Lost at Sea.
Its been months and my boat has never looked better from the outside. I have scrubbed the decks, polished the brass, even ironed the flag, and then done it all over again. Day upon day, I complete the routine. Scrub, polish, iron. Scrub, polish, iron. I’m not sure why, as no one has seen it in months, and I have not let anyone aboard in a year. But everything sparkles against the ocean and moonlight. I man the tiller, I straighten my course and take care of business, but with no particular passion, no particular desire of destination, just the goal of moving forward and keeping it together. Scrub, Polish, Iron.
The year or so it took to finalize my divorce life felt uncertain and foggy, the year following it was still pretty much a “pea-souper” which is to say I felt quite lost in the sea of daily life and what my new non-married role was. The two things that seemed to make sense were the busyness of parenting and work. Keeping busy, seemed to be the one thing that made things seem OK or normal.
For the Love of Busy
As I was a complete marriage failure–or that is how I felt–I had this drive to succeed at other things. Maybe it was competitive parenting, but I threw myself into focusing on my kids, their activities, and school lives. In all of this, I lost some of myself but also found a new positive. I have always traveled for business. I have visited all 50 of our beautiful states and also worked for large international companies that have taken me around the world. I invested in my work during my marriage thinking it was for the long-term goal of urban success, or whatever that large white picket fence house in suburbia that I thought was a happy home. In some of that dream chasing I had missed some school activities, birthdays, and parent interaction. Now I found myself involved everywhere, and I loved it. The normalcy and routine of making daily packed lunches, helped paper over the cracks of loneliness and loss. It helped bring a beautiful, simple direction in a time of confusion and uncertainty. I became a master of simple quick meals, a lover of laundry, and punctual car pooler. In short, routines helped me have time to find joy in the simple things, find my family, and move on.
Dazed and Confused
See Jane. Jane is busy all day long. Jane never stops from sunup to sun down. Jane is a busy girl. Running at work, packed lunches, and PTA. Jane does it all, and Jane has no clue where or what she is really doing.
I will note that for as many people I have spoken to who had my experience, many other have found a new lease on life in their workplace. Finding peace in extra hours at the office and a new zeal for the deal. For me at work, not so much. I have hired many people during my career, and I would not have hired myself during my divorce or the following 12 months. Don’t get me wrong. I did not look like a homeless guy that had slept in a bush (that would be years later post match.com…) Scrub, polish, iron. I was well kept together on the outside, while inside I was a mess and definitely mid-bush sleeping. I just wasn’t my driven creative self during that time. I longed for routine and home. Travel and work made me miserable. I lost many years to a company that gave nothing back, and I never felt I could give them my best. I was just distracted and lost.
Starting Again – Scrub, Polish, Iron
Over time, the fog in my work life began to clear as did my passion, desire, and creativity. There was no rushing or charging ahead though the murk. The time lost was time to find self. Although I lost some direction in the workplace, I found some treasure in my home, family, and local community. Time is a great healer and fog lifter. I encourage any one feeling a little lost at sea to slow down, enjoy the small things, fold some laundry, and polish some brass. Where you can’t see the end of your nose today, your future will become clear and new opportunities and adventures will appear on the horizon.
With Love and a little less scrubbed, polished, & ironed,
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