Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Edge

I’ve been on edge lately.  This edge came slowly and steadily and then gave me a little mini breakdown, like age does when you look in the mirror after being sick for days and your brain has given you a picture of yourself at your touchstone age to refer to because you’ve been facedown on the bed/couch/toilet for so long and you haven’t seen your reflection and you’ve forgotten what you look like.  Then you brush your teeth and BAM your sick face stares at you from the mirror and you think for goodness sakes who put this witch mask on me?  That person is a total jerk and should be punished severely.

Then you realize that you are at least as old as you look in that mirror on a good day, and this is not a good day.  Age crept up, and one day it slaps you right in the wrinkles, causing your saggy jowls to jiggle in the aftermath.

This is how I feel lately.  Not about my reflection, of course.  I am as healthy as Beyoncé and spend quite a bit of time looking in the mirror, so no surprises there. 

I’m talking about the realization of the edge, and how it kind of just crept up and slapped me.  Right in the part of my brain that says, “Everything’s okay.  Just relax.”

I don’t take to busyness or multitasking well; I was never offered entrance into the exclusive club of Super People, which include subsets of Super Moms and Super Wives and Super Bestie Best Friends.  Too much scheduled action saps my strength and resolve to go on.  I’m more suited to a life lying on a chaise lounge, cool washcloth over my forehead, alternating between mint juleps and valium to calm my nerves.  But because I'm the leader in my little corner of the world, I’m *it* in the game of Who's In Charge? most of the time.

And being *it* makes me a little nuts.

Summer is here, and the kids want to eat ice cream now, swim tomorrow, watch that movie this weekend.  My husband has projects to do, and we have social lives.  Baseball games and practices are attended, and sleepovers arranged.  Dentist and doctor appointments are scheduled and met.  Exercise and vacation and dinner are desired.

These things are not the stuff of a frantic or even troubled life.  But they are always, always there.  Their demands get louder and they clutter up the calendar, each one more important than the others.  It’s like the school year, except we are all wearing bathing suits.

Some days I can keep it together, do tasks and meet expectations with ease and adequacy, and end the day knowing that I accomplished much.  Most days I feel like life is running far ahead and I cannot keep up.  This is the edge, and with it, the fear of chaos.

This is a control issue.  I am only one person, one who preaches to anyone who listens that I do not have to be everything for everybody.  I want to write thank-you cards to everyone who made my life pleasant today, but I won’t.  I want to take my kids to an art class, but I won’t.  I want to finish that project I started months ago, but I won’t.  And it won’t hurt anything not to do these things.  But the edge comes closer, waiting for me to cross it with the overwhelming feeling that life is winning the race, one that I don’t even remember signing up for.

It’s not a sympathetic problem; I am well aware that for every woe that I exaggerate, there is another person next to me who has an exponentially worse one to spin.  I realize that I am just complaining, and for no reason other than my own indulgence.

But I won’t keep up; I can’t.  I can enjoy life; I can forget the edge and all that I think it implies.  Maybe I should just peer over it and see what the big deal is.

It couldn’t be worse than what age has already done.   Stupid witch mask.



  1. A friend of mine just took herself to Europe. Alone. No family and no friends. At first I thought she was insane. Now, I think she is brilliant. She says she returns rejuvenated, invigorated, and ready to take on all you described, bringing you close to the edge, without pills and/or wine. I might have to look into an all day spa instead of Italy. All this to say, "I feel ya, hard working mama."

  2. Alone? In Europe? Your friend is a genius. I think I'd have a hard time coming back. Maybe that's why my kids panic when I leave the room.