Our plane touched down in San Jose last night. It is my practice to only fly if heavily inebriated, so my recollection is a tad foggy, but I'm pretty sure I sacrificed a fatted calf, did 500 Hail Mary's, and vowed a life of chastity to the divine powers that be. We had landed. We were still alive. Somehow, the near-death experience of flying in the belly of a large clumsy metal beast (which, I have under good authority, is the work of VOODOO), made the whole foreboding 'end of vacation' thing a little less tragic.
It always happens. Vacations end. I'm aware of it from the very start. It looms over me, getting heavier as the days, hours... moments, of vacation slip away. I dread it. Inevitably it takes three quarters of the vacation to adjust to the new agenda of having fun. Then, just as I've found my groove, it's done. Time to go home. Back to the stuff; the busy, stressful, messy stuff that made the vacation necessary in the first place. I start making deals with father time, "if you just give me one more week, I'll be ready to go.... I promise."
After years of being me, and working with myself, I've learned that I have a process. And, when working on a design project, or writing a paper, I've learned to trust that process. I'm confident that if I just see it through, the end result will be inspiring.
As a designer, it can be very frustrating to have a delay half way through a project installation because it leaves the client hanging with only a piece of the final result. This can make them anxious and cause them to second guess the decisions made. And, when I'm up there on the ledge with them, I frequently find myself saying, "trust the process; allow the details to fill in before you panic; if you don't love it, we'll fix it." They always love it.
I have the same pep talks with myself when I'm writing. Staring at the mess of words on the screen (or worse, no words at all), doubt and creative paralysis set in. I close my eyes, breath deep and slow, calm the anxiety, and remind myself to trust the process.
Slowly... very... s.l.o.w.l.y... I am learning to trust this same process as I wait impatiently for the details of my life to fill in. For instance, when I move to a new home, I can expect it to take me about a year to start feeling settled. No matter how fabulous the move is, I will get depressed and feel homesick during the packing/unpacking phase. I will feel the OCD bugs crawling all over me in the initial weeks in my new house. But, as pictures get hung, I begin to connect with my surroundings. I've moved many times. It happens every time. It is my process. And knowing this about myself allows me to be patient with the pain of transition. I'm able to trust that I will find peace on the other side.
We stumbled through the door with a disoriented toddler dangling from my arms and mountains of luggage hanging haphazardly from Klee. It was late. The house felt... cold. On autopilot, we drug the bags up the stairs, changed the baby and got him to bed, rummaged for our toothbrushes, and collapsed into bed. Our bed, with the worn-in body-shaped trenches and the bleach-spotted pillow cases... and the soft billowy down comforter that keeps us warm in the cold Northern California nights. It felt good. We were home.
Home. In Hawaii, people would ask us where we were from. We'd answer, "the Bay area, San Francisco," and I would feel a twinge of pride. I woke up this morning, loaded up the coffee machine (the coffee machine that doesn't know when to stop dripping, so it spills all over the counter when you go to pour a cup of coffee, even though it pretended to be done brewing), and walked out back to check on the garden. The tomatoes are starting to produce. The loquats are turning yellow. I pulled a few new weeds and picked three red strawberries. My heart felt full. Happy. Home.
It's just my process.