Back in the saddle again

by Lorin Michel Thursday, July 11, 2013 12:35 AM

Being gone from one’s life is strange. While away, you spend a good deal of the time wondering what’s happening at home. What’s happening with work. Is there anything weird with the weather. Is the house OK. When you live in California and you’re out of state, you worry about an earthquake happening while you’re gone. Or at least I do. When we went to visit Justin in May, I had Kevin ask our neighbor Dana to keep an eye on the house and in the event of an earthquake, to turn off the gas. The valve is on the side of the house. We were leaving on Friday morning. On Thursday morning, Dana knocked at the door, holding a wrench. For some reason he had it in his head that he was supposed to turn off the gas and that’s what he’d done. He and Kevin turned it back on and relit the pilot light on the hot water heater.

It’s even stranger to be gone from your life when most of your life, meaning the people you’re closest to, like a husband and a dog, are still back where you live. Such was the case with me last week. I traveled alone back to Pittsburgh and then onto Maryland to spend a too-short amount of time with my good friend Pam. I stood in the terminal on Wednesday early afternoon, waiting to board my Southwest flight east, with a stop and plane change in Denver, and I couldn’t help but think that I was already ready to go home. I missed my husband and my dog and I hadn’t even left yet. I missed my bed.

I am a home body. I prefer being home to being anywhere else, except maybe Maui. I’m comfortable here. I like my stuff. I like the security. I like my bed, as previously mentioned. I like that I have all of my clothing available to me whenever I want it rather than only what I happened to bring along. I love to cook, to lounge, to have access to my wine cellar. I like that my office is in my home. I like that my dog goes to work with me. I like – correction, love – being home.

When I’m away, I get away from everything I have to do and for a few days I can forget about all those things. But on my way back, I start to remember and then I start to panic just a little. There is always a growing to-do list and nothing has been crossed off in days. In Baltimore on Monday morning, I stood at the gate with my iPhone, making a list of what I needed to remember to do, work wise, once I got back to my office, just in case I hadn’t written things down elsewhere which is impossible since I have a running to-do list and my to-do list has addendums.

As soon as I got home on Monday, around noonish, I went to work. I was actually good for a couple of hours, and then I crashed. By Tuesday I was fairly back to my old self with my old hours. By today, I was back in the saddle again.

As many know, Back in the Saddle Again was the theme song of Hollywood singing cowboy Gene Autry who released it as a single way back in 1939. Back in the Saddle Again is about getting back on the horse after being thrown off, committing one’s self to a goal, refocusing to get there. Autry personified the idea of a straight arrow, a straight shooter, a hero who was honest, brave and true. I honestly don’t know if he ever fell off of his horse and had to get back on. I suspect his reference was more about getting back out on the range, where the deer and the antelope roam (and yes, I know that’s a whole other song), getting back to his roots. In some ways, the meanings are much the same. Getting back to what you know, recommitting yourself to what you want.

Today I was back in the saddle again, refocused on the tasks at hand, recommitted to what needed to be done, refocused on what my ultimate goals are. It felt good; it felt right. Maybe because I’m also back in my own bed and I always sleep so well in my own bed. Maybe it’s because I’m just back.

I think Gene Autry was really onto something.

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