I'm whooped. Overwhelmed. Plumb tuckered out, chopped up, and stir-fried.
Kids, dog, future dog, bird, house, land, job(s), writing, projects, money, me, husband, parents, siblings and kids, cousins, friends, etc....plus the maintenance and upkeep of every single one (this includes phone calls, emails, prayers, and just plain remembering...)
It's all spinning, spinning, spinning in my head. I watch the clock all day, watch the minutes fly out of my reach. I run out of time before I even get started.
I have tried to simplify. To streamline. And yet there are still too many lists, too many knots to untangle, too much to file away in this little overcrowded brain.
I'm stretched, pulled. I've lost my shape. Who am I? What am I?
Time to re-focus. Again. Time to take inventory, to weed out, to divide and conquer.
- Morning walks (I need fresh air, I need to breathe. I need a chunk of time with God, time for prayer, time with the critters.)
- Work-outs (I need to take care of myself...others depend on me. I need stamina and strength. Oxygen.)
- My job (I need to pay bills, to try to get "coming in" ahead of "going out".)
- Writing (My pressure relief valve, an outlet, a goal.)
- Contact with Friends and Family, preferably in-person but virtual works in a pinch. (Does this need explaining?)
- Sleep (Sleep is glue; without enough, everything else crumbles around me.)
On the back-up list...my drums, photography, a degree. All pieces of my dream. Pieces of me. Drums and photography give more than they take - the handful of minutes each requires per day provides a heart full of joy - while the degree...well, that's a demanding piece of the dream that I just can't afford, time- or money-wise, right now. Reading and genealogy...things that used to come first when asked to list my hobbies...sit neatly folded on a shelf, gathering dust, waiting on a special occasion (time).
I gave away my collection of volunteer hats a while back, all except one, our church planning committee. A very non-demanding position, and one close to my heart. But now I've added another, and I'm not sure it fits.
I admit it...part of me misses all of those hats. That was "Me" for such a long time...sitting on boards and committees, helping kids, helping things get started. I thrived on the selflessness and that sense of accomplishment. It's addictive.
I remember the year I was the elementary school librarian (my favorite job ever)...reading to the kids, teaching them to love books, mending the books, buying more books, being surrounded by words, stories, books...but barely paid minimum wage because I was just classified an 'aide' even though I was 'it' at the elementary. The Librarian.
I discovered that whenever I felt disgruntled about my pay, when that gray mantle was settling down and obscuring the joy of my work, I just had to think of myself as a paid Volunteer and POOF! the mantle was ripped aside and all I felt was joy once again.
I guess that's why I agreed to try on this new hat. Committed names were needed to get a nonprofit started, and I do believe it's a good, worthy cause. And the person who asked me is a dear friend. It's her passion and I wanted to help. But I realize it's not my passion.
I had forgotten Thomas Merton's words...
"To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything...destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful."
Tonight I've been going back and forth on what to do with the new hat. Now I know... maybe one day it'll fit, but for now, I need to give it back.