Day: October 3, 2010

A rambling examination of the current state of my life

When people ask how I am doing, I tell them “fine.” It is a true answer, but it is also incomplete. The full answer to how I’m doing is very complicated and takes a long time to tell. So I distill my life down to a single word, because taken on the whole my life is fine.

Harder to answer is when someone asks what I have been up to lately. I have been doing so many things lately that it is hard for me to pick anything to say. They’re all tangled up together and I have trouble articulating what is filling my days so completely. All of my days are full. Even the days when I spend most of my energy avoiding the things I really should be doing. My brain is full. My hours are full. Things I thought would be done by now keep bouncing back, and there are still things I want to add.

On Friday night and Saturday morning Howard and I fell into conflict. He was grouchy because his week had gone awry and his grouchiness impacted me. I went spiraling into the pit of “I can’t do this” where in I lament how I have too many things and I can’t possibly manage it all. One of the things I find highly annoying about emotions is that they have to be expressed and felt, even when a piece of my brain knows that it will all be fine. My meltdown was nicely magnified by knowing that dealing with meltdowns only add stress to everyone involved. Which is why I try not to have them. I know I am doomed to fail. Meltdowns are pretty inevitable, but I do my best to steer, alleviate, and schedule them.

There are people in my life who want more complicated answers when they inquire how I’m doing. They know that I expected September to be a little crazy. We’ve entered October now and I’ve started hearing “So have things settled down for you yet?” I want to be able to give a positive answer. Our family has made so much progress from where we started six weeks ago. We’ve come a long way, and some things really are settling in to nice patterns. Some things have gotten really good and nothing is truly bad. However I don’t feel settled. I don’t feel like my schedule has spaces in it that I can count on. I’m still adjusting and reacting on a daily basis. Some days have lovely spaces of time in which I can contemplate new projects, but the list of projects I have queued up is very long and the projects which are just for me keep getting bumped down the list. I need to qualify that last sentence. All of my projects are mine. I love them all. The projects which get worked on most are the ones who benefit other people as much or more than they do me. I think this is a good way to prioritize and a good way to spend my life. It is just that I am constrained by many simultaneous projects. I don’t want to give up any of them and I want to do more.

Mostly I manage this by suppressing thoughts of the projects for which I don’t have time. My garden is a mess and it will stay that way. I try not to think about writing projects unless I come upon a space in my schedule. Unfortunately writing projects thrive upon back-of-the-brain simmering and the simmering space in my brain is full of other things. I hardly dare hope that I’ll be able to free up the back of my brain. I can think of nothing so likely to cause an emotional meltdown than hoping for something and having it snatched away. So I’m doing the work in front of me.

As I was writing this Howard came into the room to discuss schedule for the evening. I told him that I would start snack time soon. Then I said “And we’ll get to have another week tomorrow.” I meant “start another week” but the way it came out is rather apropos. Each day is so full of things that it feels like a week.

On Saturday Elder Uchtdorf spoke about slowing down and taking time for what matters most. He gave a really good talk. I’m trying to do that. I feel like I’ve been trying to slow down for about two years now. I’ve had some measure of success, but I often feel like I am digging in my heels and being dragged along by all the events I am expected to steer. Some times I have to cut loose and skip things. I am grateful to live a life so full of good social events and friends that I can’t keep up. This has definitely not always been the case in my life.

So how am I doing? Fine. Really. I’m very busy, but most of the busy things are good. I only end up worn out by quantity not by difficulty.

What have I been doing? Stuff for the kids, mostly homework support, and scheduling. Stuff for the business, maintenance work, some revamping of old systems, preparations for upcoming events, and book layout. I’ve also been managing accounting, managing the event booking for both family and business, making new friends, reconnecting with familiar friends, and spending time on family.

Do I have space for calm contemplation or writing? Yes. Sometimes. Those times arrive randomly. I can’t expect them or hope for them. All I can do is try to take advantage of them as they arrive.

LDS General Conference

Our church had general conference this weekend. It is ten hours of topical speeches given by the church leadership. These talks are spread out into five two hour sessions over two days and we can view/listen via radio, television, or internet. Today we gathered all the children and hooked a computer up to the big screen so that we could watch. Gleek and Patch cheered out loud when the learned it was conference. They love the feeling of having all of us gathered in one place, listening to good messages, while quietly engaged in various activities.

I still have much to ponder from the things I heard. I’ll need to read the text when it comes out in the church magazine next month. I may also re-watch some of the talks on the internet at The process will help me gain inspiration about my own life. I could use some inspirational clarity. My perspective has felt muddled of late.