore have someone else demanding attention. As for me, I get my fair share of enjoyment from the rain but this week it has made me a little stir-crazy and even a bit claustrophobic.
So here I sit writing a blog post instead of getting camping gear together. Julia is asleep, it looks like Johnders is too. I am in a better mood than I was when I started this post thanks in great part to the opening bars of ironically and appropriately timed "Couldn't Stand The Weather" by Stevie Ray.
The frustration is still bubbling under but I think that has more to do with procrastination and, as I say to Tara all the time, expectations. Tara expects people around her to put as much in to what they do as she puts in to what she does, which sets you up for disappointment. I expect so much from myself and tend to expect little from others. Here I expect to be able to keep myself even keeled and keep everybody happy. On one level I know that's impossible and extremely unfair to myself. I cannot be in charge of everybody else's happiness. I know that I am less likely to be happy if I am focusing so much on everybody else. I spoke with my mentor about this to which she responded, if you don't take care of yourself you won't be around long and that guarantees you won't be able to take care of those you love.
How do I move beyond this intellectual understanding and make it actual? How do I make myself, cajole myself into looking after myself as well as others? I think this is the true cause of frustration. I've got it too good not to work on this.