Fixing, Spreadsheets & Lists, oh yeah, and Christmas
I've been thinking about what fuels my OCD and anxiety lately. Of course the shooting in CT was a big driver for the recent up-tick. Even so, I'm getting pretty tired of fighting it or trying to "fix" it. So, Jeff suggested that I just be okay with not being okay. Just accept that I'm not happy with this anxiety stuff and proceed forward (albeit with the twisted face of a person attempting to smile while writhing in the discomfort associated with feet binding).
At first I thought that built into his recommendation was the hope that I would someday not be "not okay" and someday I will "overcome" my not-okay-ness and be able to trot down a rainbow path of righteous and productive luminosity. And we will all sing songs and smile while chasing butterflies and feeling groovy--without the aid of .25mg of Xanax.
But then I realized that this is probably unfair to Jeff. Because my thinking is outcome-based and not process-based. I'm an outcome person. I'm not a process person. Jeff is more process driven than I am. Sure he likes a good outcome, but he's more of an in-the-day-moment-place kind of guy. He can access joy faster than anybody I've ever met. He can be driving down the road grumpy and hungry and in a flash just start singing the wrong lyrics to a song on the radio which makes the car erupt in laughter. "Strong as Stuntmen!" (That's Billy Squire's "Stroke me, stroke me" for all of you out there who don't know Todd Brown's rendition).
He seizes the moment to find the joy (while I'm crossing things off a list).
Am I lucky or what?
He also loves Christmas.
Usually we have a big Christmas Eve party. I start the excel spread-sheeting for that sucker in late September. But this year we decided to dial down the intensity a little, skip the party and let him get through the last few months of his MBA program. I personally wanted to focus more on time spent with the kids, friends and family and less on acquiring things, wrapping things, shipping things, recycling things, etc.
This has bought me a lot of extra time and space which I then promptly used to get all jacked up on anxiety.
It's funny to write that down and see it in black and white. Because it's true.
Sitting through the space/time vortex while not really doing anything produces a singular outcome -- I mean, if I can muscle past the squirming: A very distinct sense of peace. And I'm not saying that it's all hunky dory peace where the dishes are done and that everything is in some kind of perfect order or even alright. But there is a palpable quietening of all the nerve endings. And then an opening of different eyes and ears -- hell maybe it's the third eye -- that can see things like Christmas lights and glitter and excitement and hear laughter. In this peace, I am able to perceive joy, even in if it's only in the abstract of my husband or kids. Too bad I can't cover or poke out my other four joyless sensory organs and still drive legally.
Like Jeff does. He only sees and hears the good stuff. And he really doesn't get all bothered by dirt or clutter or to-do lists. And in the end, I think he gets way more done with less effort. But he does have a wife with a clipboard. There is that, I guess.
He's really fun to share Christmas with. He metaphorically and literally grabs the spreadsheet out of my hand while simultaneously admiring it. I mean, he's got his own little OCD things happening and the dude loves spreadsheets. Anyway, to my honey, I just want to say I love you and thanks for teaching me how to celebrate not just Christmas but life with or without a to-do list.
Merry and Peaceful-ish Christmas to Jeff, Hank, Big E and the rest of you all!
Love and Blessings all around! (Kirsten, that was for you)