I was away for a couple of days this week attending a conference for work. It was a great conference only made greater by the fact that I got to visit one of my favourite places in Ontario, got to spend time with some of my most favourite gal pals, and got to reconnect with some great colleagues that I have missed working with. The conference brought back to me the certainty that I am in the right profession, doing what I truly enjoy doing, and made me feel like a thinking professional. It was a nice change from the regular and daily schedule of my job.
(image courtesy of goodenoughmother.com)
I truly enjoyed the time away, even though I did miss my family. But I do have to say that coming back was a bit of a reality jolt.
You see, for those full 48 hours I only had myself to look after. I had myself to feed, to dress, to keep clean, and to clean up after (but in all fairness I didn’t even do that as we were staying in a hotel). I only needed to discuss and agree with others about where and what time we would go out for dinner, and perhaps maybe a few more important things like if the Dollar King sells underwear, what a Foam Party is, and if we are too old to partake in one.
Stepping back through the doorway at home felt surreal. My kids clambered through the house still glad to be home after happily spending the time I was away at my parents’. The house was pretty much as I had left it, which had been fairly clean, but I was suddenly overwhelmed at all the things that I now had to do again. The floors needed to be vacuumed, the laundry needed to be done, lunches were waiting to be at least considered for the next day, and bags needed to be unpacked.
I thought briefly about the simplicity of that hotel room. Oh sure the room had its ups and downs and I remembered the point when my roommate unintentionally looked up in the bathroom only to find something unidentifiable on the ceiling (not put there by her). But, despite that, the room was simple and easy to live in. I had two bags and a fabulous purse and everything I needed for my current lifestyle was in there. It was blissfully simple. Here, at home, I had two floors and a basement of a house to look after, filled with many things that weren’t always necessary for life.
As I blundered through putting away things and tidied up as best I could, I remembered the planning I needed to do for work, the Math course which sat drifting in cyberspace waiting for me to virtually pick back up where I left off, and the writing I should be editing to make good on my promise to whole heartedly search for an agent.
My mood was curt and short, in fact, I was now angry. I had gone from being carefree, fun-loving, and laughing to feeling “burdened” by the constant demands of my real life.
Yep. Sometimes reality can give you a real kick in the ass, can’t it?
The next day I awoke to the alarm clock, insanely early it seemed, and started my day off on the right foot, or so I thought. I tackled the Math course as I gulped my coffee, I threw on my running shoes and went out for a jog, and I even put together a platter for the pot-luck lunch at work. That was when I realized – I needed to be at work early for a staff photo. Bedlam broke loose until I realized that there was no way that I was going to make it on time, so I gave up on fighting through the chaos and on making the photo. The reality was that I couldn’t do it with a 20 minute commute ahead of me and only 15 minutes to get there.
Further realities hit as I stumbled through the day at work, feeling like it was Monday instead of Wednesday and trying to tie up loose ends from being out of my little “world” for the past two days. Everything was going along busily but fairly well until I decided to tackle the Math course again on my prep. Suddenly I remembered what it had been like in university when I had been required to read articles which seemed like they were written in another language.
The reality of the complexity of the Math course was now kicking my ass too.
I managed to finish the day, headed home, and then ventured back out again for a meeting. Reality wasn’t finished with me yet, either. The pressures of volunteer work and my sensitivities with appreciation and criticism took root and by the end of the night all I could do was tearfully crash into bed, glad the day was over.
I’ve had my ass kicked before by professors, boot camp instructors, and even critical readers, but the most thorough and effective kicks I have ever received have been from reality itself. Reality, in its truest form, will always bring you crashing down to the level that you’re ‘supposed’ to be at. When I get too ‘high and mighty’ reality will be there to knock me off my pedestal. When I get to thinking that I’m pretty smart and too confident, reality will remind me that I’m not smart enough yet. When I begin to think that things should go the way I want them to, then reality will be there to prove to me that I’m not always doing the best job that I can. Reality reminds me that I can do and try my best, but it will be God who will do the rest.
I’m glad to be home and back to reality. I enjoyed my time away, however brief it was. It is good to go away, but it is also good to come back even when it’s a reality check of sorts. I will recover from the ass kicking that reality has dealt me, at least until I am subjected to another. That’s the great thing about reality. It’s always waiting for us to wake up to it once again, boots on, and ready to kick.