Monday, July 25, 2011
Lessons Learned in Zero Gravity
Getting back into the work groove has been good--for the most part. But it has offered its own set of challenges. Some days are still easier than others. The other day I had a "hiccup" that caused me to pause and look through my work emails for ones Ken sent me. Not smart. Tons of emails and several e-cards--which all still worked. All of them mentioned how much he loved me and how he couldn't wait to see me that night. We'd convene in the back yard with a glass of wine or martini and talk about our days and our goals and plans--and, really, just celebrate each other. So there I sat at work, reading those emails, feeling how present they were. And on a hot, muggy Chicago day--like the kind we used to sit down in after a hard day's work--there I was at work, knowing there was none of that to go home to. Another stabbing reminder.
It's what I've come to learn as a zero gravity moment: a moment of temporary disorientation where time seems to stand still and my stomach starts to make its why up into my throat. It's the harbinger of nothing good. For me the rest of the day was difficult because of that fateful decision to read those emails and the places they took me. I could feel my demeanor changing and I felt powerless to do anything about it--which made it even more frustrating. Thanks to a phone call later that night I was able to work through it and "shake it off."
The one good outcome of one bad day, is that all the rest that follow are great simply by comparison. There are choices I'm faced with everywhere I look; forks in the road, as it were. One path is the emotional "cutting" way, and is surely the fastest way to a bad day. It's a path I've taken out of habit and grief. Not taking that road in the past has felt like I was trying to ignore his memory. But as I've learned this past week that isn't the case, and it's okay--necessary, even--to take the other road. And that's how it needs to be for a while. It will be like learning a new, good habit. The path that should be taken doesn't focus on any negativity or sadness. It's a path of action--or at least distraction.
During the bad day at work, I had a huge burst of anger. It caught me off guard as well. I think it had something to do with dealing with "firsts" and this was the first time this particular situation was happening to me at work. I was able to sort of work through it; minimize it as I sat there stunned like a crash test dummie. Moments like that feel like gravity releases me and I begin to drift upward and then back--like riding a ferris wheel that's going super fast. It takes a lot of kicking and jockeying to get your feet back on the ground and to keep moving forward.
On the brighter side, the rest of the week and the weekend only involved taking the "correct' fork in the road. I'm pretty confident learning to navigate these roads is something that will get easier. But in the meantime, if anyone has a map for sale...