Monday, October 08, 2018

What's My Hurry?

For a little while there, I considered taking October off. The weather has been downright shitful, the Politics has been too, and I'm Over It All. But backing down means The Terrorists win, so here I am. I feel like I've been frightfully busy, flinging myself all over the place here in NEO (motto: Don't bother doing your hair; we specialize in heat, humidity, and rain--what Autumn?). How can I have so damn much to do when I'm Retired?

I hurry a lot. It's hard for me to do things in a measured, unhurried way. I think it has a lot to do with when I was teaching and always, always multitasking--doing a million things between classes, like giving kids makeup work before class started, trying to go to the bathroom and still be on time to class, running off a quiz or test at a copy machine that was not broken down, making a quick parent phone call, or grading a few papers so that I wasn't so inundated by all 120+ a day. Everything was rushed, and it became a way of life. It's hard to suddenly slow down after thirty years of hurrying.

And with children--I'm speaking of my own sons--doing things quickly was, at times, a saving grace. It stopped fussing and crying. It appeased hurt feelings. It forestalled toddler tantrums and sibling fights. And, as a Working Mom, hurrying kept kids on The Sacred Schedule. I'm sure so many of you understand that benefit.

Now, however, hurrying isn't really all that necessary, but I still find myself doing it. I start looking at blocks of time in my day and thinking about how I can shoehorn stuff in. How I can combine a bunch of errands and how early I can get them all done so that I can do a ton of other stuff so that I can...what? It's insane. It makes it really hard to unwind. And sleep.

Free time still feels like a sin to me--a selfish indulgence. Why? I worked hard and I earned it.

I have all day most days to vacuum, to plan and prep dinner, to do any number of the little Domestic Goddessing tasks that tuck into the nooks and crannies of my days. But old habits, as They say, are hardest to break.

So I am determined to form new ones: to take deeper breaths more often; to drive more slowly and with less gritty determination; to enjoy the lulls in my day rather than fret about them; and, to read some poetry every day.

And another jaunt North is in order. Getting Away is different than Running Away, don't you think? Things will definitely slow down then.




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19 comments:

  1. This certainly has been an "odd" autumn. I swear it has rained MOST days since we moved back up north last November.

    I'm all with you on slowing down. I keep thinking I'll get these few last large home repairs done and THEN I can relax and enjoy the house. But, you know I'll keep finding more things that need to be done. It's a never ending circle.

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    1. Dee--I'm sick of the AC. We set a record of 89 degrees yesterday. This is October. And the humidity makes me want to gag. There are more mushrooms than grass in our yard.

      You sort of get a pass on feeling the pinch, having just moved into a new home. You're anxious to get things done so that you can simply Live In It. And feel like it's Yours. One thing does lead to another, doesn't it? Drives me nuts. Knowing When To Stop--that's a big deal and a huge step toward Finding Your Zen.

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  2. This is a great post and gift to me in many ways. Hearing about your teaching life helps me relate to one stressed son, who is at a new school with 120+ a day as well. The transition is stressful. I try to listen as he leaves school each days and reports to us his challenges. I went down to his place with a week of groceries so he could rest and recoup and go for a run after work.
    As for being retired, I continue, (and it is my 4 year anniversary) to feel unsettled when I have a stretch of unstructured time. My father was one to remind us of being busy all the time. My mother, bless her heart, saw the need for us to settle down, maybe watch TV with her and listen to our stories. The summer days fly by, but the winter ones get to me. I HAVE GOT to find a way to feel happy in the cloudy days to come. I too shall attempt to enjoy the lulls in the day as you say!

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    1. kathy b--What a lovely thing to say, that my post is a gift. Thank you.

      I taught for thirty years at one of Ohio's big urban school districts, a high school of 2000+ students with a significant minority population. You can click on the "teaching" label and read more of those experiences. Teaching is by far the toughest job I can think of because everyone is your boss and judge, and you have so little resources with which to work. It is emotionally, intellectually, and physically taxing. The public loves to say, "I could never be a teacher" and then says that teachers only work half a year and are glorified babysitters. It's often thankless. Anything you can do to make your dear son feel cared for and less stressed is a huge help.

      Having said all of THAT, I loved teaching, loved my students, and felt privileged to have had a long career as a teacher. I always wanted to be a teacher, and I felt so proud of my title. My years of working with students were such a gift.

      Like you, winter is truly difficult for me. I feel like a prisoner of the cold and snow. Maybe this is the year we get one of those sunlight-simulating lamps and knit next to it!

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    2. thanks for you kind words and thoughtful reply Nance. Im hoping Zach's love of teaching will shine through tough days.

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  3. Old habits are hard to break. I know, because I'm still trying and have yet to master a new 'habit' for very long before I revert back to form.

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    1. Jean--That's the key, I think. Replace an old habit with a better new one and you've done it. I've been moderately successful with it before, but you're right--it's often a Comfort to slip back, and for me it happens most often in times of stress.

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  4. "Good luck on slowing down," said the skeptical woman who is married to a man who is always in a hurry. I'm sorry to tell you but he has been retired since 2006 and he has yet to slow down. Still up before the sun, still making "to-do" lists and still on a regular schedule as if he were working. I'm not at all sure that you and my dear husband have a bad habit you need to break. That lifestyle works best for him, and perhaps it simply works best for you. I recommend that you find a good trainer to work with you on cardio and conditioning exercises and meditation techniques. I guarantee that will help you sleep. And definitely make the trip north for more good wine.

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    1. NCmountainwoman--I'm glad that a hurry-up lifestyle is working best for your husband, but the difference is that it's simply not working for me. I have no problem with getting things done, and I do wake up early in the morning, but my hurrying is more stressful and pointless. I hurry for really no reason, as if I am in a race with...I have no idea whom.

      Physical activity does work wonders, you're right. And quiet meditation time.

      We're heading north too. ;-)

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  5. Sounds like slowing down is a laudable goal. You don’t have to change everything all at once. You can just slow one thing at a time ‘’til it starts to feel more natural. You may even like it.

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    1. Joared—Oh, I definitely will like it. Stress is a real life-ruiner, and this rat-race mentality I drag along with me is not helpful. Your comment about taking it a bit at a time is a good one. Trying to do a lot of things at once is often a recipe for disaster.

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  6. It takes time, getting used to the slow lane; even more time acquiring the patience for it. My problem is getting over the guilt. That nagging feeling I get when I've sit and crocheted for a bit. That I should be doing something. When I stop crocheting to think of what I should be doing, I can't for the life of me think of a thing.
    The instances of feeling like that are getting fewer and fewer, the longer I enjoy my retirement...
    I hope the same for you, my friend.
    Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend...

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    1. Denise—Thank you. So far, the weekend has been Winederful. ;-)

      Ah, yes, Guilt. The Everpresent Presence. Certainly there’s always some other Something that could be done—I could vacuum cat hair every single minute of every single day—but taking Time For Oneself is an Important Job, too. I’m starting to be able to feel less Guilt hovering over my shoulder, but it’s a process. And Patience...? Still not my Thing. Thanks for your kind words.

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  7. I feel like I am always working on fast forward, never really settling down. Knitting and crochet help because it makes me sit still. I know that at some point in my life my days will be slower, so for now I just keep moving.

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    1. Meredith--I felt the same as you--always on Fast Forward. I used to use the analogy of going downhill on roller skates. That was during my teaching days. You have a young child and a very busy and demanding career; your life IS a bit jittery still. I hope when you retire, you can make the transition more easily than I have. And yes, knitting is quite helpful because we are still busy, but can't wander around multitasking while doing it.

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  8. I wish you well on your quest for chill! My mother hurried all the time too. She couldn't just sit and do anything, at least not for long. I on the other hand am totally prepared for the day when I don't have to go to work. I might not ever do anything else again - except crochet & ask Mike when my dinner will be ready. Ha! I actually think that I'm more productive now because I have this schedule. Anyway, this discussion is moot because I don't think I'll ever be able to afford to retire.

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    1. Bug--Thanks. I like to be actively occupied, but I don't like the feeling of being stressed out for no reason. And feeling guilty if I want to simply sit and knit or sit and enjoy a couple of shows on TV/Netflix or whatever.

      If Rick were retired, maybe it would be different. I'd not feel compelled to be so zippy and productive out of guilt; you know, "he's working, so I shouldn't be lazing around."

      I certainly hope you are able to retire! Rick says the same, however. Maybe that's what makes me feel so guilty!

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  9. Stupid guilt. I hope you can let it go and learn to breathe and take it a bit easier. I try to stay busy enough, but I feel like time relaxing is time well spent indeed. Though I do tend to get a lot done, I no longer feel really stressed about it. Not sure what happened to take that away, maybe Maya being an adult was what did it for me. I definitely have timers in my head, have to get up, have to walk the dog, have to cook or clean or do laundry or whatever, but I don't feel rushed about it, and I've gotten much better at letting go when whatever was supposed to get done doesn't. Sometimes I work from a list, and it took me awhile to be OK with moving something from one day's list to the next, but I've gotten there. Hang in there. :)

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    1. J@jj.com--Ah, yes--the Timers In My Head! I definitely have that, too, and I'm the one that puts them there and feels so compelled to beat them. Perfect analogy.

      I wholeheartedly agree with you that time relaxing is time well spent. Until that time is spent by me. It's another classic example of me being tremendously supportive of something/compassionate about something until that something applies to me. Then I expect myself to be somehow Different. It's insane and ridiculous and a terribly annoying part of my pathology and why several medical professionals have told me to Give Myself A Break/Stop Being So Hard On Myself.

      And why we have such a large amount of wine in the cellar.

      Now that Fall has arrived in NEO--quite suddenly and with temps 10 degrees below normal--I am out walking again. Carefully! That is helping.

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