It's a beautiful sentiment, and desperately I wanted to feel the quiet joy its messenger Andrew McGregor (http://www.thehermitslamp.com/2012/04/beltane-2012-bloghop/) found in it when he chose it for our topic. (Do go along and thank him for herding the cats this time!)
I stopped at the Facebook page at least three times a week, gritting my teeth and wracking my brain every time I saw it. The more I saw it, the more by back went up and my teeth gnashed together. If you can believe it, over this same time, I managed to miss a few important parallels that would have explained my frustration if I hadn't had my nose pressed right up against the tree. I'd go to work, where it turns out I am so good at my job I will be "laterally" moving into a position with ten times the responsibility and stress. I'm excited, but I'm sure most of you understand the definition of "lateral" on the pay scale. Then I'd come home and look at this topic, scowl, and go to bed.
Upon waking, I would return the texts from my cousin wondering if I knew if I had any book deals in the pipeline, as this will basically define whether or not we can move out together, as I will be absorbing 80-90% of the rent and utilities responsibilities. Then I would fire up ye olde laptop, surf Craigslist for a part-time job I might be able to take on to get me closer to "our" goal, go to Facebook, glower at the blog topic, and wander off to work.
After returning from work, I would listen patiently as my mother tried to convince me the cure for all my ills is a trip with her to Spain. For which I would not have to pay a cent. Except that there must be something I can contribute. And while I tried to tune out the roar in my ears, I went to Facebook, played Bubble Witch, and skated through the Blog Hop topic again, rolling my eyes and kicking myself for it being so difficult for me to figure out.
Lather, rinse, repeat. For over a month. And still, the lightbulb did not so much as flicker.
Then Sunday came, and I went out for coffee with a friend I haven't really spoken to for a decade. She was talking about how she was between jobs, but had used the time to rekindle old passions.
"What are you reading?" she asked, knowing of old that I'd always been an avid reader.
I blinked at her. "I'm... between genres at the moment. I don't think I've read anything in...." I shrugged. It's been months.
"Oh," she said. "Well, I'm also getting back into music. I remember you did music."
When she knew me, I sang and played piano. "No," I reluctantly admitted. "I haven't done anything with music in... well...." It's been over a year since I've touched the piano and I rarely sing, even for my own enjoyment, anymore.
"I'm also biking... and playing pool... and dancing...." To my abject horror, the list went on and on.
I said the only thing I could. "Wow."
"What are you doing?" she finally asked, truly curious.
"Uh," I said, "basically I eat, sleep, and work."
It was a stomach-wrenching moment of truth. The lightbulb in my head fairly exploded, and I could vividly recall several conversations over the past month where I couldn't figure out how people could get so caught up in tending to other people that they completely neglected the basic necessities of self care.
I hated this topic because I knew I'd been tending everyone's fires - except my own.
And I know I'm not the only one. So if you're reading this and you can feel the niggle of your own "aha" moment, for the love of God go get a massage. Walk through a park, hug a dog, dance in your livingroom or go have a fancy dinner for absolutely no reason at all. You deserve it, you're worth it, and above all else, you need it.
Tend the flame, my friends.
If you didn't come from there, the blog before mine is:
To continue the hop, please go ahead to:
If the chain has been broken, the list in order can be found at: