Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Garden of Life

This week I read three blogs that touched my heart. Cindy, Lori and Nory all had information I needed.

Lori is tired. Mee too. Half the damn time. And no it is not a physical problem. I am fairly healthy. The thing is, I work weird. I go at stuff like I am killing snakes or I sit on my aspirations and do nothing. Both wear me out. And then I want to eat. Has taken me years to realize I don't do well if I get too tired. But...I was raised to believe that only tired people were worthwhile people. Being tired was a sign of hard work. And only HARD work was acceptable. If work did not wear you out completely it was not worthwhile!

One of my aunts was healthier than her sisters. She knew her capacity for work and paced herself. She even took breaks and stopped for lunch! She was routinely and roundly castigated by the other women in the family. Lois was lazy. And worst of all, she admitted to being tired, and rested!!! Funny thing is, my Aunt Lois had a spotless home, three wholesome homemade meals on the table everyday, clean and ironed clothes, an overflowing pantry of home canned goods, and the most beautiful flower garden I have ever seen. It was a mystery to her exhausted slovenly sisters how this lazy, gripey woman managed to get all this done. Maybe she had help (this was code for a verboten cleaning lady).

Because Mom was sick I spent much of my early childhood with my Aunt Lois. I learned her secrets for a balanced life. Alack and alas, I am my adopted mother's daughter. I was born a perfectionist so her workaholism and black and white pattern for living found fertile soil. I am very much like her. Blood is not necessarily thicker than water. But...I also internalized Aunt Lois' credo, and the two opposite ways of living are forever at war within me. No wonder I am tired. Here is how Aunt Lois got it all done.

Set a realistic goal and time frame for a project. Start early, in the day and on the project. Prioritize. Do the awful stuff first. Work for fifteen minute increments at the awful stuff and then go and do something else more enjoyable. Only do one thing at a time. Have set rest periods and a quitting time. Rest and quit on time. Reward yourself (not with food Bea) for time spent on a project, not just the for the finished product. Realize most things take longer and are harder to accomplish than you had planned. Be prepared for snags in the process. Have an end goal and stop when you have reached your goal. Celebrate when you are done.

I usually don't do any of that so I end up frustrated and tired. I have trouble getting started and then I have trouble stopping. No wonder getting things done is so exhausting.

I guess I have a choice.

Take care of yourselves. Love Bea


Nory Roth said...

I LOVE your Aunt Lois!!! Wow...if I could only adopt HALF of her "how to" list, I could get so much more accomplished! I have an aunt who sounds much the same. She is an amazing 96 year old (young) woman -- who was also castigated by the family for being selfish. But she, too, always had everything done, and done WELL. Wish I could harness some of that "selfishness". It seems to have served her well!

Cindy154 said...

Thank you so much for sharing about Aunt Lois. It is exactly what I need. I relate to the idea that we are not worthy unless we are used up, sacrificed, tired and worn out. I so relate to that. But that's not how I want to be today. I wanna be an Aunt Lois. Thanks, again!!

Annimal said...

I want to learn how to do one thing at a time. seriously. I start to clean the microwave, notice the dust on the top and 1/2 full cereal boxes. Dump cereal boxes together, then note more dust. Start to clean top of microwave, but the stand underneath is full of bread sacks, rotting fruit and "stuff", clean off filth, notice how bad the floor is around microwave stand, oh and the garbage! Can't put in swept dirt because garbage is too full. Take garbage out. Throw stale bread out--oops forgot to replace garbage liner. Have to clean bottom of garbage can first. Time to peel potatoes for lunch, aargh, can't get to sink because of last night's dirty dishes that the cleaning elf didn't have time to do. Get sink cleaned up, peel potatoes, set to boil. Cuppa tea sure sounds good, go to nuke water--wait microwave is still filthy and I'm exhausted. My knee hurts from standing for 2 hours. Now I'm cranky and all I want is some damn hot tea. and that leftover chocolate cake....

L.G. said...

Aunt Lois is a smart woman. I wish I were like her too. Thanks for the reason I'm sure I'm sure I'm tired is because I have terrible sleep habits. (Notice I'm writing this at 4:10 a.m.)

As for perfectionism....sigh. I seem to have a weird form of it. I stayed up until 2 a.m. working on sorting beads while I sat around a very cluttered living room. My apartment may look like crud, but by golly, I have all of my 3mm silver beads in one place. (Have I made a necklace either? That's another story.)

Balance is very hard to achieve when we're busy finding reasons to criticize ourselves, isn't it?

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