Slow Motion (Part 1)

Slow Motion (Part 1)

Check it off the list.

Finish the job.

That task will be hanging over my head until it’s completely done.

Any of those sound familiar?

There are two sides to every coin. On one side is laziness and lack of impetus to get started. On the other is an impulsive, burning drive that pushes me to keep chugging along, a fire that never quite goes out. Keep tidying the edges, always think a few steps ahead, keep improving, my eyes staying glued to the horizon even as it moves steadily away from me into the forever-distance.

In case it’s not obvious, I am the second half of that coin.

I tend toward a mindset of workaholism and burnout. What makes this more complicated is my high capacity for work and organization. My stamina and focus allow me to tackle a high volume of tasks and responsibilities.

The following is a pretty fair caption of my thoughts:

Did you bite off more than you could chew, Elise? Then you’ll just have to buckle down and work harder so you can get something off your plate. Once it’s done, you can breathe.

Pro tip: Working doggedly to finish something so that you can “earn” the space to rest is a recipe for ruining those so-called moments of rest. It’s not fair to label that quiet hour at the end of the night “rejuvenation” if I’m so fried I can’t have an adult conversation.

Since I have a birthday that almost perfectly coincides with the New Year, I’ve spent the past two years taking a long morning by myself at a spa to spend time in silent rest and reflection, taking the chance to “start fresh” alongside the new year.

Apparently, I have to go to a fancy place with heated pools and meditation rooms if I’m going to slow down long enough for my heart to try a different, slower rhythm. Then again, I think this is a pretty normal thing for many people, especially those who live with young children.

This year at the spa, I brought along a few books, as well as a journal and a guided planner. Because I can’t just lay around all morning, I have to use it productively! (Ha! Do you see it? This leopard can’t entirely change her spots!)

Becoming a mom was a harsh wake-up call for me, especially with my tendency to overcommit and overwork myself. I went through a deep depression and identity crisis (roughly ten years ago) when I discovered that it was all I could do to just care for the physical needs of my newborn son.

And now, with my two elementary-aged kids and their growing independence from me, that desperate cycle of night feedings and diapers or even of potty training and bedtime routines is a thing of the past. But I’ve also faced up to the very stark truth that I can’t do it all anymore.

I can’t just work harder to make up the deficit when I’m overloaded. So, if working harder isn’t the answer, then how will I healthily navigate this quandary?

I believe there’s hope for change for me, but it’s not going to be an answer that I’ll just rush into.

I think I’ll have to move toward it in slow motion. (More thoughts on this are forthcoming in a future post.)

For now, I wish you a slow and peaceful start to the second month of your new year. 🙂

(You can read part-two of this blog post here)


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