December 3 – Moment.
Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)
The first thing I thought of when I read this was a strange moment to choose and I spent some time tonight trying to choose a "better" moment, but I couldn't get it out of my head, so I'm going to go with it.
It was a gloomy, rainy Friday afternoon in February. I left the office early to go to a medical appointment. As I was navigating the freeway, my phone started ringing. Having subscribed to the whole "No talking while driving" thing, I did not answer. Then the AIMs started ringing and a text message from my boss. "Call the conference bridge. NOW." Irritated that I couldn't just have an extra hour off to go to a medical appointment without having to work, I called in.
Within a few minutes, parked in the lot of my doctor's office, I sat, stunned. We were not sure if we would be in business the next month.
I went into the doctor's office. My mind was reeling with what I needed to do, how I was going to talk to my staff. Then, they took my blood pressure. SKY HIGH. Concerned, they asked, "What's going on?" I can't even remember what my BP was but it was terrible. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, I was trembling. I started to cry. I told them I would be fine, and I knew that I would be, but I couldn't stop crying - reaction crying. I kept telling the doctor and nurse that I was fine - I was just sort of in shock.
I ended up having to have an EKG done and got a referral to a specialist. They made it sound like I was going to die right there - they called and got me an appointment for Monday morning. I was in shock - here I was, in this moment where almost the worst possible thing was happening at work and now, a health scare.
I walked out to my car and got in. A sense of calm came over me. I drove back to work to make sure that the folks who were working were okay. I was there for a few hours and then I went home. Over the weekend, it never occurred to me to send food to work or plan a farewell party as I heard some of the other call center managers did. It NEVER, ever struck me that way. I KNEW we would be okay and that the best thing to do was to go business-as-usual.
I guess it took these two moments crashing into each other for me to remember what was really important. My focus changed and I felt a sense of strength and confidence I haven't felt in a long time. It is weird to think that something like this makes you feel alive, but it did. It made me realize that staying that way was THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. More important than work, more important than my fears or perfectionism, more important than anything else and I decided to focus my attention on it. It changed everything for me. I'm not sure if anyone else noticed, but I can still feel it stirring inside me.
The only other moment that came to mind is an entirely different kind of ALIVENESS. The other moment was a moment when I was watching the "25th Anniversary Les Miserables In Concert" at the movies last month. When Jean Valjean sang, "But why did I allow that man to touch my soul and teach me love", I felt this intense love for this show, for Roby, for my life. I can't really explain the joy that this show lifts in me - it is like breathing fresh, clean air or drinking cold, clear water after being parched. My heart swelled in my chest and for the next 2+ hours, I lived in a beautiful, musical place that was so comforting and familiar and yet new again. I loved every minute. It renewed my love of theatre in such an intense way. When I am done interpreting "Hair" at the end of the month, my treat to myself is to start listening to this version on CD.