Ebbs and Flows

Ebbs and Flows

Do you think life goes through ebbs and flow? People say it does, and I suppose that makes sense. But in the midst of life, that all seems just a tad bit irritating. I mean, it’s a bit irritating when you’re on the ebb, as it were. In the trough. Going through the bottom. Mostly I’m talking about “self” here. Sure, life goes through sickness and health, poverty and wealth, summer and winter – and that’s annoying enough, but I’m talking about feeling happy with self, at the moment. Empowered with self. Today’s quote, courtesy of my current Mary Englebreit calendar, a calendarĀ I’ve loved getting since I was nine, says:


“There is no right path. Only the one that allows you to sleep soundly and wake up excited.” – Jennifer Louden


That sounds beyond me currently. Exciting and hopeful, but beyond me. Not only do I have a baby that still wakes me often enough to cancel out that “soundly” business, I also have a zillion thoughts that race through my head when she does. And once those thoughts get rolling, I mostly feel incapable of doing anything about them. This leads me to feeling highly frustrated and impotent. So, so fun in the middle of the night.


This has not always been the case. See above: “ebb and flow”. Earlier in my marriage I spent a few years of my life running a small ballet program, writing a book, homeschooling, and raising four kids. And I did much of this all at the same time. I was creating things. I was busy. I felt accomplished and purposeful. I can’t even imagine doing all of that right now. Currently it seems like a big deal to vacuum all three floors of my house in one day. Especially the basement. Who has time to go down those stairs?


So why the change? And how to climb out of it and pick something different?


It feels so disorganized and cluttered inside my brain. As an example: I think about the house. I think about what I want to change in the house. We bought an “older” home, with the intention of very slowly updating it. We’re talking the ’80’s here. Orange woodwork, gold fixtures, strange tile counters. Whenever we discuss this, we discuss what we’ll do with “our millions” and we certainly mean that ironically. With six children approaching teenage years we definitely don’t have any extra for pulling out our stained carpet and putting down wood – and I’m not even talking about real wood.


So, I begin thinking about the house, and I wonder what my vision is, what my priorities are, which room I should concentrate on, what things I should be saving for… And these variables and questions increase exponentially. I have no idea what I want. I have no idea what I want to work on. And I have very little skills or funds to do any of it anyway.


This same process applies to all areas of my life. What to do about my writing? What to do about Justin’s dissertation? What to do about more schooling for me? (We get excellent tuition with Justin’s job). What to do about the kids’ extracurricular activities? What to do about the dogs? What to do? What to do? And how to do any of it, should I even come up with an idea? I am spinning, spinning, spinning. Is this my fault, or this only “the ebb”? And perhaps it’s necessary to any “flow”? Obviously, we’re back to downright irritating. Did we ever leave?


Mostly right now I feel an overwhelming urge to be productive, to create, to have excitement about my future. At the same I feel a complete underwhelm-ment at my ability to make any of this happen. People are out there pursuing dreams and making things happen. And I am waking up in the middle of the night, wondering what my dreams even were.

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