Huh, funny how that phrase gives me flashbacks to calculus class. And in some ways what I’m thinking about today is similar to that level of math. As you approach zero, without quite ever reaching zero… That’s where the limits are. When you can’t go any lower without your heart stopping, that’s where the limits are.
I’ve been finding my limits, the last six months or so, and I’m not happy about it. I’ve hit what I can physically manage, and it’s less than I want to do. Some things are simply not getting done, and the puzzle now is how to cut back what I want, to fit inside my limits. Some things are givens. I can’t stop taking care of work, family, housework… I have to be careful about the family stuff, because everyone is independent enough I don’t have to pay attention every second, unlike life with toddlers or infants. But teens still need attention, perhaps now in a more complex way than the simple needs of the smalls. They need cogent conversations and lessons in adulting, and rational arguments for how to live and thrive when they are fully on their own. Which does not mean that I can just retreat, only emerging to feed them or clean up after them. I need to be available for those conversations. And my dear husband will selflessly let me do my own thing, but if we don’t make time for the two of us to engage in bonding activities (and not just that, although it’s a vital part of any marriage) then we wind up in choppy waters.
Which means that I have to check my flights of fancy, lest I pull an Icarus and find my feathers falling off through sheer attrition of my physical and mental strength. As much as I want to write, and have a half-dozen books rattling around in my head needing extraction, I’m not sure it’s practical just now. We are entering that season of life where we will both be launching the children into the stormy waters of life, and helping parents come into the calm waters of a safe harbor until they are finally at their resting places. Which will hopefully be a long process. Still, it’s the cycle of life and familial connections, both a joy and a job.
Speaking of job, that is vital too. Someone has to pay the bills! And that means not working myself with extra bits until I get sick. I’m about to transition into the primary breadwinner of the household, which is a heavy burden on one’s shoulders. Borne with joy and fulfillment, but also a grave sense of the responsibility I am taking up. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about this task, and that’s a post for a ‘nother morning. I haven’t got the time this morning. But it makes me appreciate my Dad, who did his best for us, so Mom could be home teaching us and feeding us and taking care of the goats and gardens and such. And very much appreciate my First Reader, who stepped up to the plate when the family increased exponentially a few years back, and who I can now tell him he can retire from the field, or at least step back from the point position. I like this. My limits may be better defined as I have pushed myself to the edges of my capacity, but what I have discovered is that they are greater than I knew.