Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mind like a washing machine

There are stages in all our lives, aren't there.... different stages, and they go in phases which are diametrically opposite in a way. Summer has been like that for me. The stress of work and deciding to resign, the relief of the summer holidays starting, the wonderful opportunity to forget everything and go and visit Diana, and now the return home.

The worry about how David will have done in his exams, the relief of finding out yesterday that he had passed, and even though there is room for improvement, the delight in knowing that his last year at school is here. Now I have this wall in front of me, and I cannot avoid it. I need to find another job of some kind as soon as possible, and I have the inquest on the 10th October to look forward to, and the lawsuit pending after that, with lawyers to brief and decisions to make. As we go into longer nights and colder greyer days. Timing could be better.

Do not think that I am descending into the depths here, I am not... but it is roller-coaster time in my life. Up one day and down the next. Normal life is resumed, after 3 weeks of riding on the highest crest. It takes some adjusting. On our last day in NZ, Diana and I watched surfers riding huge waves. Wearing crash helmets, because they were really close to rocks. I think I might need a crash helmet too. We have visits to different universities to fit in, and David will be making decisions about his future as well. A year from now, my life will be totally different yet again.

I don't mind change. I don't mind trying new things. I like to meet challenges. I am changing so quickly, and the dreams are still intact. Thank God. It is the speed of it all that is sometimes a little hard to cope with.

I have been reading some blogs, and some very interesting subjects have been discussed. Morning Glory's Woman to Woman discussion this week is on the topic of learning to say no. I could (and probably should) have written an epic post all about my experiences there. I am a self-confessed "don't know how to say no" expert. I have been getting better at saying no, but I think that a great deal of who I am.... MY idea of my identity... has come from being the one who does not say no, and who tries to fix things.

For years and years, if someone called me with a crisis, it has never mattered about what I had planned to be doing, I have dropped everything and gone to help. I have cancelled a great many things when I have been needed. Now I know this sounds very noble and self righteous, but there are times when I think back, and wonder if I made the right decisions then. Whether my help simply enabled someone else to avoid confronting the demons they needed to confront. Whether it was more important for me to be the one who was helping than for the recipient to be helped. I don't know, and I probably never will.

When I had to start working full time, people stopped asking me to do a lot of the things I had spent all my adult life doing, and I missed that. It was like losing part of me. The biggest part, in fact, apart from being the mother of my children. And you know what? It added such diversity to my life too. It made it interesting. I am a people person. I like people. (And you will NOT believe this.... Someone has just this minute called me and asked me to do something, and what did I say? Of course. I will be there at 10. Give me strength.)

Where was I? I am going to need to edit this later. People. I like people. They seem to like me. But I have run out of time to do all the things I really love doing, like being creative. I need to do an complete course in time management. I am a textile artist at heart. I love making mixed media textile things. I bought some beautiful pieces of NZ fabric while I was there.... very small pieces, admittedly, but I have to make a memory quilt of the special time we all had together. Heaven knows when or if there will ever be another time quite like that. And scrapbooking too. I want to finally get round to doing all the pages I have in mind. That could take about, oh let me see, 30 years or so. I want to read, and I want to just be still for a while.

This post makes little sense, but it is a window on my mind right now. Mixed up and churning like a washing machine. Bits flying off here and there. Randomness at its best. I want to be walking in the mountains of Switzerland. I want to be planning Christmas somewhere. I want to be doing some woodwork. I need to be making or planning to make my Christmas presents too. I need to sort some kind of computer solution out for this house. We have one computer at the moment, and it is not new. It is refusing to write to any kind of CD disc, and I need it to write things, like my photos so I can send them to my sister (all 3000 of them) , or get them printed (no, definitely NOT all 3000!). Snarl.

Real life? I am back. The frustrations and irritations and yes, also the delights and wonders too. My life is still a good life. I realise just how blessed I am, and I never take that for granted. The sun is shining at the moment. All is ok. There are potatoes to go and dig up at the allotment, and things to do.

Reading this, there is a lot of I want and I need there. Not good. But in a sense, I think that is what it is all about. I put off what I want or need to do and then justify it by saying I was busy "helping" or "doing something" for someone else. Hmmmmm. I think I need someone to actually tell me that it is ok to put yourself first now and then, and do something for yourself, without feeling guilty about it. So many years of conditioning are hard to break. As mothers, we are used to coming last in the chain. I clearly need to work on this.

And now I am off to go and help that someone who called. I am a lost cause. But I will start planning that NZ quilt this afternoon. Or tonight. After I have dug the potatoes, visited a friend, made some calls re work, fixed things.......

I promise.


Donnetta said...

To me, this post makes complete sense. I know I have been there myself... feeling the rambling of my mind and spirit.

However, it does NOT mean it is necessarily healthy! You already know this but you DO need time for YOU!!

You mention you are going to do that.. and I for one am holding you to it! :-)

I challenge you to do something for YOU by the end of this week!!! I have a feeling it will in turn help you help others... better! ;-)

Susan said...

I, for one, am here to tell you it's not only alright to put yourself first sometimes it is a must. I so relate to all you've written here, Linds because I was just like you. I had pushed "me" and my needs down so far I didn't even know who I was or what I needed. That slowly changed, and it is so wonderful to have found "me" again. The best result of all - I have so much more to give to my family and those around me now.

Thanks for taking one of my balloons. You know, without my saying I HOPE, that I have definitely tied you on with a double knot!!!

Can't wait to see the quilt and other things you'll do and show us.

someone else said...

Your post made perfect sense and I treasure this peek into the window of your mind. You NEED to think of yourself now and then and simply absorb. You are a fascinating person and I love to read what you write.

Crystal said...

You could have been writing about me in places there, Linds! Take your time, contemplate, create and refresh. And then you will know the right things to do and be involved in. It's definitely a process and takes time (which sometimes is the hardest part!).

On the topic of your computer: we finally got a laptop for me and DH uses the desktop and it was the best solution ever!! We are both much happier. Sometimes now we even work side by side at the desk, researching and making our investment and business decisions together. The bad part - we had to spend some money but there are many choices out there so you can be as extravagant or as frugal as you want. Good luck!

Chris said...

THIS is what I have missed from you, dear Linds! Thoughtful, work-it-out-in-my-mind posts like this are what I've come to love about you.

Keep working it out, my friend. Learning as we live, living as we learn...that's what keeps us going. But DO take time to renew as you did on your trip and DO learn to say "I'm so sorry, but I really can't do that" to those who overwhelm you. You're going into a very stressful time, and you need to be sure you're at your best. Taking care of everyone except YOU won't do, m'dear.

Take care of you.


LouLou@theLoom said...

So good to see you today after what seems like aeons! As one of the people who has such gratitude for you not saying 'no' to a me in crisis I want to encourage you to say NO more often to some (dare I say trivial) things. You must make time to do YOUR things (and that does not include house and family things!) You are talented, creative, utterly fantastic, and that must not be allowed to go to waste. :-))

Linda said...

You may think you are all over the place with this post, but it makes perfect sense to me. One of the things I love about vacations is I just pretend I don't have that other life with all the responsibilties and cares back home. For a brief time I can just put them out of my mind. But then when I return I find myself right where you are now.
You have so much more on your plate than I do however. I pray you will find a job that somehow allows you to use those creative talents Linds. I pray that all will go well with the things related to the trial. One step at a time - it will all work out.
Now...the potatoes look terrific. I'd be doing a little happy dance if I had managed to grow them!!