I cannot sleep past 5 am anymore.
Even if I go to sleep at 4 am, I am up and at ’em by five.
It is necessary, in such a small house full of feisty people (let’s make it sound more charming than it is, shall we?) to have a little bit of quiet before the day gets off the ground.
During my regular working days, of course, I wake up early in order to study or write, but that has been suspended with the long stretch of holiday days. Instead, I get up, turn off the air conditioners, drink two glasses of water, and sit in J’s tiny studio in the dark. Not meditating, exactly. Just being quiet and still. If I wake up early enough, I will go for a run but since I like running in the dark, or at least dim light, I would have to get out the door by four am these days.
Today is a day of giving haircuts and taking people to get their passport photos. For making our travel itinerary and getting the kids to work on their summer homework. All the things we had wanted to be finished before the trip, improved conversational Japanese, a little bit more fit, projects in the shop for extra spending money, none of that happened. Time management, I suppose, but it is not like we’ve been loafing around. It is just that with four kids who hate doing homework and hate being stuck inside (we’ve had another bad heatwave this year), there’s been too many battles going on.
Five years ago, we moved back to Florida so we could homestead a bit. The idea was that the kids could be unschooled (especially after the grueling cycle of public schools and the heavy homework load that I was in charge of supervising) and we could grow vegetables and chase chickens in between trips to the ocean five minutes away. And while those things did go on, including the acquisition of a much desired and beloved dog, well, the good thing is that the kids remember the positive aspects only. The bad thing, on the other hand, is that the kids know now that there is an alternative to this daily grind without remembering the negative aspects of our life back home. And since they are gifted and strong-willed and the homework is boring rote work, well, you see why I need a bit of time to myself each morning.
Here’s what I would like to do today, I would like to work on an animation that looks a bit like this:
But follows these two people trying to connect but hardly ever being the correct combination. I have this friend, you see, whom, like everyone, has many selves, all fit together like a multifaceted gemstone. And he and I can truly connect only when certain selves are facing the right direction, otherwise we are almost strangers to each other. So instead of feeling the usual frustration of wanting to connect and being unable to figure out the math to do so, I will instead redirect that energy into something for everyone. Since I am rather certain that I am not the only one who deals with this issue.
So, we’ll see how it goes. If we are lucky, I will have something to share with you tomorrow. If not, then I will just report on my failures which might in turn make you feel more satisfied with your own successful Saturday.
And that is fine too.
I chatted with my sister for a bit today, which is rare. I was asking her about our uncle’s funeral and then the conversation was suddenly about how I could secure a teaching position in a rural part of Florida if I wanted or how about the outskirts of Orlando? (It should be known that the word Orlando alone causes me to mouth vomit.) I confessed a few of the issues we are dealing with here and she was in disbelief and then I tried backpeddling and yet, you can’t turn around from some truths. Sigh. I was saddened by the news of our brother and his fate. And I do miss my parents and want to help them out as they prepare to leave this realm. But I don’t want to be a teacher in Florida. The only way I can go back is if I am supporting myself as a writer and artist, which I could not tell my sister, of course. It sounds so grandiose to suggest that I could ever sell a book, especially since my brother quit his full-time university position to write, and then got really, really sick.
Can I balance the two directions for a bit? Do I have the capacity to work towards tenure (plan B) and towards publishing my book (plan A) at the same time? I feel like I have to choose but what if I do both? Plan B is not that difficult, really. Plan A is horrible but in the end, I could be near the ocean again, near my peoples, I could find my Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings homestead and raise goats and bees. Plan B is safe and easy and right at my feet. Plan A is destructive and chaotic and gorgeous. Plan A terrifies me.
I turn forty next month. Tick tock says the clock.