Beauty in Chaos

The unsung beauty hid life’s common things below. ~Whittier

There are days when I hate my alarm clock; days when all I want to do is march across Alarm 1the room and, like a cartoon character, smash it with a hammer, which is conveniently located under my pillow. It’s a ridiculous fantasy. For starters, my hammers are stored in the utility closet; I am much too frugal to smash an alarm clock  I’d just have to replace; and besides, it would be messy, and I don’t want to clean it up. It is still a satisfying fantasy though. You see, I’m in a busy season. Some days, when I am feeling dramatic, I say I’m in a frenzied-season, because, truthfully, that is how it feels.

I  work full-time, forty-plus hours a week. I attend school full-time, and I usually study between thirty and forty hours a week, depending on the assignment load. I have a mother, whom I adore, who has a number of health issues – matters my sister and me balance, and of course the rest of my beloved family. Then there are the numerous other things I try to squeeze into the week: exercise, cooking, cleaning, entertainment, sleep (Oh, I do love sleep). My plate is full, but I am far from unusual. Most American women – most humans – have more on their plates than they truly have time to manage. They are in a busy-season, too. At times, it feels like there will never be balance again; but there will be.

There is a reason why I say I am in a busy-season rather than I am busy. I say “season” to remind myself that this temporary. Hectic work days followed by long, study-filled nights are a stop-gap for me, not a destination. Every day I wake up at five a.m., with the desire to smash my alarm clock burning in my chest, is a day I am closer to the end of this busy season. I claim this. In the meantime, this busy-season is hard stuff. It’s overwhelming, stressful, and exhausting at times, but it is my life. I don’t want to put my head down and just push through it. If I do that, I am going to miss the beauty in this season. So, each day, I do my best to find something beautiful amidst the busyness.

My day starts at five a.m., and I am not going to lie – I wish it didn’t. However, I am Cup of Coffeediscovering unknown benefits from rising at that hour. I live in an apartment building and a major road runs relatively close beside it. Between the road and boisterous neighbors, it is seldom quiet. But it is at five in the morning. The traffic is nonexistent and the neighbors are asleep. Silence fills my home, and I relish it. I probably never would have discovered this soothing early-morning calm,  if I wasn’t in such a busy season.

My workday begins at 7:45 a.m. I am a nanny. I care for two little boys, who are six- and four-years-old. For those of you who have not spent a lot of time with children, this means I spend a lot of time corralling high energy into productive – and hopefully nondestructive – outlets. I also resolve squabbles that revolve around how Boy A touched the toy Boy B was thinking about playing with – not now, but in the near future – and convincing them that new foods are not automatically nasty. It is a wonderful job. I have never had one that I found more fulfilling; but it is hectic and frustrating, at times. There are times when it seems like my two sweet little boys have been replaced by mutant goblins because that is the only thing that could explain their behavior. Days when they cannot be in the same room together without stirring each other into wild fits of passion – and not the good kind. Sometimes, when I am already struggling under the weight of my busy-season, their occasional poor behavior seems harder to bear. But my busy-season has also enhanced my awareness of the innumerable sweeter moments.

This last week, I picked up what the boys call a “Christmas T.V.” from Hobby Lobby. It is a ten-by-twelve-inch’ box that looks like (take a guess) a 1950’s T.V. It has a snow-covered Holiday Villageholiday village inside, replete with a train. When the ON switch is flipped, it plays Christmas songs. Since we got it, each morning before we leave for school (pre-k and kindergarten), the boys ask to listen to the “Christmas T.V.” – not just listen, but listen with me. So we troop into the den, turn on the “Christmas T.V.,” and then, with me in the middle – a small boy snuggled up to each of my sides – we listen. I have always tried to be aware of how precious my time is, with the boys. I know my time in their lives won’t last forever; however, my busy-season has increased my awareness of these sweet moments. I look for them those moments each day, and I find them.

My busy-season is coming to an end, or least this one is – I graduate in the spring. I know this won’t be the last busy-season in my life. The next season will probably be busy, as well, but in a different way. However, as I move into the new season, I will take the lesson I have learned in this one – about looking for and finding beauty in chaos – with me. 

© Julie Wright 2018
Featured Image: Larry Lamb [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D

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Julie is a full-time student currently studying English Writing at the University of Colorado Denver. She has been writing in some format for the bulk of her life, and eventually decided, why not pursue it as a career? She is passionate about people, but women, their inner strength, and their stories have a special hold on her interest. Julie’s fascination with the stories women tell is one of the driving impulses behind Julie’s contributions to this publication. Julie is also passionate about her family, books, cooking, books, nature, and did we mention books?

4 thoughts on “Beauty in Chaos

  1. I love the idea of “busy-season.” This is something that I’ve been trying to incorporate into my life, but didn’t have a cute catch phrase for it, haha! I enjoyed the moral of this piece (“This too, shall pass,” and all that). I also loved how your story starts with the mechanics of your life, but ends on a sweet and holiday (relevant!) note. It was a nice read–one of those “warm and fuzzies.”

    Some notes:

    1. I think all of the pictures (besides the header) being on the right side weighs the piece down. If you’re going to intersperse images, I would alternate sides. I have read other comments (including on our own blogs) that the inter-text images do not appear correctly on mobile, however. So that might be something to keep in mind.

    2. I think some of the semicolons are misused or unnecessary. Here is a good example: “I look for them in each day; and I find them.” I think a comma would suffice. These mechanical issues are secondary, though, and didn’t take away from the overall message of the piece.

    Nice work–hopefully you have a reprieve soon!

    -C.Noble

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  2. Overall, I really liked this blog! “Busy-season” is such a great way to describe all of the months containing holidays and hectic school loads. Like C. Noble said… definitely was a “warm and fuzzy” kind of read. Also, I’ll have to take note of all the precious moments occurring this “busy-season”. I find that too often I only focus on to-do lists and how quickly I can get them done, and frankly I’m miserable. Finding those moments between the lists is definitely a good idea.

    A few suggestions would be:

    – There wasn’t much to say about this blog other than a missed word I found in: “I say “season” to remind myself that this temporary.” Along with the plethora of semi-colons and commas that seemed a little disruptive.

    – Another would be me agreeing with C. Noble on the formatting of the photos. I’d alternate which sides they were on and play around with the format on each device that uses WordPress to make sure they don’t disrupt the text too much.

    Great job!

    – D. Skillings

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  3. Wow, what an inspirational post! The idea of a “busy-season” just made the stress of my day melt away because I was reminded that it is only temporary. I am also a full-time employee as well as an almost full-time student (10 credits). I think you did a great job of incorporating all of the emotions that come up in daily life while having a lot on your plate.

    Overall, I thought your post was great! I do have a couple of suggestions:

    1) In the middle of your post, you write, “…fulfilling; but it is hectic…” I think this sentence would be more meaningful if you swapped out the “but” with a “yet”. It would highlight the drastic difference between the fulfillment you feel from your job and the stress it adds to your plate.

    2) As previously stated, I felt like there were some awkward commas. They were a bit disruptive; I had to go back and reread a few sentences to understand their full meaning with the added pause from the comma.

    Great job with this post! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!

    -K. Moffet

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  4. Julie,
    I liked the way this piece made me feel after I read it. It was enlightening and provided a great reminder to me that everything is just a passage of time–a season, as you called it, and we are only “here” for a time. You give the reader a glimpse of the craziness without the feeling that it ever gets hectic. Great job!
    Also — I love the “look” of your publication and the way that I can navigate it easily. I like the carousel-type navigation tool that you all have included to see what came before and what comes next.

    Here are a couple of suggestions:
    1) I mentioned in a couple of my other edits about the way that pictures look on a mobile device when you move the text blocks so they are beside the pictures. Since I am usually reading on my computer, I didn’t notice that on my articles until someone shared with me. Definitely play with that and preview it so you can find something that you like.

    2) Also, I am too Type A sometimes (probably all the time), but the picture at the beginning of your article is really big, and it is maybe a little too big before the text begins. I like it when the images are relatively the same size. This is totally a personal preference, and I had to read through your article a couple more times to find something else that even caught my eye, so please don’t feel like you have to edit it! 🙂
    Overall, I just really enjoyed reading this! Thank you for sharing with your readers a little bit about who you are in this segment.

    –J. Montague

    Like

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