Friday, January 11, 2013

Over... Everything.

No rest.

I was talking with a dear friend last night who is going through some major changes in her life. She's starting a new career, her husband is starting his own business. Her kids are going through some things. She's juggling 900 things and she let a couple of them fall (shocker!) and she said to me, "I'm just overwhelmed. I'm sorry. I shouldn't be, but I am."

And the moment she said it, I thought about how often over the past couple of weeks I've said, or thought the same thing. My husband is living in DC, my boys have just started a new virtual academy and right now my work load with that is HUGE and I have to do everything - EVERYTHING - by myself right now. And I'm overwhelmed.

Now. Why the hell should we be sorry about it? It's truth. We are overwhelmed. Our lives are full to overflowing with craziness and greatness and nonsense and dammit, we're overwhelmed.

So here's what I told her...

You are overwhelmed. Of course you are - anyone would be. There's nothing wrong or bad about it. In no way does it make you some kind of failure. It doesn't define you as a person, it's simply what is.

People - how often do we beat ourselves up for being where we are? I do it all the time, and I'm sick of it. I don't know why we feel the need to do it, and I really don't care. I just want to stop.

I just want to be.

Life is not perfect. Life is not always calm and serene and smooth sailing and well-decorated. Sometimes, life is just a god-awful mess and we are along for the ride. I'm not talking about the times when you are making choices that cause chaos. I'm talking about times when, completely outside of your control, everything around you threatens to rise up and suffocate you. How do you handle it?

Honestly - I don't have any answers. I'm not a therapist. But here's what I suggested, and here's what we are both going to try.

Find 30 minutes. If that's too much, make it 15, 20, whatever. Go somewhere if you can. If you can't go somewhere, find a place with a lock and threaten anyone who comes near you during that time. Get a cup of coffee if that soothes you; a milkshake if that works better. It doesn't matter. It just needs to be quiet and calm and away.


Cell phones off. iPad powered down. TV off. Disconnected from every thing and person and beep and vibration. The world will not end if you check out for 30 minutes. As a matter of fact, someone may realize they can solve a problem if they can't find you to solve it for them.

Sit. Listen. Be quiet. This is not prayer time, study time, list-planning time. This is quiet, peaceful relaxation. This is getting your head above water and floating on your back while you stare up at the blue, blue sky time.

This is breathing time. Be still.

When you come back, the circumstances will not have changed a bit.  In my case, Dr. SmartyPants will still be in DC. My boys will still be trying to wrap their minds around virtual school and my dogs will still be chewing up my furniture. More than likely, the laundry will not have done itself.

But you can face it. You'll still be overwhelmed by circumstances, but maybe your mind will be able to process them differently. Your list will not have decreased by one thing, but maybe your stress levels will have.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.