I started a new book that promises to be a life-changer: Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte. I feel like it was written just for me:
“…this is how it feels to live my life: scattered, fragmented, and exhausting. I am always doing more than one thing at a time and feel I never do any one particularly well. I am always behind and always late, with one more thing and one more thing and one more thing to do before rushing out the door. Entire hours evaporate while I’m doing stuff that needs to get done. But once I’m done, I can’t tell you what it was I did or why it seemed so important. “
Because the author has me pegged so accurately, in describing her own situation, and because she managed to find her way out of it to an extent where she felt she could write about it, I have hope.
I have tended to fill my time the way the ancient Greeks filled their vases with pictures: no open space. It wasn’t always like that. Growing up, I was known in my family as “the lazy one.” I would sit for hours playing with dolls or reading a book. I would lay out in the grass watching the clouds form patterns in the sky. I rode my bicycle around and around the same path. I wandered the fields. I didn’t get bored, with almost nothing to do.
As a young mother, I would sit calmly just watching my baby sleep, or reading or singing to my little ones. I didn’t seem to always need to have ten projects going at once. I don’t know quite when that changed, but sometime between then and now, it changed in a big way.
Now, on a day devoted to housekeeping, I will probably also plan to write a blog. I’ll tell myself the time is right to start that new exercise program or – at least – take the dogs for a long walk. As long as I’ll be at home, I may as well bake bread, too…and if I’m going to have fresh bread, well I’d better make soup. In the midst of all that, I might decide to start or continue an art project, or do some yard work, or paint a room. It isn’t fun, being this person.
Two and a half years ago, when I was approached about taking on the Beaver Beacon, I had a full-time job at the hardware store. I held the part-time position of Phragmites Administrator on Beaver Island. I was teaching art to children one day each week. I was putting in a few hours a month cleaning my aunt’s house. I was producing art in my studio for the four or five galleries that carry my work. I was single-handedly taking care of my home and yard. And I – for some reason – didn’t hesitate to take on the writing, editing and publishing of a bi-monthly news-magazine. That’s just the kind of crazy I am!
At sixty-four years old, retirement is somewhere in the not-too-distant future. In the past, I have thought that, when I retired, I would like to travel. I’d also like to spend more time with cooking, sewing and crafts. I’d like to expand the size of my garden and get a few chickens, in addition to expanding my artistic career and teaching a few classes. In my retirement! I’m tired of the frantic pace, though. I want some calm. I’m counting on this book to teach me how to achieve that!