Just when you begin settling into the feeling of having finally struck a balance, there come days like this!
My parents are visiting, and I have been super-excited in anticipation. You can tell by the scrubbed windows.
Then, suddenly, the cable company pulls the plug- Our TV/ internet/ phone access gone! For two days, my parents are at home in a foreign land, without these basic amenities. I am nauseous with pain.
Misplaced bill (Beyond me why we have only paper bills here). Wait. What? This is not supposed to be happening. I call up my husband- he’s travelling for work. We argue about the bill. We cannot finish the argument because my phone is running out of battery. No charger at home- it’s on the trip with him.
The evening turns out quite nice nonetheless, mainly because my folks are awesome. And because technology is over-rated. “Oh really?” the Technology God somewhere raises his eyebrows.
Next morning my parents are off travelling. I reach work with a clear goal: an important presentation to be submitted by noon to our client group’s leadership team. And the only reasonable thing to happen, does happen. My computer crashes. That’s mighty immature behavior, Technology God!
After hours of tinkering, and just as my deadline has whizzed past, the IT guy gives me a spare laptop for some days.
“What about my data?”
“ I am not authorized to promise that we can save it.”
I nod professionally. I am thinking of the massive amounts of personal data that is not backed up. 8 years’ worth of photos and writings- that was waiting to be categorized and organized.
“If you don’t recover my data,” I say finally, “I will cry”.
He chuckles, then realizes I am not joking. “Oh,” he says, “Ok. I underline the data backup requirement in documentation. See?”
With my hopes hanging on that thin under-line, I walk back to my office. My organs feel melted together, and all I want to do is crawl under my bed, and sleep. And not come out.
I am mildly surprised that I am instead putting one foot in front of the other, and continuing to walk.
Because there are presentations to be made, and clothes to be washed. Oh yes, the clothes (For inexplicable reasons, we have landed the afternoon washing slot). Over the next few hours, I rush back home, wash clothes, gobble down food, finish my presentation to a good shape, rush back to work, attend a 2 hour meeting, meet clients in a different location, go back home, take clothes out of the drier. Just as I am about to execute my crawling under the bed idea, my husband is back home.
I haven’t had a chance to figure out what I’m feeling. Something like, whatever happened to having your shit together by the time you are 28. But mainly, I am oscillating between two recurrent thoughts: These things should happen much more easily. And we should be able to manage these things perfectly.
The first thought, perhaps, is a fallacy. Everything requires conscious effort, time and energy. Why do we want to eat delicious food, but not have to cook it? Perhaps we imbibed a culture where ‘the small stuff’ is not respected- that’s why many think that homemakers don’t ‘work’… physical labour is not valued.. schools focus only on ‘the brain’ but not life skills.. glamour is attached to creating, but not to the mundane task of maintaining. We are not taught to value or engage with the ordinary aspects of life. Which is the most of it.
This mindset perhaps makes doing all these things stressful. That’s why it is so bothersome when things go wrong on these fronts. Because somewhere you don’t think they deserved that much time in the first place.
As for the perfectionism, my husband hit the nail on the head. “It’s good if you are able to do many things. But more important is how you feel while doing them. Growing up is about dealing with things not going as planned, forgiving yourself and others, and knowing that ‘80% there’ is still fine.”
If it’s about being at peace, it’s certainly a good thing. I laughed because I have always known this- it’s why I wanted to ‘grow up’. But concept and practice are two different things. He does the latter.
And that’s how he gets away with taking away my phone charger 🙂