Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A tremendous tolerance for the repetitive

I once read an interview with Don Henley. He was back on the road again--decades after the prime of the Eagles--performing night after night, casino after casino.
When asked how he did it, he said, "You have to have a tremendous tolerance for the repetitive."
I remember reading that (and this was YEARS ago) thinking, "Hey Don, join the club. We ALL have had to develop that same tremendous tolerance for the repetitive. That's life!"
And, let's be honest, he's probably not working quite as many hours and he just MIGHT be making a little more money than the majority of us.
I like Don and wish him the best with his monotony.  And I wish the same for the rest of us...
Me...? Well, I sometimes feel as though the old gray mare just ain't what she used to be. I get tired of the same place, same thing. Not so much my job, but just plain living. Get up, take a shower, go to work. Get off work, go to the market, buy the same 10 things, go home, unload the groceries, do laundry, make dinner...
Sometimes, the monotony is paralyzing.
Am I alone in this?
Don't you ever find yourself in the Target parking lot, list in hand, saying, "Sheesh! I was here two weeks ago buying these same exact things!"?
Do you ever clean the counter in the bathroom and think, "How many times have I cleaned this?!" or "How many more times will I have to...?" ?
There are commitments at work every single day and bills to pay (the same ones come month after month after month...) and the trash has to be taken out and the mail picked up.
What's it all about, Alfie?
When my life changed so drastically in 2005, I was in an immense state of sadness. At one point, midway through the year, I laid on the floor of my tiny apartment with a knife in my hand. With much of that, "what's it all about" swirling in my head, and with only heartbreak (from my viewpoint) all around me, I truly thought about ending it all. When I hear of anyone committing suicide--most recently Robin Williams--I think about this night and, in many ways, I understand why they do it. I have known that hopeless tremendous sadness.
But I also remember why I got up off the floor: I was so hungry! I remember laying there--crying to the point of the carpet being stained with mascara--and listening to my stomach growl. I took a deep breath, got up, scrubbed the carpet...and made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
The need for something to eat--an incredibly repetitive part of each day--saved my life.
It gave me a reason to get up.
And maybe--just maybe--the tremendous repetitiveness of life can be something to be grateful for. A job to report to, an appointment to keep, a load of laundry that needs to be done, a shopping list that needs to be fulfilled...all these things give us a reason--if not the grace!-- to go on.
Don Henley is blessed to have an audience who still wants to hear him sing the songs of his youth. He's actually quite fortunate to have developed the tolerance to play and sing those same songs over and over and over. It gives great joy to those in the audience. And gives him a reason to go on.
I don't know why Robin Williams didn't get to that point.
But I am OH so grateful that I did.
Life post-2005 has been MORE enjoyable than I ever hoped or dreamed it could be. I've bought and created a home. I've seen Paris and Rome and Vienna and been to Africa and New York City! I've been to THIRTEEN baseball stadiums! I've thrown lovely parties, planned reunions, gone on road trips with girl friends, hosted Holiday gatherings for my family, taken Elijah to Disneyland.
I have fallen in love!
And in between...
I have gotten up, taken a shower and gone to work. Gone to the market, vacuumed the house, unloaded the dishwasher, taken out the trash and made myself something to eat.
More than 3,600 times.
Like Mr. Henley, I have developed a tremendous tolerance--and maybe even a fondness at this point--for the repetitive.
And I am grateful.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Inspiration at its finest