Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Monday, May 17, 2010

Done for the Week: Time to Clean Up My Act

    Monday again.  Feels like about six minutes since last Monday.  A new week stretches before me, also about six minutes long, but with about six months worth of "have-tos" and "really oughtas."  I'm not sure how to reconcile this, but I know it will require meditating, culling, and further efforts to quiet my brain and my adrenal gland.  

    Here's what I can remember of what got done in the six-minute whoosh of time that was last week.

    Done List--Week of May 10-16
    1. Continued 5K training, mostly on recumbent bike due to foot injury
    2. Finished The Last Time I Saw You, by Elizabeth Berg; The Total De-stress Plan:  A Complete guide to Working with Positive and Negative Stress, by Beth MacEoin
    3. Took my blood pressure daily
    4. Attended monthly organization meeting
    5. Published 5 blog posts
    6. Meditated 5 times
    7. Prepared adolescent for prom date; attended prom parent functions; waited up for late curfew
    8. Made coffee for, attended and gave presentation at my congregation's annual meeting
    9. Attended bill signing for transitional jobs legislation
    10. Attended daughter's graduation (something of a miracle, because of schedule conflicts, an impoverished gas tank, stimulus-funded road construction and resulting traffic snarls, and downtown parking challenges) 
    11. Helped son look for a car
    12. Worked on new website for fledgling jobs group
    13. Supported my mom by phone through week of feeling ill
    14. Took my dog for several walks
    15. Wrote Morning Page three times
    16. Began gratitude journal
    17. Survived spouse's acute depressive state
    18. Practiced yoga once
    19. Began household cleanup campaign
    20. Tried, and mostly succeeded, not to stress over teenager's first solo driving trip out of state  

    Last week's focus goal was to try to disentangle myself somewhat from the ups and downs in the lives of my two teenaged sons.  Three items on the above list, highlighted in green, are related to this goal.  The two car-related accomplishments, (#s 11 and 20) both pertain to my older, nearly adult son.  I did a better job distancing myself from the half-day road trip than from the car purchase process.  He is tending toward "cool" cars befitting his preferred self-image, while I would like him to buy something safe whose purchase and upkeep won't compete with impending student loans for his and our resources--what he calls a "Grandma car."  I'm trying to breathe deeply, and remember what kind of car I purchased at his age--and the fact that my parents had to live with my ill-considered marriage at that same age.  The younger teen had to listen to lots of mini-lectures prior to prom--somewhat earned by previous questionable choices--and to contend with a bit too much hovering.  In the end, I bent more than I was planning to on the matter of curfew.  Progress, probably.

    My biggest upcoming challenge in this long passage to mother-of-only-adults is standing back while my elder son decides whether or not to enter school this summer, as planned, or to spend a little more time transitioning.  I confess to a whole range of physiological stress symptoms whenever I visit his future in my mind.  Again, deep breathing is in order, I suppose.  And probably less attention to the whole issue.  It is, after all, his life, and as much as I might wish to protect him from the failure I fear, or the difficulty of what feels to me like massive change, he will need his own failures and successes to grow.  And besides, if I know so much about how life should be lived, maybe I should be applying more of that wisdom to my own quandaries.

    In red above is what seems, from the vantage point of this particular Monday morning, as I sit here surrounded by the dirt and dishevelment left by my household of four humans, one canine, and two frequently visiting preschoolers, to be last week's most important achievement.  So important, in fact, that I have decided to make its continuance this week's focus goal.  I have been doing a lot of things to try and address my need for peace of mind in ways that concern my own body and mind.  But the external disorder surrounding me is disrupting my internal state.  I recall an episode of the TV drama Family that I used to watch many years ago--when I probably should have been working on my dissertation.  The mother, played by Sada Thompson, with a semi-permanent wrinkle of concern perforating her forehead, said to her grown daughter, herself a single mother of a toddler, that hers (the daughter's) was "not the home of a happy woman."  Or something to that effect.  I have remembered that little snippet of manufactured conversation for so long because it spoke to me then.  As it speaks to me now.

    I think it's time to make my home that of a happier woman.  So I can be.

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