You would assume that since I am a practicing psychologist with all sorts of shiny diplomas on my walls and a cabinet drawer full of clients who I have successfully counseled, that my life would be calm, organized, and unpredictable.
As Felix Unger (The Odd Couple) warned: “When you assume, you make an “ass-(out of)-u-me”.
The day begins pretty peacefully, then gets wilder by the hour.
Relaxation lasts from 5:30 am (rising) to 5:35am (wake the dog with a good morning stomach rub, stretch, and slip out of bed). I sneak down to the workout/guest room (with dog in tow) to begin my hamster wheel training regiment of a zillion steps per day. Disgusted, my dog turns his back on me condescendingly and heads back to bed.
Screw the Fitbit, my apple watch, or any other tracking mechanism because steps count whether you wear something or not. I would just as soon waste my time with an abacus. Speaking of steps, it’s not long before I hear little ones on the staircase, typically those of my youngest child who rises with the roosters—even though I own none–around 6:30 am.
But since I have mentioned fowl, let’s head to the kitchen where I brew a cup of coffee, grab a heaping cup of meal worms from a jar, and head to the backyard. The dog rejoins me for a moment and then darts ahead to greet my chickens. “Good morning ladies!!” Judging by the length and volume of the responding cackle, I think they are giving me a very loving and excited good morning back. I scoop out some food– the meal worms, which is their favorite–and I often pop in a block of ice they can nest on to survive the 120-degree weather.
Now it is time to play short-order cook as I make eggs for my children, each of whom wants them differently. (I complain but I secretly enjoy being able to ‘get it right’.) My eggs? Forget it. There’s no short-order cook for mom. Off to the shower.
Once in the shower I have about T-minus 13 minutes before a call comes through the door, “Mom, we have a problem”, whether it be about the dog, personal space, or food issues (They are after all 16 months apart and totally different humans).
The next eight or nine hours are dominated with providing psychological triage for clients through therapy, emails, smoke signals, or every other form of communication you can imagine. I juggle all the chaos that comes my way, hoarding water and caffeine-laden drinks to stay abreast of the seemingly endless wave of clients (which I am truly grateful and humbled that I am the one they chose to help them). . . at least until 5:00pm when I exit my office to witness the disaster that was once my home.
Let’s recap some real situations:
My mini schnauzer is sans beard because the kids wanted to see if he would sit still for a cut. (It is clear he did).
There are about 20 pans throughout the kitchen because my daughter decided to try making macaroons
My son is icing his leg because he decided to start skateboarding (no previous experience) and learned the hard way that YouTube videos probably are not filmed by beginners.
Dinner with the family, often including my in-laws who live on property, provides much needed laughter, and getting the kids to bed with lights off no later than 8:30 most nights also provides some quiet time.
That is until I catch up on the day by going through my emails on sanebox (153 last count), check with my calendar for the next day and try to regroup on where things are with business, what deadlines I have or get other things done.
It usually works for about three days and then my body refuses to play along. (It’s amazing how many times you can read the same sentence without it registering). By 10pm I have crashed on my couch, in another dimension, probably with drool running down my chin.
And seven hours later I start it all over again.
But, I love my life, there are so many moments throughout the day when I pause, take in the beauty of experiencing face-paced high-level stress, sometimes emotional pain, that sneaky little thing called anxiety and joy. Yes, joy! Afterall, you cannot really experience joy if you don’t know what the rest of the chaos and emotions in life are all about.
I revel in it all, this is my life, I’m joyfully grateful for the joyful chaos.