Wednesday, December 29, 2010


what's the first thing you do when your computer starts to act strange?  you reboot it.  you shut off the power source and watch the screen go dark with fingers crossed.  maybe you count to 39 or sing the alphabet or light candles while chanting to infamous deities.  then you turn the juice back on.  you watch and wait, breath held, and <sigh> all is right with the world.  the glitch is gone, the memory is intact, you can get back on facebook now.

this strategy has worked well for several electrical things in my life.  there was the boom box that i was given when i turned 18 that suddenly became very finicky about playing CDs- a relatively new method of music merriment at the time- only to accept and play them again after about 5 months in a closet.  it was like a retreat of sorts, maybe. 

then there's the vent in the bathroom- which you may have read all about in another posting- that suddenly stopped one day.  i pushed the switch on and off with renewed hope each time to no avail.  and then the power company turned off our power for 20 minutes to work on the lines outside and -presto!- the fan worked again.  maybe the electrical current got lost somewhere in the attic.  i don't understand why this works but it does.

now the stove has begun to flash F-5 at me while beeping as i prepared hot meals.  you may have also already read about my stove-fixing adventures.  when i mentioned the F-5 code at a dinner party recently someone said "oh that happened to my parents.  they unplugged it and it seemed to work fine after that."  so that's what i did.

that got me thinking about this need so many things seem to have to be cut off, powered down, rebooted, reset, decompressed.  including me.  the thing is that as i have grown up and reproduced children i have forgotten my own codes and signals.  i don't have a screen on my forehead that flashes any letters or numbers or any beeping...i don't even stop doing my essential tasks!...but it slowly becomes obvious that i am barely operational.

with my kids- it is very obvious and easy to reset: nap time.  sometimes it might be food.  or perhaps the need for a good belly laugh.  these things probably would help me to reset too.  the trouble is that i don't have anyone who says to me: nancylee, you need a nap now.  i might say this to myself but then the louder part of my brain either recites a list of things to do or a list of nice distractions.

maybe it's because as a kid people always told me what i needed.  and i went along with it.  at first i didn't.  i remember being somewhat "crabby" as they called me.  and then- well, i guess i gave up.  gave up on myself.  as a kid you realize your limited power in the world.  besides whining- what can we do?

now when one of my kid starts to show signs of needing a reset- i try to get them to come up with the answer.  i give them prompts like "what do you think will help you to feel better?"  or "did you drink enough water today?"

and other times i pull rank and state clearly "it is time to nap."  more often than not this is met with a big grin fro my 2 year old.  he loves nap time.

for me- in order to reset- i have to shut down through complete body exhaustion.  i have to wear down my mind until it has no choice but to surrender to my body's whims.  like when i was in labor.  eventually my mind realized i could not think myself out of the pain and just floated away so my body could take over.  but labor as a reset option is complicated, to say the least.

i think for me, and maybe for many other folks, we have to have some kind of resetting in our routines because we don't recognize the signs as we live our daily life.  we can hold off on the tantrum when we see the property tax bill if we know that some day soon we are going to yoga or to church or fish or to a bar.

pick your poison.  we usually do.  it's true that as adults we seem to gravitate towards the reset buttons that aren't so good for us.  or at least, i sometimes do this.  perhaps this is a sign of waiting too long to reset.  the weekly walk on the beach works nicely but it you go for months without it maybe it then turns into a bottle of gin.

the new year is when we reset the calendars and taxes and our resolve to live better, different, more fully.  to me- i simply need to have a reset routine that i can stick to.

with a tantrum clause if need be.

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