Me in a light pool in the dark with a Jack Russell on my feet, the breathing of children who have sneakily fallen asleep on the guest bed, and many months of QuickBooks bank statement reconciliation under my belt. Wrapped around one and a half bottles of beer and half of a chocolate orange I had stashed for Dusan for non-Easter months, and I start to feel unrepentant and out of hand but remember that PMS lends to a magnified sense of my own sins. It tends to be a time of atonement, of apologies for bitchiness unrecognized by others as such, for puzzled looks and me stomping off reassuring myself that I can be bad-ass if it’s really warranted. The QuickBooks is perfect — steady, focused detail work that makes me bark at it too, but which kind of deserves it, doesn’t require emotional reconciliation afterward, and steadies me out through sheer mass. And it reminds me why I liked political economics: you learn things about people’s lives when you know the numbers around them. I am tutored about this our life, what we care about, what we need, what’s worth spending money on, which costs were under my radar that we may want to reevaluate based on what is now important. Reconciliation.
I’m reminded of a game I need to play again. More than ten years ago I made a list — based on the Buddhist principle that life is suffering — of 20 problems that I would like to have in my life. The idea is that you will always have problems in your life, so why not make them the ones you want to have, the ones you have when you have a slightly chaotic, ravishing and hilarious life? It works best if you are quite detailed, the kinds of items that tell you a lot about one. It doesn’t count to say things like, “I have too much money,” or “I’m too famous.” It should be things like, “My sheep got out last night again and ate a new path right through the sunflower folly and ended up baaing under my open window at five in the morning as the sun rose over the mountains.” That might have been one of mine from before. I need to find that list, too.
I think I made this list with the vague idea of using it as a conscious guide, something to work toward. It’s a sneaky and powerful thing, this list, though, so be aware, (before you stash it away in copious files and it does its dangerous work years later). I wrote my list long ago. I haven’t seen it for years. I remember it a bit, but I don’t think you even have to remember it for stuff to happen. I have a rangy and lippy European who brings me sweet hot coffee outside and makes me crazy sometimes. I slept a lot when I was pregnant, twice. And on Friday four pregnant Icelandic ewes of many colors are arriving home to settle in down by the chicken coop that nestles under the mountains.
I’m sure I didn’t mention taxes in that earlier list. But in the spirit of starting anew, “My small business accounting takes place at the full moon, involves swearing and bleeding and livestock feed bills, fresh flowers, stolen chocolate, beer, and a Jack Russell. No apologizing.”
Make your list, and reconcile to it. I apparently in my folly will be planting sunflowers.
And tell me about it.