A million little pieces.
Sometimes I have to remind myself about the wall I hit.
Sometimes, especially this time of year when taxes are due and two of my three children have birthdays and my work, such as it is, is growing saturated with politics and intrigue, I have to remember my limits. I can’t think about much more than one thing at a time. Not anymore.
After 30-plus years hard running. After a hard won career that brought success and the requisite excesses that tag along for those rides. Soon after 9/11, which I saw with my own eyes and not on TV. After the medication, primarily self-prescribed, stopped working…
So did I.
In hindsight it was remarkable, at the time it was inevitable, even dull. One day I just surrendered. One spring morning, leaving for the daily commute from that exclusive hamlet in Connecticut to the office I ran in Manhattan, the sun glinted off a tree in my yard. It was a warm saturation of light; a welcoming and reassuring glow like the halos of saints in Renaissance murals.
I looked at this for several minutes until it faded, just slightly, then turned around and went back into the house. Told my then-wife I couldn’t deal anymore. Another day another hangover, sure, but this day was different. This was the day I was done.
The next three months were spent in a pleasant place, a place where the rich and famous have their wounds licked by an attentive staff (fellow inmates at the time included The Piano Man and Kurt’s Wife). And, as aware as I was of the black comedy unfolding around me the mere privilege of “getting off the street for a while” helped immensely.
It was the vacation I couldn’t refuse.
But the pieces never fully reassembled.
I live a quieter life now. I demand less of myself because less is, honestly, what I’m capable of. But when this form has to be mailed by that date and this other has to be sent exactly two days after and I have an appointment with this one on Monday and that one on Thursday and I’ve got to pick this up and drop that off…it all starts coming back.
The word, or phrase, or term “multitasking” reliably slashes a dark grin across my face.
Keep spinning those plates, kids.
Because when (not if) one falls, the rest follow. And oh how they shatter.
And not all the king’s horses nor all the king’s men…
…can put those million, little pieces together again.
Artwork by http://www.gregoireameyer.london/