Posted by: Erica | April 29, 2010

Unplugged-Part III

Okay, I have a few minutes.  75 of them to be exact.  Let me see if I can get these words down in that time.  Right now, I just want to get this post out-of-the-way so that I can move on to other things.  I considered skipping it all together, but I’m a woman of my word.  I said there’d be three parts, so by golly, there shall be three parts. 

Overloaded Circuits

I find myself walking around with a lot going on in my head these days.  There’s the mommy stuff:  call to get Ansley’s shot records, pack a bag lunch for the field trip this week,  consider a new way to explain to a 4-year-old why they can’t drive the car, etc.  There’s the housewife stuff:  stop by the grocery for bread, vacuum the floors, shop for get-well-soon cards, you know that kind of thing.  And, there’s work.  Usually, I can rely on auto-pilot for science.  But, lately, I’ve been doing gene chip experiments for the first time.  And, well, when you’re holding the human genome in your hands and stand to lose thousands of dollars worth of reagents at the slightest mistake, you tend to try to set aside at least one neural route to dedicate to the task. 

That assortment is the usual mind fodder.  Now, throw in my thrisis.  I guess I’ll use that word.  I’m not sure it fits.  My age is certain.  Whether or not hitting thirty brought this on, I don’t know.  And, I’m not sure it’s a crisis.  That seems to imply negative consequences.  I think someday I’ll look back on this period of my life as one of major self-reflection, philosophical transition, lifestyle re-organization….kind of a mental spring-cleaning.  That’s not a bad way to describe it, actually.  I used to think of life as one drawn-out cycle of seasons, childhood being spring, young adulthood-summer, death-winter, fall-all the stuff that happens up till then to wind down your life to a close.  Now I think that was kind of a limiting assumption.  I mean, if mother nature renews itself every calendar year, why did I think I never would? 

Progress doesn’t always happen gradually.  It’s callow to think that growth occurs at a constant rate, sketching out a bell-shaped curve across our lifespan.  Don’t believe me?  Mothers, how many times have you went to dress your toddler and discovered that a pair of jeans that fit him/her just right last week were now a couple of inches too short?  It happens.  Growth spurts sneak up on you like that.  They stretch us out. 

But, I digress.  Whatever “it” is, this past few months my mind has been bombarded with rather heavy issues to sort through.  It might look something like this:  who am I?, how did I get that way?, was that my fault or someone else’s, or both? can I accept that? should I change?  do I want to change?  how does that affect my faith? are conclusions I made about my faith valid?  Is my questioning invalid? what does God want from me?  why am I in Washington, DC? what should I do now that I am? what is God’s plan? does He want me to know? does he want me to do something? does he want me to do nothing? what is the right way to wait? could I possibly wait too long? wait a minute–what do I want? does God not want me to want?…..

Are you exhausted?  I am.  And, those are just generalizations.  Details are more cumbersome:  If I want to be a writer, how do I get started?  Should I go back to school?  How can someone who hasn’t been in class in 10 years get letters of reference?  Do I need a journalism program?  Should I study for the GRE?  Is having a degree really going to get me much further?  Should I do an internship?  Can I afford to work for free?  If not, am I doomed to science jobs for financial reasons?  Am I being selfish?  Is all of this “me” thinking affecting Ansley?

And that usually brings me back to the shot records and bag lunches, and then I realize that it’s time to change the media on my cells.  Hours pass.  And I just seem to spin my wheels.   Heaven forbid I read what’s on CNN or think about politics or The Great Commission….or how CNN and politics and The Great Commission are all related.  And then I hear a Green Day song and I am convinced that CNN and politics and The Great Commission are all related.   

A few Saturday mornings ago, I woke up early to take Ansley to Ballet, but to my great surprise and relief, Martin volunteered to take her so that I could sleep.  After they’d left, the silence was almost too much of a temptation to bear.  I spent a few minutes spiralling into the brain drain–but then I caught myself in the process of doing it.  “Enough already!” I yelled at myself, “I will reclaim my self-identity!  I will write the book that is within me!  And, one of these days, I will get to tell Billie Joe Armstrong all about it!  And, if I don’t, I WILL have a lot of fun trying!”  And then I reached over, pulled the plug on the alarm clock, and got some much-needed rest.

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