Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Some Lessons



Favourite and rare blue fog outside my front door, May 2013

My father was a cautious, careful man. A man who didn't take risks. A man whose boundaries were very clear. A man formed by his own childhood, for aren't we all? It took me years to understand him. Another few years to toss out the stuff from him I didn't want or need. Another few again to sort out the chaff from the wheat. One of the most startling things of all was when I asked him (in my own middle age by then) what he would have done with his life if earning a living was not a priority and he said: "I would have bred roses". It was a side of my father he had rarely made visible.

We take from each of our parents character traits that are helpful or not. I don't like the words "bad" and "good". For that is too subjective, truly. What works for some doesn't work for others. It's neither bad nor good in my mind.

This thought process was rolled out by a simply marvellous book I just finished about a mother and a daughter - "Amy and Isabelle." by Julia Glass. There were many great lines in it. One of the most profound (among many), I found, was this one:

"Bewilderiung that you could harm a child without even knowing, thinking all the while you were being careful, conscientious."

As I slip and slide into the more serious elder years I share more of my inner with my loved ones. My ongoing struggles with procrastination. The changes I make in the behaviours that do not serve me well - like procrastination. In my own case I tend to get overwhelmed when there is too much on my plate. And it's not about the "too much on my plate" at all. I finally see this. It is in the way I manage it.

So for now, today, I strike one item off the list. And I feel accomplished.

And most important of all, I do not look at the rest. Until I pick another one from the list tomorrow.

22 comments:

  1. WW, please do share your behaviour changes stuff re being overwhelmed by not too much, but the way you manage it. I think I have been learning the same lesson, but still haven't gotten on top of it.

    I work with the affirmation "I have all the time in the world," and try to simplifly, simplify, simplify. But just the daily fundamentals seem to overwhelm -- the getting-in of food, the preparation of food, the cleaning-up after food -- and that's just the basics.

    For me: migraines. My inner self tells me it's not because of what I do or don't do, so much as because of the way I "respond" to events and situations. That sounds like what you're talking about. So I am paying attention to what you're saying! Because migraines suck the big one.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Downsizing the plate makes sense. The less it holds, the fewer things to worry about.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I no longer want to worry about who i am and what I am.
    Enough already.

    I want to live and let live - myself first and foremost - and not give myself tasks, admonishments, punishments.

    True, sometimes there is too much on ones plate and I feel I cannot cope. If I can I will sort it out, if I can’t I’ll pay someone to sort it out for me. If neither works, I forget it.

    Throughout my life I have fought demons; enough already.

    What’s the item off your list? Do tell.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It seems to me your learning to slow down just a little and take things easier - one of the great privileges of maturity. I'm still struggling with it. Sometimes my plate appears so huge it's virtually tectonic.

    ReplyDelete
  5. SJG:

    I get the silent migraines which are more manageable as there's no pain just the auras and flashing lights. I sympathise with you.

    I will do another post on what I've done to get that blasted to do list more manageable.

    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  6. GM:
    It's getting the plate downsized that is the challenge!
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  7. RJA:

    Yes, I can so relate, especially as I'm winding down my business. Very very difficult.

    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  8. As teenagers, we thought we knew everything there was to know about our parents. We were clueless. As parents we think we know everything about our children. We are clueless.

    Thank you for the insight.

    ReplyDelete
  9. You have been following my posts for a long time and wold know that for me events just kept overtaking me not because I deserved them or sought them, but because I was in the right place at the right time, again and again and some force kept me going upward. In the process, I really missed out on what I really wanted to do, which was to run a small farm. My late wife and I even bought one before her health put paid to that retirement plan and I had to become a full time care giver. Like your father, I missed out!

    Like you, I have just finished a book but, which is different in the contents, that talks about two mindsets. The fixed mindset and the growth mindset. Thanks to some good mentoring I became the latter in my early thirties and that has saved me from being frustrated. There are some remarkable quotes in that too which I am saving for use in my posts at opportune times.

    I too strongly believe that good and bad do not make sense and different makes. Like either or vs and.

    If there is a will, there is a way. Truism but it works. Keep striking items off the list. It happens by itself!

    ReplyDelete
  10. No matter how hard I try now in my old yars and how effortlessly I managed it 'then', I can barely stay able. It's one thing after another gets broken, or wrecked in some way and takes other parts of me with it. I speak of actual physical body.

    I can't find how to follow you, get your posts in my e-mail, whatever. I don't want to miss this opportunity of hooking up with women over 60. We are rare on the netz. I do enjoy the perspectives of younger women on the issues that concern me, I being a feminist, but where are the old ones, I wonder, in this movement that badly needs us. Oh I have read a few, but they seem to breath rarer air, still with their careers, writing books on feminist theory (yay!), but what about the foot soldiers like me? Surely there are more out there?

    ReplyDelete
  11. You know, when people put food on smaller plates, they eat less and maybe in a metaphorical way it makes sense to present ourselves with fewer options so that we do less. When we get to our deathbeds, I don't think how many items we struck off some arbitrary list is really going to be a concern.

    Mostly I agree about character traits being subjective and not necessarily good or bad, but not completely. There are parents who have character traits that are so damaging that I think you can safely label them (those traits) as "bad." Physical, sexual and emotional abuse, say.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Procrastination tends to have a negative meaning, but if it simply means postponing something that isn't as urgent as you imagine, and easing your chore-load, then that seems okay to me. Perhaps we should distinguish between lazily pushing something away and having a sensible order of priorities.

    ReplyDelete
  13. "And it's not about the "too much on my plate" at all. I finally see this. It is in the way I manage it." Excellente pointe olde scribe. Something I need to remember in my procrastination-overwhelming days. vp

    ReplyDelete
  14. David:
    Welcome!

    The longer I live the less I know about anyone and everything.

    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  15. Ramana:

    Yes, but who determines the list?
    LOL

    Xo
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anon:
    Yes there are more like us, often weary from the struggle, I know I am as I see so much regression in rights it makes me so sad.

    Girls of today? So many are clueless and swallow the patriarchal koolaid.

    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  17. SAW:

    I think perhaps we need to dig far deeper than the labelling. So many are fast asleep and quite unaware of their own abusive natures due to earlier conditioning, shame, abuse, name it. My father was such. He was in a bubble of denial. Forever. His children still carry their own turmoil but labelling him "bad" would not be helpful. Wounded, troubled, yes.

    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  18. Nick:

    Along with bad, lazy is not a word I use either.

    I think people who procrastinate, hoard, etc. are full of fear. Of the unknown, of even success. often perfectionists which is a recipe for 'failure' if I ever heard it. Prioritizing is also difficult. For me anyway with so much tugging on my apron strings all saying they're of the highest importance.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  19. Veep:

    I also believe that depressives (recognized or unrecognized) are particularly prone to procrastination. Feelings of worthlessness, etc., collide with the stress of jobs uncompleted.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete

Some of you are having trouble, I've removed captcha and verification so we'll see how that goes. My apologies. Blogger is putting up far too many roadblocks. Thanks for the emails alerting me.
wisewebwomanatgmail.com