It has occurred to me lately that I am a person who allows herself to become overly obligated. This applys to nearly every aspect of my life, from charity work to helping my kids (who are now fully grown). Why I continue to do this to myself is a little beyond me and leads me to endless bouts of depression, self-pity, resentment and anxiety. Pretty lame. I think I may have it figured out finally though - what drives me to keep taking on more than I should.
It's my "drug" of choice. Some people drink, others eat, shop, are promiscuous, do actual drugs, exercise themselves silly, etc. All obsessive compulsive behaviors. Keeping myself loaded up with "stuff" to do has become for me, the way I tamp down feelings or avoid getting to things I really ought to be doing or thinking about/addressing. I've written before about my apparent inability to say "no" to a friend or family member who's asked for help. I don't think that it's because I seek approval so much as perhaps just filling up the ennui of my life. At least this is what I have been thinking lately.
Of course the problem with saying yes all the time is that the obligations do pile up. I end up feeling anxious because I'm behind schedule, overstretched financially or just plain TIRED. I end up with stacks of commitments that end up making me feel guilty if I can't get to them. The other side of this coin is feeling good if I DO get to the piles of work and get them done. It's just that there always seems to be a new pile.
Maybe this is how life is? Perhaps we all take on too much and fill our lives with tasks, debt, social and work obligations and the minutae of daily living/households. Where is the time to just STOP and be quiet, both literally and figuratively? For me, even when I sleep my mind seems to be racing, all the time. My dreams are filled with chasing, vivid color and quests, as if even in sleep I can't keep up. The result is endless worry and never being able to outrun, outwit and outlast the chase, to borrow a "Survivor" phrase.
American life has gotten pretty fast. It's why I love going up to the Northwoods so much. There I seem to be able to handle my tasks - maybe because I'm watching the buzz of hummingbirds and gazing out at a pretty lake between jobs and tasks. I take the time to go down to the pier for even 10 minutes in the evening just to sit and stare. It's wonderful. I find the time to read when I'm there. Or to play a game of cards or boardgame with friends or family. Life slows down - or so it seems. Whay can't that translate to my life when I'm at "home".
Something to think about. Now I have to go fish the puppy out of yet another wastebasket, put another load of clothes in the washer and shower for a barbeque this afternoon. Let the races begin....