Sunday, August 28, 2011

So What Do You Say to MIA?

I've gone missing.  Really and truly what-ever-happened-to, you'd-better-return-my-call. bad-PTA-parent MISSING.  Last December I was beginning to embark on a new position in my paying job.  The job involved some travel, some additional education and a bit more time.  I was really was excited to start, and have loved the sense of accomplishment and fulfillment I've gained from the endeavor.

What I didn't realize was that the job would cause me to disappear from my social life, my blogs and even the fun and interesting woman who cuts my hair every six weeks.  I am over scheduled.  My hair is a hot mess.  I am missing in action.  And I am not apologizing for it.

After a job, a house, a husband, four kids, three dogs, a cat, two fish and a frog, I am accepting that I am done, and its OK.  While in my twenties, I tried to be superwoman and made myself (and everyone around me) stressed out and miserable.  All I had to do was to look to Martha Stewart to realize that my options were divorce, jail or a fabulous line of personal crafting supplies.  She chose all three.  I chose to keep trying to have the parties, the exercise classes, the parent meeting and the fully balanced dinners.  Then one day, I grew up.

I realized, I didn't have to do it all.  I wasn't Martha, and in that light-bulb moment, I was relieved.  I suddenly understood that there would be moments where I couldn't take on one more thing.  Moments that I had to just say no, or perhaps not even pick up the phone or sign on to Facebook and say just that.  At those times I began to disappear.

I disappeared from the have-to social obligations.  Oh yeah, I missed a lot of great things too, but I realized that, unlike the song,  sometimes it was too hard to have too much fun.  I didn't sort through the 300+ emails that mysteriously would fill my box in a day and a half.  I gave myself permission to let the dishes sit in the sink, to use baby powder to fluff up my less than pristine hair and to acknowledge that I wasn't a bad parent if I let someone else volunteer for whatever school event was upcoming.  In disappearing, I had the energy to take care of myself, be with my family, focus on my job and be happy being less than perfect.

Disappearing was a good thing.  Being missing in action didn't diminish my tour of duty when it came to being a mother, a wife, a daughter and a friend.  It allowed me to have some perspective and realize that I wasn't all that vital in the scope of the world.  Things proceeded just fine without me.  My real friends understood that I just needed time to reflect and take care of me, my family and my new position.  The Facebook friends survived as others moved forward to fill their status with exciting events and insights.  I learned how large an email box can get without emptying it for 3 months.  A social experiment in living in the new world of instant social media gratification without interacting was invigorating.

So I am back now, somewhat.  I will probably never return to my previous level of connection, but am content with my decision to drop out for a bit and drop back into my life and the lives of those I love so closely and deeply.  I am here, not MIA, but I now will only do that which I can and wish to do.

Martha, take note.  I'm glad I did.

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