Singing the Blues

Home after another day of hard but rewarding work. I am chilled to the bone and exhausted. A steady, consistent rain has permeated this day and seems to have seeped through my raincoat and clothes into my skin. Days like this are only good if you have a loved one or a good book with nothing to do but stay in bed.

My cats greet me with a strange mixture of indifference, disdain and relief. I suspect they had gotten used to my schedule of either working from home or being gone for four days traveling for my old job. A rather feast or famine for them when it comes to attention.

They aren’t used to my being gone all day and then coming home at night. For that matter, neither am I. It feels strange to have so little time here now. And I’m not even putting in a full 8 hour day at work.

I remember I used to complain of either having too many weeks in a row on the road, or too many weeks in a row at home. My previous job was often like that, and either extreme would make me antsy. Towards the end of my sales career, it was a lot of time at home and very little time on the road.

I think back now and I am struck again by how fortunate I was in that position. There is very little that will spoil you faster than being able to work out of your house. Combine that with getting paid to hop on an airplane, fly somewhere new, stay in a nice hotel, eat delicious expense paid meals, and have very little pressure to meet sales goals. Yes, I lived a blessed life.

Holy cow! How presumptuous of me to say I was going to focus on creating a life I love after that one ended. What was there not to love already?

Sure, my boss could be a bit of a jerk sometimes. But there were other times he was over the top kind and considerate. Compared to some stories I hear of bad bosses, I worked with a saint.

So really, what was there to complain about? Why didn’t I love my life before I got laid off? What made me think I needed to create a life I love now? The statement itself indicates I’d been living a life I didn’t.

As I ponder this, I am struck by how many of us find something to complain about or to blame for keeping us from our happiness. I realize now that’s what I’ve done and I’m aware of the temptation to do it again. We live in a culture that encourages us to sing the blues.

Somewhere, in the middle of all of this, I know there is a very real balance between acknowledging what isn’t working and what is just perhaps an inconvenience when it comes to our day-to-day lives. I wish I’d spent more time really appreciating what I had and less time complaining. And I’m determined not to make that mistake again.

This isn’t to say I don’t have things to sing the blues about right now. I’m also not trying to just skip over or mask my feelings by only focusing on the positive. There are plenty of complaints and subtle dissatisfactions simmering underneath the surface.

I just don’t want to look back on this time of my life and want to shake myself. I want to stay aware enough that I’m taking it all in: the good and the not so good. I want to make sure I don’t lose my perspective.

One of my cats is curled up on my lap purring. My house is dry and warm. My bills are paid and my stomach is full.

I am learning that creating a life I love doesn’t mean I have to go off and have some huge grandiose career. Creating a life we love starts in the moment of stopping and appreciating what we have. It may not be perfect, but then we never know if – in a future time – we might look back and see that actually it really is.