It’s a stressful day.
I’ve tried to deny it, but I can’t. I’ve tried to say that enough time has gone by, that finances demand it, that peace of mind is coming, that the overall stress level will go down soon, all of which are true in their own way. I’ve tried to convince myself that moving on from the physical backdrop for roughly one third of my life will be easy, that it’s expected even, and that it will lead to other positive and enjoyable things. All true, too.
It’s still a stressful day.
I’ve buffered it with cognitive effort in meetings. I’ve taken half a day off. I’ve come to one of my favorite coffee shops and talked travel with my friend the owner, then had some goodies and excellent coffee. I’m writing this post. All of these things will usually help when I’m feeling upset or down or stressed.
It would be helpful if I had a ready doppelgänger to jump in right about now. To take the reins and guide us the rest of the way in. A ghostly counterpart of me, a double, an alter ego. He could even wear dorky glasses and jump into phone booths ( if we still had those) and change into costume before helping me make sense of the changes I’m going through. I wouldn’t mind.
Unfortunately, I look around this coffee shop and see only students, middle aged ladies chatting each other up, and busy employees roasting and pouring good coffee. My body double is not here. I have no highly trained stunt man. I have no understudy. I have to play this part to the end, say the lines myself, and take my own curtain call.
Lord knows I’ve had worse days. Haven’t we all? Days I can’t even remember, so bad and so painful that the memories of them have been stored away in the deepest recesses of my brain, filed and kept, most likely never to be accessed again. This is different. This is everyday pain. This is generic angst, something that humanity takes in stride and moves past collectively, but not without damage to the individuals in its ranks.
I know what to do. I know what has always worked, and it will work today.
I will show up.
I will listen, process, ask questions as needed, and make sure I understand what I need to understand.
I will sign here and here and here and here and here.
I will see the process to the end, because it has gone too far not to.
I will walk away a little lighter in obligations, but a bit heavier at heart.
I might turn back one last time, hoping to catch a glimpse of myself where I used to be, just for old times’ sake.
And there I will be, a ghostly me, smiling faintly, waving as I turn and walk away into a bright, warm, sunny almost-October afternoon.