Adulthood

I never saw the movie Boyhood.  I’m afraid to, honestly.  I worry it will be sadder than I can handle.  I remember years ago, at dinner with a friend and her husband, the movie came up.  I admitted that I was terrified about the heartbreak that would result if I saw it.

“What happens, something tragic?” My friend’s husband wasn’t familiar with the movie.

“Oh, no.  It is about the ordinary heartbreak of time passing.” She answered him.

“Oh, I see,” he seemed a little confused.

“In short, the most devastating thing of all.” I shook my head, trying not to think about it.

Lately I feel like I’m living in a version of Adulthood.  Time’s speeding by, what feels like decades in two hours.  I’m simultaneously wondering at time’s fleet passage and feeling the weight of every single passing week and month like an actual burden on my back. How can time simultaneously move rapidly and also creep by, every single moment an eternity?  I don’t know, but I’m living that paradox right now.

I won’t lie: I’m limping to the end of the year.  This has been a difficult year for myriad reasons and despite the fact that it’s also been replete with joy, right now I feel mostly exhaustion and stress and I can’t get out of my own way.  I hate complaining.  I know how intensely fortunate I am.  But I’m also worn down by worries that I can name and those I can’t, full of a bubbling mix of sorrow and anxiety that grates on me all day, every day.

I try to sleep as much as I can.  I go to yoga.  I go for walks, breathe the air, notice the sky, watch the sunsets.  I do all of these things, and daily I’m knocked almost off balance by the splendor that I see. All of that is true, and my deep awareness of all that’s good is an undercurrent even in these times that feel somewhat difficult and dark.

But I also feel overwhelmed by the demands I juggle daily.  Adulthood, again: I’m sense keenly all the ways that my family needs me, all the professional responsibilities I’m trying to handle.  More than anything, I just want this particular season to be over, and for something new to come.  And even as I feel that, it makes me uncomfortable: one thing I don’t like is living for the future, because I believe so firmly that what’s right in front of us is both all there is and where the glittering jewel of the human existence is hidden. So I feel something that I know intuitively is not what I believe, and that dissonance is uncomfortable.

I looked in these archives for the phrase “begin again,” since I hear those words in my head every day.  I don’t have a choice but to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and that not-having-a-choice is both a burden and a blessing.  I was interested to find this piece that I wrote in April 2012, a full 4.5 years ago.  Every single word resonates now. I’d forgotten about this theory, though as I read it it makes total sense.  I wonder what I’m preparing to let go of right now?  I imagine 2017 will show me.

****

…A lot of people look better at dealing with the sine curve of life, at least from where I sit.  A lot of people – and I envy them, let me be clear – seem to experience fewer moments of spirit-shaking emotion than I do.  A lot of them can describe what Easter means to their children, or admire the clear, extraordinary blue of an April sky, or witness a christening, without bursting into tears.  Hell, a lot of people don’t burst into tears every single day.

I do.

Somehow that intense emotion, that wound at the very core of my being, is bearable most of the time.  Right now, though, it feels like too much.  I am bone-tired, my emotions are worn paper-thin, my is patience frayed.  I know my life runs close to the surface, that’s not news to me.  And this isn’t news, either, this sense of being deep in the weeds and of each step being a struggle.  It is so not-new, in fact, that I have a theory as to its cause: I suspect this exhaustion occurs when I’m letting go of something, even though I’m not sure what it is yet.  Right now I’m overly aware of the cracks in everything, and I can’t see the light they’re letting in.  Many days I feel a tightness in my chest and tears pricking my eyes and a general sense of sorrow that is, for now, as powerful as it is inarticulate.

But the children have questions, and the work phone is ringing, and the laundry needs to be done.

What’s my choice, but to get up, to keep going, to begin again?


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16 Comments

  1. Posted December 14, 2016 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    ❤️️

  2. Posted December 14, 2016 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    I’m there, too. Thank you for putting words to these feelings, the resonate and this tearful woman feels less alone. xo

  3. Posted December 14, 2016 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Don’t deny your feeling, but at the same time I am reading the painfully relatable post of an exhausted person. Maybe you should see a professional if there’s something that may help you in this hard season.

  4. Posted December 14, 2016 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Btw, the movie Boyhood was awesome. As in, you’ll never forget it. Don’t go on a sad day, but you should put it on your to-watch list.

  5. Melissa
    Posted December 14, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Lindsey for putting all this into words – I feel like you are in my head and have been for the last 3 months. I have been struggling with the same sense of feeling overwhelmed due to worries and anxiety. Some is caused by things I can change and some are things I cannot. I feel more exhausted at a deeper level than I can remember and I did not correlate it with the letting go of something. I think I know what my letting go is – and it is very complex. I am trying to navigate through a situation that combines family and work — so no clear boundaries for either one. Thank you so much for your post. It makes my load feel just a little bit lighter today to know I am not alone. Many blessings — and please please keep sharing.

  6. Posted December 14, 2016 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    As you know, we are constitutionally different in how we feel and wear our emotions but I am with you so I can only imagine how you are feeling on these short, dark and hectic days. Sending you hugs. xo, Stacey

  7. Posted December 14, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Just watched Boyhood for the first time last week and it is worth every minute of painful witness of time passing. More importantly, it is about how a childhood is warped by broken adults whose commitment to parenting is tenuous, either by circumstance or profound emotional/financial poverty.

    You, my friend, are rich in spirit and emotion in your mindful parenting, even when you feel impoverished and exhausted in the moment. You are showing your children that you keep trying even when it is very very hard.

    Keep giving thanks for each precious moment with that family, even through your tears. My kids became used to my tears through every “first” and every “last” I watched them undergo. And they are better for it and so am I.

  8. Posted December 14, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    This is beautiful and raw, Lindsey. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself. One thing that came to mind as I was reading was the alternative to what you are describing here, and (to me) that would mean shutting down completely. Sometimes, when I feel like my skin is inside out and I am feeling EVERYTHING way too intensely, I want to retreat/numb out with too much wine, too much exercise, too much TV. But then the bitch of it is, eventually I need to deal with the feelings anyway. My point is, I give you a lot of credit for not hiding. For moving though it. In my experience, the light always reveals itself eventually. In the meantime, I hope you treat yourself with as much love and tenderness as you do those around you;) Big hugs to you, my friend. xoxo

  9. Posted December 14, 2016 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Oh goodness. You know I can relate to every single word you wrote. Sending big squeezy hugs from your kindred spirit….xo

  10. Pamela Hunt Cloyd
    Posted December 14, 2016 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    I’m there too, wondering if I’m the only one … so thank you for your words. Even “begin again” feels overwhelming lately. I used to just drink a lot of wine this time of year to have some comfort and I miss that. The demands of the holidays have me craving solitude … which makes me feel overwhelmed AND guilty. My mantra lately is “return to center.” Sometimes it’s just a fraction of an inch. Stay bundled and remember how very loved you are❤️❤️

  11. Pamela Hunt Cloyd
    Posted December 14, 2016 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Ps I loved Boyhood and It made me happy.

  12. CC
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    A long, strong mama hug to keep you safe. Thanks for your words and being.

  13. Trish
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    I so relate to this post. I also do many of the things you do, yoga, walks, photography, etc. to embrace the moment as that is all there truly is. Sometimes watching films and escaping into another dimension like reading books can be restorative distractions and soothe the most cynical and frayed of nerves. I was laid off from my corporate position of eight years recently. Two movies that I had not been aware but have watch were ‘Begin Again’ with Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightly and Adam Levine. I loved this movie much to my chagrin. Especially the music. The title as you referenced above makes me think you’ll enjoy this movie. The music and emotion displayed by the Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley and James Corden characters is so genuine. Another unusual but sweet movie is ‘Five to Seven’. Again I was so enraptured with a lot of the dialogue and the heartfelt performances. One line from the movie is ‘The world will surprise you with its grace if you let it’. The main actor is so mesmerizing. Glenn Close has a cameo in the movie too. The dialogue married with the performances are so heartfelt. It felt like I was witnessing intimate moments in people’s emotional lives. Check these movies out. I love words and I know you do too. Perhaps, they will be a brief respite and restorative in equilibrium.

  14. Posted December 15, 2016 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    I was saying these exact words to a friend last night: there are so many small and large blessings to be aware of and grateful for, and yet I’m struggling, too. This year has been so hard. So hard. I’m ready for a new year, and also scared of what it might bring.

    I have no answers for you, but I’m here with you in the tension. So much love. xoxo

  15. Elizabeth
    Posted December 16, 2016 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    I know I haven’t commented here in a long time, but I just had to say: WATCH BOYHOOD! It’s one of the best films I’ve seen in the past 10 years and has stayed with me. As someone else said, it’s really, ultimately, a film with so much hope and promise. Anyways, just had to put in my two cents here today 😉

  16. Gale
    Posted December 21, 2016 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    I was the outlier on “Boyhood.” I wanted and expected to love it. But I did not. In the interest of not saying anything when I can’t say something nice, I will stop there.

    As for the rest of your feelings, I share many of them, though probably not to the extent that you do. I don’t know that much in life will be different on January 1st than it is today, but it will be a new year, and I am working hard to find hope and energy in that. I will try to send some of that hope and energy your way.

    Happy holidays. Xoxo