I just scrolled through my Notes in my iPhone to remind myself what I meant to write about, other than the obvious. (I am saving one topic for later when I have more time.)
The Obvious: My New Job. I work twelve hours shifts from 11 AM to 11 PM on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Every other Wednesday, we work a “half-day” from 3 PM to 11 PM. I have baby-stepped my way from shadowing another dispatcher to actually answering telephone calls–non-emergency ones–and typing up emergency calls while my trainer speaks to the caller. I think I might be actually answering emergency calls tomorrow.
It’s all terribly exciting and occasionally dull and often–more often than you’d imagine–shake-your-head funny and gut-wrenchingly sad. I’m almost two months into this thing and I can’t even describe how much there is to learn. Police and firefighters communicate almost entirely in code, it seems, and it’s like learning a language you didn’t know you couldn’t speak.
I’ve just had four days off and I spent the first day at church and then puttering around my house, cleaning and doing laundry. (I can’t really remember.) The second day I spent with a friend who is in town (from her home in Thailand) and then with my mother at a car dealership, lending her moral support while she bought a new car. (Her former car died in a smoky incident involving a broken timing belt and overheated engine.)
Tuesday–yesterday–I ran errands, including picking up a pair of trifocals which I absolutely hate so far, and tried to finish up laundry and household chores which I will then completely neglect until next Sunday.
Today I drove my daughter and three friends to the fair, then got stuck in horrible fair traffic coming home to match socks and fold sheets and cook dinner. I spent at least three hours in the car which is kind of a bummer.
We have a mama mourning dove in a nest outside our front door. She’s tending to her second little family and this afternoon, one of her fuzzy babies fell from the nest–three times–and died. (My sons tucked that little baby back into the nest twice but it kept falling out.) We are all heartbroken because we have grown fond of this dove family.
Last week, I encountered an old woman on the trail I hike every morning. She asked me how to go around the lake and I told her and then ended up walking her back around to where she started. She told me she was 84 and usually walks a different path. She was spry and lively and smart and told me she lives alone and loves it.
I wondered for a moment how you deal with the idea that in fifteen years–maybe less, but not more, most likely–you’ll be dead.
I didn’t ask her that. Can you imagine? I’m not a complete savage.
But I did think about it after our chat as we walked the dusty path. And I thought that maybe the secret to happiness–get ready for this mind-blowing revelation–is to simply live in the moment you have . . . no matter your age. Just today. Just right now. Just here.
I’ve been feeling ancient lately, myself, because the dispatchers at my new job basically retire when they turn 50. There are one or two long-time dispatchers who have been there for decades who are (barely) older than me and on the brink of retirement.
And then there’s me. Brand new and 53. For the first time in my life, I’m keeping my age mum at work because I don’t want them to judge me and wonder why in the world I’m starting a career at my advanced age. (This is, I’m sure, all just in my head.)
But meeting that 84-year old woman hiking the trail reminded me that I’m not old yet and that the important thing is to keeping moving.
(And I will not be capsized. I wrote that in my Notes awhile back as a declaration and a reminder from me to me.)