Greetings from the almost other side of what has been a quick and nonstop month that I have oh-so-thrilled is done (but is it really done? I’m starting to accept that there really is no end, and nothing is ever ‘done’.)
I started writing this last week (which should probably be a testament to the nonstop-ness) while sitting in the Northstar Starbucks at the crack of dawn (like I do every Saturday morning), and I got distracted by something on Twitter about real software developers and coding after hours, and it sent me down an overtired, half-awake thought spiral that I ultimately decided I didn’t want to write about. And then a week passed, and I’m finally coming up for air while sat in the San Francisco airport at a gate I’m pretty sure I flew out of on my first ever trip to this city for the interview for the job that I now have… and I can’t really remember what exactly was on my list of things that I mentally noted “I should write about” over the course of the past month.
The past few weeks were Hard though (with a capital H).
It feels weird to admit that, particularly when I start to compare to all of the Hard weeks I’ve had over the past few years. I feel almost like I’m not allowed to admit that – my life is not Hard at the moment, and admitting that I’m tired and feel like I can’t handle it feels like admitting defeat and that even though I am clearly capable of dealing with the Harder stuff, dealing with the normal day-to-day Hard is what wears me down. Nothing traumatic happened, but the combination of leading a nonstop, high-pressured, somewhat hard-deadlined-driven work project, finally having snow and, ergo, six out of nine possible days over two weeks where school did not happen as it should have, and ski mountain high season was enough disruption to the routine where it felt like my mind constantly had to be ‘on’. I was context-switching every five minutes between coding, dealing with the cooped up dogs, managing my team and other teams, entertaining a cooped up child, coding, and doing normal house-stuff round and round all day with no transition time between. Individually, none of those things are bad, and none of them make me miserable. But together? It was Hard.
I finally reached my self-designated ‘End’ of it with a day fully off, with no obligation to care for anyone or do anything other than whatever I wanted, and what I decided I wanted to go meet my friends to ski at Kirkwood for the day, to catch up and actually get to do something in the powder that finally appeared in Tahoe. And despite feeling like maybe I shouldn’t go, and debating not going when K decide to stay home, and still debating turning around when the roads weren’t plowed going to Reno at 6:30am, and still debating going shopping and then home when I finally got through Reno, I went… and after four hours, got turned around at the parking lot (after sitting still for an hour) because I was too late to get a spot.
And so, I did a K-turn, and quietly carried on back down through South Lake, and slowly wound back up along the lake, and back up through Truckee, and back up over the mountain… and eight hours after I left, finally got home… and just cried. Even as I was melting down, I felt stupid – poor me, I can’t go skiing, in this glorious life I live where I can wake up on a Sunday morning and decide that’s what I want to do, this is so ridiculous. But I caved. I felt, and felt in an exhausted mental flurry of ‘I spent years hiding from showing emotion and feeling anything, because I convinced myself that I didn’t deserve to feel, and I’m tired! I’m tired of seeing the bright side of everything, of portraying this act like it’s all fine, I can do, I can make it. I don’t want to pretend I’m fine! I’m tired! I’m sad. And disappointed. I wanted to see my friends. I wanted a day to myself. I wanted to do something different, and I tried, and why do when I try to do these things they always backfire? I wasted my day off! I could’ve stayed home. Or done some other thing I’ve been wanting to do! It’s not fair!?!’
I could’ve laughed about it. I could’ve brushed it off and found some silver lining, but for once, I just couldn’t, and as Hard as it is, I’m trying to tell myself that that’s okay. Some days are Hard. Some weeks are Hard. Some months are Hard… and admitting that is not being defeated, or giving up, or not being capable of handling it, or expressing discontent with how things are. It just is, and being human is Hard, and adulting is Hard, and feeling is Hard, and that’s all okay.
Someday I’ll learn to balance my life a bit more. Someday I’ll learn that there are external things I can’t control, and I have to find a way to cope within the constraints of what I can. And someday, I’ll learn that it’s okay to say that it’s not okay.