Thursday, May 31, 2018

Dreading the downtime

I'm not good with unlimited downtime. I either completely waste it or resent it and flicker about in nervous energy and just cram every single thing I have uncompleted into an impossible timeframe. What is wrong with me. I am a 46 year old woman that now has to contend with seemingly endless downtime. As someone who has felt the strain of single life, single parent life, and the constant pressure to provide and prove myself within the limits of my thinly stretched existence, I am not comfortable with day after day of downtime. It's not natural and certainly not useful to anyone. At least in the context of my earlier existence. Nowadays, there is little or no rime nor reason to me hectically ramping up adrenaline and resorting to building up constant internal pressure to "get it done". There is also no outlet for this pressure as I am out of work, and although still single and forever a mom, I am no longer a single mother and the unmanageable parts of my finances have no quick fixes. 

So I internalize, like most women do. The pressure builds, the nervous energy becomes anxiety and the adrenaline boost ultimately wears you down. Yeah, I'm a cliche. Not content with dealing with empty nest syndrome (which is actually not that bad) I now have to redefine the very essence of my life. There are questions, soooo many questions. What is my purpose? How do I enjoy life? Can I enjoy life? Where have my friends gone? Do I want any by this point? What's fun? Who's fun? How to have fun? Am I a fun person? Why not? How do I determine my value in society now that my primary functions are nullified.... (ok that one was maybe a bit R2D2)? Who the f#&%/@ am I and how do I get to be her, just her Not the mother, not the lover... although that one is kinda moot currently, not the employee or the supervisor, not the citizen and not the student. Just plain old moi. Whoever that is. 

I find it unsettling. This new life. But I also find it liberating. I am confronted with every single bad habit. The apathy of rigidness and resistance to change. The many, many, aches and ignored pains of my frail and, let's face it, older body. The futility of my daily patterns, and the fear of my complicated and nonlogical feelings that bubble up nonstop at the most inopportune times. So I go to work. Not with a set goal in mind, but slowly and surely I take one of the 2.647.892 items on my emotional todo list and work on it a little bit. That makes it easier to tackle the next one. It also comes with the realization that the list is, in fact, never-ending and perhaps expanding, but if there is one thing I'm good at, its prioritizing. So that's what I do. I take a teensy weensy scary feeling and translate it into the nonlogical pattern that is currently governing my day and pick at it, just a little, until I understand where it comes from and how it impacts me negatively. I can't really help the feeling. It's there, it will still be there, but the pattern can be changed until it no longer hurts me. And that my dear is progress. 

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