The Opposite of Ideal

Embrace it.

I strive and strive for an ideal state of being. But what would I accept if it was all taken from me and I could only have a tiny fraction back for the briefest of moments? I imagine I would see everything that bothers me as the greatest of gifts. Can I learn to do that now, when it could be of use?

This is the imaginary scenario I set up for myself after a day of bitter complaining due to a total stress tsunami. Husband was served earful after earful of despair. Was he fortified by these revelations? Facial expressions indicate a firm no. He served a few back and I slid into panic. We can’t both tank.

What caused it? Just all of it, the overwhelming daily grind to the national nightmare to the international impenetrability to the galactic nonchalance. Something is going wrong in every arena. There is no respite. I cannot have what I want. I wake up with 48 hour’s worth of to do’s. No matter how efficient and productive I whip myself into being, it’s not enough. No matter how much I relax, it all comes back. I can’t find equilibrium. Give me a new goal, please!, I beg of myself while stirring the onions.

Myself looks at my son who is standing in the kitchen needing a role model, not a narcissist. He is asking me questions about something. I could go ballistic because his need is ONE MORE THING, or I could just be here now and do it different.

Okay myself says, here’s the new story: it’s never ever ever getting better so let go of that. But!….don’t freak out, to help you adjust to this new radically and permanently imperfect situation, humor us with quick mind game. We think it will change your perspective.

Imagine if in five minutes, all of it, every last problem, was gone. Gone because really gone. Dead, disappeared, dried up, abandoned, betrayed. All gone. You’d be on your knees begging for crumbs of return. Give me anything! Okay! Stop blubbering and you can have crumbs.

It’s all back! Sweet relief! But there are dirty dishes everywhere. You can make soup, but you’ll be making it next to last night’s crusted over skillet.

I am going to test drive this experiment. I see my favorite orange glazed Le Creuset cast iron skillet. It’s crusty with last night’s stir fry. I can barely see the orange under the decade’s layers of burnt on grime. Who cares, we are re-united! So much better to have you next to me dirty then cracked in two and thrown in the garbage. Lucky me! Instead of feeling cheated out of cooking space, I will focus on that nearness of your being. Having a dirty dish is better than having no dish. Okay, I can work with that. I’m feeling that. This game will get me through one more night.

I was nice and funny and kind and slow to anger. For one more night. Every day is a battle. Every trick in the book helps. I really am glad to be here. Thank you life. Thank you imagination. Gratitude bests grievance. Knockout punch.

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4 thoughts on “The Opposite of Ideal

  1. Thank you, Caren, for what we’ve all felt or are feeling—only, for most of us, not with your delightful sense of humor and sane examples of remediation.

    Like

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