Distraction, Thy Name is Laundry

As anyone who works from home can tell you, distraction is a force to be reckoned with. Interestingly, though, I’ve been working from home for over 20 years and until recently, distraction hasn’t ever been an issue for me. I’ve always been pretty driven about my work, so working long hours very focused on a task wasn’t a problem.

To some extent, I think this is a factor of age, since my eyesight is going and my hands no longer want to spend that much time with a mouse or keyboard. In other ways, though, I think it’s just that the work I’m doing nowadays isn’t that interesting and therefore my brain would rather find ways to CLEAN. ALL. THE. THINGS. than to work on what’s in front of me.

It’s an interesting situation for many of us in my generation. Having spent our 20’s and 30’s climbing the corporate ladder, many of us are now finding that our careers have already peaked. At least for me, what that means is that I’m doing work I would have found interesting 15 years ago but since then, I’ve advanced to the point where it’s no longer interesting. Still, this is the work that the world seems to want me to do. I’ve been doing it so long that I’m not sure I’m qualified for anything else.

Which brings us back to the subject of laundry. If what you have to work on is boring enough, I guess your brain will find any distraction, including laundry. Odd that after many years of doing laundry for a family, I’d now rather do laundry than the paid work. In some ways, laundry is satisfying. It is one of the few things in life that is really DONE when you finish. It’s easy, quick gratification, and gives you a sense of tidiness, which the project manager in my head dearly loves.

Whether she still loves other things (such as writing yet another set of requirements for insurance software) is a different issue, but I think she’s going to have to get used to that. It won’t kill her, and it pays the bills, but it won’t erase global hunger or create world peace.

Which leads us to an interesting question, one which I think a lot of us struggle with: What do you do when what you do for a living doesn’t feel significant or feed your soul?

I’ll admit that I don’t really have the answer to this question but I think the solution lies in finding other ways to bring meaning to your life. That should give me something to chew on for a while.

P.S. For those of you who come to this blog for the knitting rather than the existential rambling, don’t despair. Along with ennui, I’ve also fallen into yet another knitting slump but I promise I’ll find a way out soon. Stick with me. In the meantime, feel free to talk about your own knitting, spinning or crochet projects in the comments. Maybe that will be the kick that I need to get going again.

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Ah, August Part Deux

So today is the day that August bites me personally. It happens every year, and as I casually watch my younger friends send their little ones off to kindergarten, I sit smug in the knowledge that I’ve conquered that particular hurdle and while I know how difficult it is, I can simply watch and be supportive.

Then the day comes when I have to send my own child back to school, only this time it’s a 20-year-old headed off to his junior year of college. You would think that by now this would be easy (and it is a lot easier than sending him to kindergarten was), but it’s still always harder than I think it will be.

He’s a strapping young man at this point, bigger than his Mom, so my fantasies of simply kidnapping him and not letting him return to college probably aren’t very realistic. Plus, that would be bad for him, and after all, we raise these kids to be self-sufficient for a reason. That said, it’s still not easy to pack him off, knowing that I won’t see him again until Thanksgiving. Being my son, I probably won’t hear from him much in that time either, because he’ll be busy.

At the same time, I’m starting a new project and it’s not one I’m all that crazy about, so that’s causing some disruption in my week as well. Either way, it’s got me a bit unsettled, despite the fact that I keep telling myself it’s no big deal and after all, I do this every year.

It’s an interesting thing to be a Mom. You send a little part of your heart out into the world and just pray for the best, hoping that you taught them everything they need to know, and that the world will be kind. For the most part, it is.

So here’s to all the Moms with kids of any age, that are going through their own pains of separation this month. The best part is that there’s always a homecoming. For the kindergartners, the homecoming happens every day; for Moms like me, we’ll have to wait a bit longer but it will be no less sweet when it does happen.

Happy Back to School, everyone.

Issues of Faith and Home

I have a quandary. I don’t talk about my religion much on this blog, for somewhat obvious reasons. I want it to be a safe place for all of my readers regardless of their religious background. But at the moment, I’m struggling with an issue and it helps me to write about it, so please bear with me.

I’m on the horns of a dilemma with my religious life. You see, I’ve found a lovely little church here in my adopted hometown. They’re terrific people and they make me feel warmly welcomed whenever I attend. Like all churches, we have some challenges, not the least of which is that we’re pretty small and it’s difficult to accomplish all the things we want to do, because we simply don’t have the scale and enough energy (read: volunteers) to carry out our vision.

To solve that (and for a myriad of other reasons I won’t detail here), we’re in talks to merge with another congregation. It’s a long story, because our church was formed by a group that split off from this other congregation in the first place. It’s personally complicated for me because the likely meeting site is a long way from where I live, out in the country, and on a two-lane county highway that I suspect isn’t very hospitable in the winter time. In fact, I had initially thought about attending this other church when we first moved here and opted not to because of the distance.

I’m also concerned because I suspect that if we do merge the congregations, the things that attracted me to this congregation in the first place may change.  It’s our warm welcome, our friendly nature, and the fact that we make everyone feel comfortable in our midst, that made me want to be part of it in the first place.  Without that, my church home won’t feel like “home.”

Perhaps I’m letting my fear get ahead of me – after all, no decision has yet been made – but I am pretty sure that if we do vote to merge, I’ll be out on my own again, going through the not-so-awesome process of finding a church home. That makes me sad. It also makes me wonder where God is in all of this, and what He/She really wants to see happen here. Was there a grander vision for this little congregation? Or perhaps this was meant to happen all along, and healing the schism from 5 years ago is the right answer?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have you experienced the loss of your “spiritual home?” If so, how did you handle it? Would you do it that way again?

Ah, August

I am surprised every year at how I greet the month of August with such conflicting feelings. Living in the Midwest, August was a month to be endured. After surviving the incredible heat and humidity of July, we turned the calendar over to find Another Month More. August was the filler, that space between the fun things of summer and the start of school. It was the month full of days that all the kids hope will go really, really slow. It never does, though. Instead, August is a month filled with shopping for things that kids don’t really want (clothes, Trapper Keepers, and pencils), leaving them to find that school is starting all too soon.

In Colorado, though, August is less a filler than a headlong rush to back-to-school. Some schools started as early as this week, and many will start on Monday. To me, with my Iowa-born sense of time, where school starts the day after Labor Day and ends before Memorial Day, it seems way too early. That seems like a shame, too, as the heat of June gives way to the rains and cool weather of July and August. The Colorado countryside is green, the days are beautiful, and yet it’s time to go back inside.

Oddly, too, when school starts again in the fall, I always feel a little bit left out. I guess I enjoyed school, although it’s not like I long to go back. There’s something satisfying in the fall coming, in the fresh promise of a new tablet or sheaf of loose leaf paper, in a chance to start over with new classmates and new teachers, to learn something new and interesting.

So, here’s to August, hot and humid or cool and rainy, and to the approach of a new season of learning and a new crop of kindergarteners going out into the world on their own for the first time. The circle of life continues, with us oldies watching from the sidelines and cheering you on.