This weekend in the midst of a great cloud of inner turmoil, existential angst and unanswerable questions, I wondered who I could call to tell me what to do next, where to go, what to say and how to proceed from this moment forward. And then it hit me that despite my vast Rolodex of Human Resources, at the end of the day there is only one person who knows me intimately enough to make the final call. Me.
I have not only a husband but both of my parents and their spouses. I have not only amazing friends but friends who are therapists, yoga teachers, teacher-teachers, clergy; people who are actually trained to help people and to tell them what to do. I have a whole posse of brilliant silver-haired women I can call upon for their wisdom and experience. I have a sponsor and a therapist! And these people have saved my life again and again. They have taught me what to do when I need to call upon myself.
So this Sunday, in the midst of my inner storm I took myself out for a walk in the sun and a $50 small cup of praline macchiato. I listened to my own complaints and then made a gratitude list. I talked to myself in a reasonable voice and said some nice things. At 40 I am learning, on occasion, how to be my own grownup, to take care of myself, to bear witness to me. To not cross myself off the list of emergency contacts for my own inner crisis altogether.
Yesterday afternoon when I picked my son up from his after-school music class I told him I needed to head home to call our accountant to discuss health insurance. "Tell me the truth, mom," said my son. "Does life just keep get worse after 5th grade?" I laughed. "Yes and no," I said. "The thing is you keep getting stronger on the inside but you can always ask for help from the outside and so you are able to handle whatever comes your way. But it can still be hard..."
" I didn't want a long answer," he said. "Can you turn the music back on?"
"Sure," I said and flipped to Bon Jovi, his favorite, but I was glad I'd answered the question for me.