Friday, November 28, 2014

Do. Be. Dooby-dooby-dooby-doo.

I came of age feeling that my value as a person was based on what I accomplished. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person to feel that way.

I can't explain the psychology of it, but it seems to be one of those cases where you say, "There are two kinds of people in the world." In this case, those who seek to be loved unconditionally for who they are, and those who seek approval for what they have done.

Or maybe we all totter somewhere between the two.  

I've tried to value "being," and in fact lately I've done a lot of it--if things like relaxing and playing games and taking naps count. But guess what? I hate that I'm not doing more. I have lots to do for the carousel and to promote the book (sheesh, I haven't even told you about it yet). I manage to keep up with Peter as we take care of the grandkids, but I'm not as creative as I might be. I need to exercise more and to practice my tap routines. I need to finish cleaning up this office, still messy after a  year of writing our book and putting on a carousel birthday party. And so much more, all of which I expected to tackle with gusto as soon as the carousel season was over.

In the past few weeks I've taken note of two blog friends' posts that really resonated with my current slowed-down state. Sally, the Retired English Teacher, wrote that she has been foggy, unfocused, pulled in many directions. I began to imagine her sitting around as I have been, until I discovered that she (1) flew across the country to help a son badly injured in an accident, (2) had a nasty bout with an allergy that attacked her whole system, and (3) had recently gone back to teaching, 10 hours a week plus all new preparations. Noting how much she was expecting of herself, my comment was along the lines of, "No wonder you feel pulled in all directions!"

I decided that given all the work I've put in, and some difficult changes we are making at the carousel just now, I too am justified in feeling foggy and tired. But then the voice comes back, "If you'd eat better and exercise more, you could do more." Can't argue with that, exactly.

But Marie at Rock the Kasbah wrote that she has been avoiding some tasks, including promoting her book, and she realized that she was feeling the need to stay in her comfort zone for a while. Whoa, I said to myself, she hit the nail on the head. I've avoided promoting our book because it makes me uncomfortable. It takes reaching out beyond my introverted habits, boasting (an activity that is foreign to Minnesotans), and perhaps worst of all, risking rejection.

For about three years, being retired meant I could stop worrying so much about doing, and focus much more on being. But this past year has consisted of writing the book, creating items for sale, planning multiple big events, and ultimately making lots of media and public appearances. If I were the least bit extroverted, I might be less drained. But that's not going to change. So in fact taking time to rest and stay in my comfort zone, at least a little, seems to be a reasonable kind of being, and in the long run it will make me better able to do what needs to be done.

Do. Be. Dooby-dooby-dooby-doo.

I'd be surprised if you didn't have some experience with this dilemma. Am I right?


Pauline Persing said...

Wonderful article. I needed the reminder that it is OK to slow down and breath. Good luck with the book and promoting it. Do you think it will get easier after you do it for a while?

Meryl Baer said...

It is tough finding a happy medium between activities like travel and less strenuous doings. But retirement allows flexibility to switch between the active times and periods where we need to slow down and retool.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Do what ever you feel like. Look at how creative you have been with the book small task. One day at a time:)

Linda Myers said...

So many things to do, so much less energy than I had 20 years ago!

I give myself six hours a day to be productive, and the rest to do whatever suits me. My body is happy that way. Before I mad that decision I felt guilty that I was only being "useful" six hours a day.

DJan said...

I also have a six-hour routine, and the rest of the day I kind of float with whatever feels right. But exercise is my one given that I use to structure my days. I haven't been as productive as you, but I also don't have a book inside me waiting to get out. I would love to tap dance, though! I'd suggest doing more of that. :-)

Stephen Hayes said...

When push comes to shove, the only thing in life that has any value is joy. Nothing else is worth much. We need to figure out what brings us joy in life, and that's what we should pursue.

Deb Shucka said...

As someone a few paces behind you, it's encouraging to hear that the struggle for balance never really ends. That somehow feels like even as we age, we get to be alive enough to tip the scales one way or the other as we continue our search for purpose. Thank you for sharing yours - it's given me much to ponder today.

Jeanie said...

Of course that dilemma is familiar, Nancy! I even have trouble finding time to read, it seems I'm so busy. Some, I choose for myself. Some gets thrust upon me. Most I like. Some I don't. Today I am finally catching up on blogs because I'm so behind. Feeling a little guilty. But not too!

Does the struggle end? No, I don't think so. We are on a journey and it has its highs and lows. But what a journey!

Grandmother (Mary) said...

You've done a lot which meant you stepped out of your comfort zone. If you need to step back in for awhile, regroup, refresh, that's good, too.If you really want to do even more, you will, but you don't have to to have value. You have that already in spades!

troutbirder said...

I had a wonderful career "being" a teacher and focused on "doing" that & father and husband and friend. Then I retired and chose focus on "being" a retired person which meant "doing" whatever I felt like that day. Good grief no wonder I'm confused...:)

Marie Loerzel said...

It's so hard to keep the balance between having some time in the comfort zone (which we need to stay confident and feel successful) and time in the discomfort zone (which we need to grow and evolve). I struggle all the time, especially now that it's the holidays! And thank you so much for mentioning my blog!

Retired English Teacher said...

Wowsers. I'm just now reading this. I thought of what you said in the comments on my blog a lot. In fact, I was thinking about it today. That was before I read this post.

Your words spoke to me with insight. I do expect too much of myself. I am performance based for acceptance, that is for sure. I relate to what you are saying on so many levels.

I actually retired in 2006, but I've never quite gotten used to it. I still have much to accomplish, but I find I accomplish little, or I accomplish not what I think I want to accomplish.

I see Rock the Kasbah has the answer. I see that when I step out of my comfort zone when that is really where I want to be, I take on too much and expect too much from myself.

I wish I could have tea with you today and we could just be. I appreciate the time I spent with you on the blog. Now I must run off to this job. I have declined the offer to teach next semester. I know that I am miserable working. My fantasy on working was just a fantasy. The reality of it was not pleasant for me. Now, I will try and "be."

Thanks for mentioning my blog.

Jayne Martin said...

I think you've earned some time to just "be." You've accomplished so much. Start the new year with a plan to promote the book and attend to the other activities important to you and let yourself enjoy the holidays without such pressure. Wishing you and your family a lovely Christmas, Nancy.

California Girl said...

I am tired much of the time. I don't like it. I'm still working full time. I'm still in sales. I bust my hump to make budgets but I certainly don't have the zip I once had. Luckily, I have an excellent company for whom I work and love it. If I didn't it would be horrendous. I am beginning to realize age is def a factor. I exercise 3-4 days p/w and I am in pretty damn good shape for one who's had 2 hip replacements, 1 knee replacement, 1 hip revision. But, there are days I just have to take it easy and say "Give it a rest."

Allyson said...

Well, yes..this is true. There are some personality quizzes floating around FB that test how intro/extro-verted you are and then how to structure your work around that because if you are an introvert trying to work like an extrovert, you are going to be EXHAUSTED. Someone explained it to me like this, "An extrovert will have lunch with a new friend and feel great afterwards. An introvert will have lunch with a new friend and feel like they need to take 3 hour nap afterward." So, I'm not surprised you are tired.

Also, over the last 2 weeks, the sun has been out 1 day here. That always makes me feel foggy and unmotivated. I wish 2 year olds were so dependent on the weather. It seems they are pretty much little Energizer bunnies no matter what!

I hope you get your groove back, Stella. Can't wait to hear more about the new book and your adventures around it!


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