The analogy of spinning wheels has been on my mind a lot lately. Last Sunday night, the night before work and school was set to begin again, the picture of the spinning wheel was vivid in my mind. I was envisioning it like a giant hamster wheel, already in motion. My job was to find the right moment to jump back on. The thing was, I didn't feel ready or capable to jump on again. It brought back thoughts of being a little girl and "jumping in" when two other people are turning a long skipping rope for you. You need to feel it. Otherwise your feet just get all twisted up in the rope and the game comes to an end.
The spinning wheel that's part of my life that fills me with fear consists of the everyday parts of living life with 3 busy girls. School, band, piano, violin, (which reminds me, I have to stop and buy a new set of strings for Ellie's violin today), basketball, dance, friends, birthday parties, homework, science fair, library due dates, my master's program, assignments, readings, meetings, subbing, volunteering at school, grocery shopping, meal-making, cleaning, friends, and more. This isn't different from most of your lives. In fact, most of your wheels likely have more spokes and are more full. "Full" is a relative concept, I think. One person's capacity for life can be vastly different from the next. From where I sit, my wheel is pretty much full.
The "spinning" analogy doesn't stop there. It revs up into full force when I lay my head on the pillow at night. Only it's not a wheel then. It's a soundtrack that loops over and over again in a circular motion. Last night my soundtrack loop sounded like this:
"don't forget jazz cafe on Thursday. Hannah needs new black pants. Her pants are too short, remember? Where am I going to find black pants that she'll like that will be long enough? OK, don't forget. Black pants. Dessert. I have to bring a dessert to school for the cafe on Thursday morning. What am I going to make? I hope I don't get called to sub on Wednesday. IF I do, how will I have time to get what I need and make a fancy dessert for Thursday morning? Piano. Sasha has piano tomorrow. We didn't set her books out tonight. What if I forget? I can't forget. Sasha would be so sad. My reading has to get done tomorrow for Tuesday's class. I need to email my prof about missing class in February. What if she's miffed? What's my plan to make it up? How will I cover what I miss from her lectures? Car rental. We need to book ours for our trip. I hope I remember to tell Mike that we need to get on this. Should I go to the Y in the morning? Will I have time? What if I get a call to sub tomorrow morning? Can I swing it? I should have showered tonight just in case....."
And on and on it goes.
Miraculously I fall asleep each night with the steady hum of my loop playing at a solid volume in my mind. And for awhile - for the night - it stops, and my mind can rest. It begins again the next morning, whether I choose to press "play" or not. That's the kind of loop it is.
The thing about these spinning wheels is that they wait for no one. You aren't consulted about how you feel about the speed or the timing. I've imagined in my head how wonderful it would be to be able to press a giant "pause" button when I need to. Pause life. Pause people. Pause schedules. Pause the noise in my head. I see myself walking slowly to each of the areas that spin and checking them. How is band going? Is she keeping up with practicing? Talk to the band teacher. Get a feel for things. When I've satisfied myself at that spoke, I could move on to the science fair spoke and check and double check that she's on track and feels comfortable and confident in her decisions and plans. Smooth out the wrinkles of emotion, put some pieces back into place, and then move on to the next one. Once I'm satisfied that all the areas of life are in a good space, I could press "start" and the wheel could begin spinning again.
A fantasy. That's what a "pause" button is. These wheels don't stop. I can't either. If I don't get on, they'll spin away from me and I might not be fast or agile enough to get back on.
And so I jump on.
Ready or not, (mostly not), here I come.