Saturday, June 21, 2014

Time to Do Nothing or Anxiety Provoking Vacations

We're on our way home from the beach and I was just thinking about how hard it was for me to relax this week. On vacation! It's crazy how I drag my baggage with me everywhere. I worry about deadlines, the dripping faucet back home, book sales, the health insurance premium I'm not sure I remembered to pay, and whether the dog feels abandoned at the kennel this week.

Sheesh! It was enough to make me sick in my stomach and I found it hard to do anything except sit on the porch and stare at the ocean...and drink. And does any of this worry accomplish anything? I doubt it, other then set me up for an ulcer or worse. 

And I've read all the platitudes, all the advice about living in the moment, meditating on the present, practicing letting go. Blah blah blah. Seriously, I get it. I meditate, I practice yoga, I lift weights, I walk for miles, I eat super foods. I still worry.  But I think I'm figuring something out. 

I think all that worry is really about perceiving my life as a cluttered, hot mess. I mean I've bought into the idea that I should be busy if I want to be fulfilled. And also the nasty, soul-sucking idea that I have to have neat, organized, clearly defined and separated life piles. Work. Family. Spirit. Health. Housecleaning. Good citizenship. Pet whisperer. 

I don't know if anyone has the organization skills to keep anxiety at bay when we're overloaded with so much crap. The reality is while I love to make plans and execute them with the best of intentions, as soon as the first shot is fired my carefully crafted to do piles scatter. I have to do lists a mile long that should include the item "feel guilty for not getting all this shit done". 

But here's the break down:

 1) Work pile. 
I'm an author trying to make a living off my books so I feel the need to publish often.  That means a writing schedule, editor deadlines, publishing hoops to jump through, a blog to maintain, be happy and sociable online across many social media platforms, taking criticism on a daily basis about not only my books but the fact that I chose to independently publish, arranging promotional materials, hosting online parties, and generally networking all the time. And that's just what I can remeber off the top of my head. 

2) Family pile.
 I'm married with kids. I have a relationship to maintain with my husband and kids to raise. As a wife, I'm supposed to stay in shape and be sexy and arrange hot dates while teaching my kids how to be happy, confident, well-adjusted adults all while maintaining an immaculate house, keep up with the termite contract, insurance policies, HVAC maintenace, monthly bills, weekly grocery shopping, menu planning, and the other hundred of things that pop up on a daily basis. Oh, and take care of the dog's butt problems. Seriously. 

3) Everything Else pile. 
And somehow I'm supposed to be a real, authentic person pursuing hobbies, reading, keeping up with world events, new local county regulations, politics, environmental crap, which plastics are bad for my family, which fundraiser needs which cupcakes, oh and go out with my friends and have fun too. 

Did I mention the guilt over the things I've had to give up like volunteering at my kids' schools?

Of course I'm a nervous wreck when I pack my bags with the intent of ignoring it all for 7 days. I have bought into the idea that everything will fall apart, break, or otherwise self-implode if I'm not hovering over my life piles, worrying and spinning my wheels in a wasteful effort to keep things afloat that would most likely float on their own. Crap floats, after all.

What I'm learning is that what is important gets done. The rest? Clutter. Don't get me wrong, organizing and planning have merit and are indispensable when trying to live a life and navigate a career. But everything is not that important and the clutter just gets in the way and steals my peace and the energy I need for the important stuff.

Like down time with my family. Like writing my books. Like staring at the ocean and having a beachy drink with good friends. 

Yeah. So that. 


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