Monday, January 04, 2010

2009 in Review More... and Stress

A mocha in a to-go cup from Kavarna to drink, the ticking of the cloak and the snoring of Ernie the Monstrocat, asleep on the couch next to me, for music. Is the juxtaposition of these two sounds paradoxically philosophical, or philosophically paradoxical or do I just like the sound of those words together and have no idea what the hell I'm talking about? The ticking of the clock goads me to think of all the tasks I have waiting for me when I finish posting (now that the holidays are over and it's back to studio as usual). Ernie's snoring makes me think of the goals I have been working on for the new year--a major one of which is to take it easier and slow down a bit.

The last 2-3 weeks have been time out of time for me. The week before Christmas I pretty much gave up on worrying about the things I didn't have done, planning of any kind, and juggling finances (that phrase can be understood to mean gave up on worrying about all three of them or gave up on worrying about the first one and doing the next two--both interpretations are valid). I stopped blogging (and boy did I hear about THAT!). I slept late and played Dragon Age on XBox till the wee small hours. I blew glass in the hotshop for the sheer joy of doing it (and for Christmas presents). I had a massage and a pedicure, went to a couple of movies, had dinner with friends, played lots of Race for the Galaxy with Dave and took naps. I didn't read as much as I would have liked, but that's maybe my only treasured activity in which I didn't indulge.

Throughout all, the house was full of family and pets, and chaos reigned. Yet I slept all night every night--no 4:00 am wakefulness--and I didn't dread the next day... ever. Yesterday, in contrast, I dreaded the looming week, slept poorly (partially from the knowledge that I had to be up at 6:00 to take Dave to the airport), and felt weighed down by the world. I was initially puzzled this morning on my way back from the airport by my stress level. I mean, I could understand my reaction if I had a job I hated and was having to go back to it after vacation. But I have ostensibly got myself into a position where I love what I do, do only what I love, and do it at my own pace. What could be so stressful about that?

Then I had a revelation. Nothing had changed in my situation but my internal, unconscious response to it. Over the past year I have became so accustomed to fighting through every day that the need to gird my loins against anticipated stress and demand has become second nature. Without any conscious effort on my part at all my preparation for a normal day includes fretting and anxiety about... everything. If I go on like this, I am setting myself up to be unhappy and to fail this year.

Life has not changed with the end of vacation. Yes, we all have to get up for school and work again (no more Dragon Age on weeknights till 2:00 am), but I like and look forward to the things I do in a day as much now as I did during the break. There is no reason for dread. Dread is a knee-jerk reaction learned from the overscheduling and overcommitments of last year. That was then, this is now, and I AM going to slow down this year. I bit off way too much last year and some things need to be scaled back (ya think?).

Clearly my body is trying to tell me something, and I'm going to listen to it as I plan my goals for 2010. Really.

1 comment:

Bill said...

Overscheduling? Overcommittments? Really? Are you sure about that?


I'm glad you got a clue...