Sometimes, it seems as though my whole life is one big old marathon, as if absolutely everything about it comes down to enduring.
Sometimes, it is kind of irritating.
Sometimes, I find myself wondering why something can’t just once arrive in the form of instant gratification.
Why (I ask myself peevishly at such times) does everything have to require a blend of patience, hard work, perseverance, more patience, more hard work, and maybe just another heapin’ helpin’ of freakin’ patience?!
The thing that makes this question particularly irritating is that frequently, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Take today for perfect example.
I’m working from home today. And it is hot. Hot, hot, hot.
It’s a hair over 100 degrees outside today. Inside, well, that depends on where you are. This house has some of the worst air circulation imaginable; the temperature variances can be…crazy.
Downstairs hallway: 78 degrees.
Kitchen: 90 degrees.
Kids’ bathroom: 72 degrees.
Master bathroom: 95 degrees (!!)
Master bedroom a.k.a. my office: 90 degrees.
I guess when it comes to temperature I’m more like lettuce than tomatoes because I’m dying. Seriously. Dy-ING. I am sweating. I am barefoot, in shorts, sucking down lemonade by the gallon, ceiling fan whirring, floor fan buzzing (but I have to turn it off whenever I get on the phone because WHAT?! I CAN’T HEAR YOU, MY FAN IS ON!!!!!) (so naturally, today is “hey, let’s call Tama and ask about that! At great length!” day)
And here’s the corker: I’m stuck in this sweat box because I am a prisoner to network connectivity. This Satan’s Waiting Room is where the speed is, people. Sure, I could unplug, waddle off to one of the cooler spaces, and switch to my wireless card…and every query would then take twenty minutes to return and my email would be all “wait for it…waaaaaait for iiiiiiiiit…” and we shall not even begin to discuss how long it would take to upload a single Excel spreadsheet.
I can feel my hair turning gray just thinking about it.
Oh, do I have an air conditioner? Why yes, yes I do. Did we have the old funky one replaced a couple years ago during the Great Remodeling Adventure with the uber-efficient model of great air movement? Why yes! Yes we did!
So why am I sitting here sweating my arse off (alas, not literally)?
Because! I have a budget, and it requires my PG&E bill to stay under $275 – which requires that I not crank up my air conditioner just because I am (pffft!) a little hot. I would have to set the air conditioner to something like 70 to get this room cooled off to 80-something…which would still feel “too hot” and would also mean that it would just run-run-run-run-run.
Cha-ching-cha-ching-cha-ching. For PG&E, it’s like hitting the jackpot. You can stand there and watch the electric meter spinning, and actually feel all your month being sucked out of your checking account.
This is one of those moments where I find myself feeling pissy about the ‘endurance’ thing.
I’m putting up with the heat because I have a very clear budget. I have the budget because I have goals – and at this stage in my life, they’re ridiculously large. Grandiose, even. The kinds of goals that my younger self would have just stared at with her mouth hanging open before saying, “Yeaaaaaaaah, right. So, uh, good luck with that and if you need me, I’ll be over here chasing something shiny and by the way attainable…”
Sometimes, I really rue the day I realized that every action I take causes a ripple, that every choice I make has a consequence.
And that each “small” choice is only small in a vacuum – out in the so-called real world that is my overall life, they add up fast.
In aggregate, all those “just this once” and “only a little” and “I deserve it” choices become dream-deniers.
Used to be I could not see the connection between what I was doing now and that whole not having the rent a week or two later.
Now, I can’t not see it. Before my hand can even leave my side, I’m already thinking about our dreams…no more debts to pay, the ability to shift slowly into a less frantic working situation, stepping gradually into a working retirement as the kids start going off to college and from there into their own lives…making less but loving what we do more…
And I can’t do it. I can’t choose being cooler over all that.
So, I don’t do it. I leave the thermostat alone, and I go back to my office, and I drink more lemonade and try not to cuss when my phone rings and I have to snap off my floor fan.
I can endure temporary discomfort in exchange for getting those other things that much sooner.
…don’t promise I won’t kvetch about it, though…