Saturday, February 21, 2015

On Life Balance

Today, for about the 1,000th time, I ruminate on life balance.

For as long as I can remember, I've had a “go for the gusto” bias. I've always perceived life to be full of opportunity for new experiences, with the challenge being how to fit as many in as possible. I often claim as my life motto “I'd rather burn out than rust out.” For the most part, this has served me well and I have no regrets about acting on that bias. I am blessed to have married someone with the same bias, so we are both very busy all the time. We do a lot together and we do a lot separately, which allows each of us to bring new and interesting things into the relationship all the time. It is a satisfying life.

The problem with this approach, though, is that from time to time I get overextended. While I like being busy, there has to be some time for reflection and regeneration, too. Every once in a while, I find myself feeling like a hamster on a wheel. Run, run, run, without feeling that I'm actually getting anywhere. Lately, I've been getting close to that point. Fortunately, even before the snow came, I had claimed this Saturday as a day off.

I'm a practicing Catholic, and the Catholic church actually promotes a period of reflection and regeneration this time of year. It's called Lent, and there have been a lot of years where what the church offers at Lent has nicely aligned with my personal needs. Those years, I have had a good Lent and felt a lot better at the end.

As I approached Lent this year, it was a little different. Some of my current over-extension is at church, so it's hard to see taking on more church as the answer. In fact, today was the day of the annual Catholic Women's Conference in Columbus, but I had opted not to register this year. While I have found it a lovely experience in the past, I couldn't get past the feeling it would be just one more have-to-do this time around. I knew I wouldn't benefit from it if I couldn't get past that. So I decided a day in my own home would do me more good this year.

It was a good call. It is lovely sitting here, watching the snow, knowing I have nowhere to go, nothing I have to do. I've accomplished a few little tasks I wanted to get done, but at a leisurely pace. And now I think I'm actually going to go curl up with a book for a while.

What about you, readers? Is balance an issue for you? How do you cope? What trips you up? What have you learned along the way?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Random Musings from a February State of Mind

I'm sorely tempted to write a blog post complaining about February – bringing, as it does, the beginning of Lent, today's Level 1 Snow Emergency, and many consecutive days of temperatures too cold to walk outside any farther than from the car to the door. It is not a lovable month.

But I strive to rise above that. Instead, here are some random thoughts/observations/musings:
  • My mother gave us a big scare last week. She quickly went from being active and outwardly focused to bed-fast and non-responsive. But as I've said before, that little lady is a lot stronger than everyone thinks. She is bouncing back beautifully. She has been moved to a nursing home for continued rehab, but my sister says she is walking with good posture again, fully aware of her surroundings and interacting in ways that sound like her. She's making 90 look good.
  • Over the course of last year I let my weight get a little out of hand. I decided to do something about it in the fall, and I lost 10 pounds in about two months. About mid January I picked back up where I left off, and I have lost two more pounds. I have a physical coming up March 13, and my personal goal is to finally, for once, fall within the recommended range for my BMI by that time. I believe it will be a close thing whether I make it or not!
  • My laptop was dying and my sister had a nearly new one she HATED because of it running Windows 8. I was pretty sure I could fare better with it, so I bought it from her. I'm using it to write this blog entry. All things considered, it was a mutual win. But that said, Windows 8 is kind of hateful. My experience is that it isn't as good as either the old Windows or the touch screen technology of my Android phone and tablet. It's some kind of unholy hybrid that trips on itself in odd and vexing ways.
  • Our church has added a program that will meet every Tuesday evening for ten weeks. I agreed to be a facilitator for it. Then as I went through the training, I also went through a period of intense second-guessing. Ten weeks of having every Tuesday night committed? In addition to my usual commitments? What was I thinking?!? But the first session occurred last Tuesday, and already I feel a little better. I think I just need to put the ten-week commitment out of my mind, and live it one week at a time. In the moment, it is very enjoyable. And that is all I need to think about.
  • Our added-on son, Warren, after a lengthy stretch of unemployment, started a new job the end of last week. He has five consecutive days of work in now and I am feeling cautiously optimistic. He is getting good feedback from his supervisors and they extended his shifts a couple of those days, including bringing him back in for essentially a double shift one day. Perhaps this will be the one that gets him on the path to independence.
  • I feel like my actual son, Sam, has turned a corner in growing up. He's still my son, he still loves me and I still love him as much as ever....but he is undeniably an adult now. It is a beautiful but strangely bittersweet thing.,
  • The things that are happening in the wider world scare me to death. I remember no previous time in my 56 years when there were this many hot spots in the world. And with social media, I find the responses to each new atrocity almost as frightening as the atrocities themselves. And it all makes me feel so powerless. I spend a lot of my time just trying to NOT think about it, since I see nothing I can do. And I find that response puzzling in itself.

Enough musings for one night. Mainly, my goal was to break the long drought in blogging. I have accomplished that goal.