Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Dozen

The Chinese calendar divides their version of the zodiac by year, rather than by the dates in a year, as the traditional zodiac calendar does.

There are still twelve signs, but they are one per year, not twelve in one year.

I'm feeling, right now, like I'm reaching the end of a twelve-year cycle in my adult life. It seems somehow impossible that I have even been an adult, a fully-functional, self-sufficient adult, for slightly more than that time. But maybe, I became an adult twelve years ago, and have been a participant in this journey of my zodiac 'year' sign for all this time.

I'm an Ox according to the Chinese calendar. And in the traditional zodiac, I'm a Virgo, an August Virgo, missing fiery Leo by one day. I guess I am a fiery Virgo. Passionate, if you will. Committed. (commitable?) Stable. Fearful of change, of feeling out-of-balance, of feeling out-of-control. This is combined with the recent, developing knowledge that I've gleaned--really, we can't fear being out-of-control. Because we control nothing, really, in this life. We don't control fate coming our way, we don't control when or how death will visit us in this life, in its' various disguises, it's surprising way of simply arriving and blanketing everything we touch with a feeling of unreality. We don't really control our day-to-day life, the small things in it. Car accidents happen, bus drivers are rude and impatient, and you might trip and fall in the street, in front of people, picking yourself up, painfully embarassed, but still just a human being, a human doing--doing the best she can.

The twelve-year summation also relates to work. I've been at the same (quite stressful) job for twelve years. It's a roller-coaster ride, just like life, of some triumphs, some failures (blown up in my mind to far more drama than they really encapsulate), and most of all, as with many jobs, some people who make it all worthwhile, and others who make the journey as torturous and painful as possible. I have coworkers who, over the last few weeks, knowing how stressed everyone is, and how busy we all are, have really pulled together and tried to help, and for that I feel blessed at their dedication, and I feel my own dedication to be more valuable as I witness their struggles, too, dealing with the day to day work we all have to get done, most often under unbearable deadlines. I have clients who are human, whose opinions I value, and who I even consider friends.
And on the sad flip-side of this, I also have clients who make me want to free-fall off a bridge and land in a world where people like them do not exist.
My friend L. says it best--you never know WHAT battles people are fighting when they show you that side of themselves that is better left unseen. And I run this phrase through my head on the difficult days, and there have been ALOT of them lately. Far too many than I care for.

Which is why, here on sacred Sunday morning, I'm pouring these feelings out about work, about career, about stress, about an industry that doesn't allow the achievement of far-off objectives. It's about the here, the now, the opening day, the perfect house, the perfect condominium, the perfect IT. And life's not perfect, and neither are people. It's alot to take, and it's taking up alot right now.
What to do? I guess mining my creative talents to solve problems is one thing. Pre-emptive measures are another.
Coming back to my Virgo-Ox original train of thought, both my signs point to a long life of work-based, work-driven, life satisfaction. It's not really a choice--it's known throughout both zodiacs tht the traits of the Ox (solid, predictable, strong, pulling their weight) and the Virgo (perfectionist, driven, competitive, advisory, intuitive) marry up to form one hell of a work ethic.

I would just like a little break, a short pause of the ever-turning carousel, and seeing the same scenery going by me, round and round, dizzying in its repetition, yet uncontrollable in its sameness.

Today I want to stop the ride and get off.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Thinking About Memoir
That is the title of the book I just finished reading, lent to me by my sister, who purchased it on a whim at the bookstore a couple of weeks ago.
I realized, as I started into the reading of this slim volume, that this writer was a frequent contributor to the Oprah magazine, and had written, sometime around January 2001 or 2002, I'm still not clear on the dates, one of the best articles about life I have ever read. I've even referenced it here on this blog, author unknown, unrealized, talking about this particular phrase, 'the longing for's what makes us human'. That was Abigail Thomas, writer of this particular piece and author of this particular book.
I'm not going to go on and on about it; it's something that has to be experienced, digested, understood. Then, and only then, as a human being on this revolving door planet, will you be able to get through the book (in my case with numerous page pauses and closing the book on your thumb while you ponder what you have just read, and how brilliant this under-appreciated writer really is); but I leave you with this: the closing of the book, written, as far as I can tell, by all intents and purposes, by the publisher. It's a lovely little string of words, and I leave them for you now, as I get ready to go to bed and hopefully dream about a world where all these things exist. I quote the back chapter of the book:
A Note About the Series
Thinking About Memoir is the first volume in an ongoing series on the arts of living that AARP books will publish over the next few years. The series is intended to provoke thinking about some of the personal and public disciplines that have fallen into disuse in our recent history; such virtues as civility, conversation, listening, courage, loyalty, remembering, patience, and love.

I think for me, this pretty well sums it all up.