I think I’m beginning to dread summers. For the past three years they have been chaotic times for me, and they are coming to represent chaos on a larger scale than ever now.
There is the family chaos of kids and spouse that is ongoing, but seems to somehow intensify from May to September, that drains much of my creative energy away. Then there is the chaos of extended family which contributes the stress affecting my family and my ability to focus on the needs and priorities of my home. Much of this I simply have to resign myself to because – simply put – I can’t get rid of the members of family just because they annoy me at times.
There is the personal chaos of having too many things on my plate at once. am aware that I need to be more selective in the activities I take and the commitments I make. I love being active and involved in things, but the ability to say no to some requests is a skill which continually needs developing. There are times I’m better at this than others. Now isn’t one of the better ones, and I find that I am committed to the gills for weeks and weeks.
Now there is the employment chaos – again. I believe God laughs when we make plans because they represent an opportunity to have a little fun with human lives. God, the universe, (insert the deity of your choice here) must look at our well-crafted planning as a means for personal entertainment. Not that I honestly think God personally sets out to have fun at the expense of humans, but it does on occasion feel that way.
The most frustrating part of the whole work thing is that, with the collapse of each well-crafted plan, each new step I seem to be facing is a step away from my heart. Every time I have to shift my employment to a new set of circumstances (for very practical and important reasons, I assure you), I watch my writing time diminish, and my writing goals slip further and further from my hands. I go weeks without making serious progress on a manuscript, and the stress of not being able to spend the time I want and need on my writing is beginning to take a tole on my mental health. It’s like the old “I Love Lucy” episode, where Lucy and Ethel go to work at a candy factory and everything starts to go wrong:
Everything is backed up, spilling off the conveyor, and Lucy and Ethel have to struggle to make things look as if they are normal. Of course, that only results in a bigger set of problems.
That’s where I am now.
There seems to be an enormous difference between what I want to do and what I have to do. That difference creates a conflict that is elevating my stress level to dangerous heights. Trying to resolve this is overwhelming me, so the result is that very little is being accomplished to any reasonable degree. It feels as if my brain is in a blender set to “frappe” right now.
It’s a truly frustrating place to be, and I’m hoping the answer makes itself known to me soon.