Me, I’m Counting

September 20, 2016 § 2 Comments

It’s been difficult for me to see anything but endings lately, and to fear those endings. It’s certainly taken a toll on my sleep (I’m not getting much), my appetite (I’ve lost five-plus pounds in the last month, without trying), my ability to focus on work and conversations and even mindless TV shows.

But there’s a freight train full of good barreling through my life right now, too. Sometimes, I have to stop and remind myself of that. Count my blessings, as it were. So to that end, I’m counting.

Tracy

First and foremost is Tracy. My heart, my foundation. The woman who found me broken on the rocks, and was patient and kind and loving even when I didn’t deserve any of those things. Who is still kind and patient and loving, even though she’s seen the monsters and demons that crawl around under my skin.

Tracy is drop-dead gorgeous, yet has no pretensions. She is warm and giving. She’s hilarious, even though she doesn’t think she’s funny. She’s incredibly intelligent, and she’s wildly creative—even though, again, she doesn’t think so.

As well as we know each other after almost ten years together, Tracy still manages to surprise me. I hope I still surprise her, and I hope she knows I have her six as much as she has mine. (Yes, sweetie, I said “six.” It’s your fault.)

Friends

I have somehow managed to befriend a host of amazing people—so amazing, in fact, that at times like this, when I stop and really look around at them, I find it hard to believe that I am this lucky.

I have good friends at work. I have good friends in far away places, whom I don’t get to see or talk to near enough. I have good friends who live five minutes away, whom I also don’t get to see or talk to near enough.

Most of my best friends, I’ve met through a mutual love of Firefly. They are my Browncoats, my crew. I also still have best friends from high school, all these (cough cough) years later. They’re my posse.

I have new friends I’ve met through other friends. Wonderful, interesting, fun people whom I look forward to learning more about and sharing good times with. People who have been supportive, even though they barely know me.

And I have a core group of friends, drawn from all of the above, whom I love like family. They are vital to me. They’ve carried me through the low points and celebrated with me during the high points. If I had to chose one quote from all of literature to describe my dearest friends, it’s this one from Richard Bach’s novel, Illusions:

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.”

Which brings me to …

Family

I’m lucky enough to have a family I’m related to by blood, but who also shares that respect and joy in each other’s life. Like many of my friends, I don’t get to see my family near enough. We’ve been closer lately, as we unite to help my dad fight his cancer. It’s a shit reason to see each other more often, but it’s also a reminder of how we can still come together when we need to, even though we’re scattered to the four winds.

When we do get together, it’s all sharing stories and catching up and remembering the best times and laughing at familial in-jokes. It’s joy. It’s fun. We’re a weird, dysfunctional bunch sometimes, but we love each other. You can’t ask much more of a family than that.

Work

Many people don’t see their job as a blessing—or, if they do, they see it as a mixed blessing. I’m lucky enough to do what I love for a company I love.

I write for a living. It was my goal as an English Lit grad, and although it’s a different kind of writing than I imagined, I can still say I am doing what I’ve always wanted to do.

Better yet, I write for a living for a great company: Seapine Software. I’ve made good friends there, and every day walking in the door, it feels like I’m where I belong.

I worry I’m fucking it up lately, because I’m so tired and stressed that it’s hard to focus on the tasks before me. Small tasks I used to be able to knock out in an hour now take me the better part of a day. And the large task I’ve got now takes a lot of focus, which is in short supply.

Even with the shitstorm that’s blowing through my life, my coworkers have been amazingly understanding and supportive. I know that can only extend so far, though; the work needs to get done. So I’m addressing that, because I don’t want to disappoint the people that depend on me. They deserve better than that.

Surprises

I could go on and on, but this is already too long and I doubt anyone is still reading at this point. So let me throw the rest of my blessings into a bucket labeled “TA DA!” Because one of life’s greatest blessings are the surprises—the small, quiet wonders; the big, life-changing thunderbolts; and all the minor miracles in between.

It’s the sales rep for a medical device company that you contact blind, asking for information about a new technology for treating exactly the kind of cancer your dad has. The guy who not only tells you which local hospital has the machine, but then contacts the head of oncology there and relays all the information you need to know to get your father into treatment. He doesn’t know me from Adam, yet he spent a good part of his evening trying to help me and asking for nothing in return. I need to find a way to thank him.

(The device is the Phillips OncoSuite, in case that information is relevant to your needs. More info here.)

It’s breaking down in the middle of a room full of people—some, dear friends; others, almost strangers—and finding comfort and understanding and hugs.

It’s friends finding out that flying in a biplane is on your bucket list, and arranging a flight for you.

It’s the sudden, unforeseen changes that deepen and enrich your life. The amazing things that happen without warning. The gifts you don’t deserve.

Count your blessings; they’re all around you. Write them down. Look at the list and add to it from time to time. You have more than you think, I guarantee it. You just have to focus on seeing them when everything seems grim and awful.

When all you see are endings, stop. Breathe. Count the good things in your life.


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