Being out of step with the old rhythm of my life…

Being out of step with the old rhythm of my life… it’s a difficult situation to describe.  But it is one filled with hope and gratitude!

My life is good, with so many boxes getting the BIGGOOD check mark:

shutterstock_115027768HEALTH – I am in remission from cancer and I am mostly healthy.  I get more exercise and am physically stronger than anytime in my whole adult life. While I have little bits and crumbs of tummy problems and a lingering cough, compared to this time last year and the three years before it, that is NOTHING… NADA… inconsequential to the MAX!

WORK – In grant-speak, my work is full time, rewarding and fully aligned to my mission: writing grant proposals and developing funding strategies for two child serving organizations that make a positive difference in the lives of our most vulnerable children.  My colleagues are wonderful people whom I am fortunate to learn from every day!

SPOUSE – Ned is working again – and, at an agency he has known, loved and respected since its inception.  The best possible outcome, and one that will last for a long time!

BOOK Yesterday morning I made SIGNIFICANT progress on defining the future of The Can Do Chronicles and some awesome related projects and activities.  Stay tuned… it’s really quite exciting!

Yet, on some levels, the emerging rhythm of my life does not feel right to me. There are days that I am not totally comfortable in my own skin. I am pretty sure that this feeling is caused by the stop-start, uneven life I have lived for the last four years, a timeline that was broken up into three to four month segments, separated by one pretty major life disruption or another, including quitting my “day job” and starting my grant writing business, Ned’s job situations, a major move, my hip replacement and chemotherapy.

images (6)What I realize that I CAN DO now is take the time today and in the days and weeks to come to fully understand what I learned during those stressful months; and, consistently add those lessons learned to the goals I have for the future. When I do – WOW a new symphony begins to emerge! Not quite Mozart… but not bad either.  It is a rhythm different from before – better, stronger and filled with new life.

Several times during chemo, I wrote in this blog about one of my favorite movies from my childhood: With a Song in My Heart. I have a song in my heart – I need to listen to it carefully and share it more often.

Another chapter begins…

I am finally beginning to feel it.  It’s a subtle shift inside.  On the outside not much changes for me, but everything is different.

My husband Ned, whose job was eliminated on November 1, begins a new chapter in his work life on Monday. And I, happily, cease being the sole wage earner in the family.

cover.finalThere were some changes – not so much in “what I did,” but “how I did” – that I deliberately made when we knew that Ned was going to be out of work.  We learned of his job loss two weeks after I published The Can Do Chronicles, and I was just coming to terms with being an author, and seriously thinking and planning and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the whole Can Do “thing.”

I quickly put that planning on hold to pay full attention to my grant writing and development consulting work.  My Can Do decision was to “pull myself in” and keep an intense focus on my work and on my health. I was afraid of getting sick, very afraid as colleagues, friends and neighbors coughed and blew their noses all through the holidays. Because I am a contractor, I only get paid when I am working. Getting sick was just NOT an option!  Neither was allowing the little black cloud of depression to creep back in.  So, when I had breaks from my work, I gave myself permission to relax (well, sort of!) and watch HGTV, movies and TED Talks rather than write blogs and begin making the revisions to the book and calling publishers. (I CAN DO those things now – and I will!)

Last night on my plane ride home from Dallas, I reflected for a bit about how different it feels to be in a position to do what I want to do rather than what I need to do, even when they might be the very same thing.  The journey of last few months felt like I was shutterstock_113245282driving when I was very tired or when it was raining REALLY hard – actually like driving when I was tired and it was raining hard.  Focus is paramount and the amount of effort and attention needed and stress levels increase as each mile passes, with little relief about any progress made. The only question that kept going through my head is the one we all asked incessantly as children, “are we there yet?”

In the coming weeks, I have several major projects due for both of my clients, so my workload will not change.  But my approach to it will.  While it won’t be like a drive in the country on a bright summer day with the top down, I will be more relaxed at the wheel, able to listen to the music, take in some of the scenery, and think about where I am and where I want to go.

McKA final note.  While this “ride” was a tough one for me, it was tougher on Ned.  He was the one who lost his job, the one looking for work and being disappointed when he heard “sorry, not you,” or sometimes heard nothing at all after extensive interviews.  His new job as Director of Development at the Father McKenna Center in downtown DC is a phenomenal opportunity that brings him full circle in many ways, combining his strong fundraising skills with his ministry background in service to those most in need.  Congratulations, dude!

During the 90 days of job search (him) and job intensive (me), our Can Do held together – and held us together.  We took very good care of each other in getting to this new chapter though the miles and miles of rain and fatigue. This journey has shown me once again that Gratitude + Hope are a powerful, strong and enduring combination.

The Can Do Chronicles Continue….stay tuned!