When I was a little girl, I remember waking up one morning and sitting at the top of the stairs in my pajamas, listening to the breakfast conversation of my family down below. For some reason, instead of feeling comforted by the sounds of my family, I felt left behind, forgotten, lonely, like I was somehow missing out. Why hadn’t someone woken me up? The feeling of sadness stayed with me. Looking back, I can see that the left behind feeling I experienced had more to do with time being left behind. That I was out of synch with my normal schedule, and on some subliminal level, this bothered me. I don’t like to lose time, waste time, be behind time, and be left waiting.
I still feel this way today. I can plan a day of activities with the very best of intentions of getting everything done on my “to do” list, but when something comes up that throws that list off kilter, I feel disoriented for the rest of the day. Why is that? Is there some part of my makeup that associates being out of synch with time being lost, never to be made up — like walking on a treadmill and going nowhere? I feel like all of my life I have done things later than most. I had children late, I took piano lessons as an adult, I learned to swim in my twenties, and now, at sixty, I am publishing my first book and virtually feeling like my career is finally taking off. I know – better late than never. But the question remains – Why do I feel like I’ll miss something if I don’t stay in synch with my life journey?
My son keeps telling me to relax. There’s no need to hurry to get somewhere, or do something. And while I know he’s right, I still feel like I need to get everything done or others will be disappointed. So, I wonder if that’s the problem. Am I trying to please everyone, or is it myself I don’t want to let down? A friend of mine has a Bucket List that he says will take two lifetimes to accomplish. I wonder how he manages to feel “in the moment” when there’s so much he wants to do. I think I would feel under constant pressure to get it all done lest I run out of time. And that’s at real possibility at any age. Although I suppose it’s nice to have things to look forward to. I feel like I need to be one step ahead of where I am.
When I have nothing to do I feel like I’m wasting time. I even struggle sometimes when I watch a movie I’ve seen before. Am I wasting my time when I could be watching something totally new and different? So what do I do? And that’s always the question, isn’t it?
SOME THINGS I’VE TRIED IN ORDER TO RELAX:
Meditation: takes time away from an already busy schedule leaving me further behind.
Journalling: perversely takes longer than meditation, but I like to write because it gets the words and the worry out of my head and onto the page.
Music: much like meditating – must listen to music while doing something else.
Exercise: is as necessary as breathing to me, so easy to do on a regular basis. But doesn’t always calm me. Sometimes, it’s just one more thing to do on a busy day.
JUST SAY NO:
As I write this, it occurs to me that the answer to my problem is in the act of saying, “NO”. Say “NO” to the uneasiness that comes with feeling left behind. Say “NO” to feeling out of synch for the rest of the day. Say “NO” to allowing my self-worth to be wrapped up in not getting something done today. JUST SAY NO. Maybe I need to stop trying to figure it out — trying to understand why I feel this way. The past is not the present, I can choose to feel differently in this moment. What do you think? Is it worth a shot?