Saturday, November 07, 2009

Pulled In Many Directions

Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Since my camera is still out of commission, I have turned to my photo archives. Fortunately, I have a lot of images stored away.

This is where I want to be. Yes, it would be nice to be at Morro Bay, watching the tide rise and fall, but what I actually seek is the quiet and peace of this image. Peace, and quiet in the mind... that is what I need. From our whirly swirl through Europe, to the trials and obstacles of going through escrow, and the very exhausting, frantic and labor intensive weeks of moving out of rental purgatory, followed by flu and other ailments... all of it has felt like a frenetic, fast paced, intense wild mouse and I am so ready to step off this roller coaster.

I feel like there is so much to do... probably because there is so much to do and I cannot seem to prioritize and manage it.

"It:" Unpacking, cleaning, playing and bonding with neglected children, celebrating Max's August 3rd birthday, planning Maria's 5th birthday, sewing, crafting, cooking, organizing, making something profound and possibly lucrative, reducing our material wealth junk by 25% and did I mention cleaning-unpacking-organizing?

It feels like, whatever I choose, I am missing out on something else, failing in some other area of my life and duties. I see the world moving on without me. People going places and doing things, while I hang back in a stupefied trance. Part of it is being 42 years old and trying to be a Super-Mom Suburban Wonder Woman, but having moved 8 times in the last 18 years my earnest attempts to be effective and good are utterly and regularly dismantled. Once again, when I want to be reaping the benefits of stability, to know where my square baking pan is, I am starting from scratch. I am trying to do too much in the midst of chaos, and it is very demoralizing.

I can see the happy outcome... that we have our own home and this is definitely a dream come true. I love the rock days when I can pause and delight in the pleasure of work that is play. Everyone has been sick, but everyone is healing, so there is more to be thankful for. I just cannot seem to calm my mind and figure out what to do first and what to do after that...

I cannot put away the DVDs until we strap the tall cabinet to the wall.
Why am I unpacking movies, when I should finish planting the new prepared flower beds?
Who needs flowers when the house and garage are filled to the ceiling with unpacked boxes?
The beds have to be filled before it rains, because it's all about the drainage and not letting water get into the foundation.
If I don't make plans for the holidays and celebrations, the days are going to slip by and catch me unprepared, and we will wind up with another season of postponement and deferment.
Did I answer that email, that phone call, that urgent request for volunteers?
Why aren't I organized? After all these years, you would think I could keep track of a stupid camera battery?!
Weight loss.
Three balanced meals a day.
Maria needs new shoes. Her winter shirts are too small.
The boys need haircuts. They want haircuts.
Cat litter.
Print pictures from vacation, so you can remember how wonderful it was.
Plant flowers.
Prune roses.
Send thank you cards.

Where do I begin?
I know it never really gets done... not all of it, not all at once. There is always something. But I really want to reach a point where I can feel some balance, some sense of accomplishment and peace of mind.

Did I hear you say "delegate?" Yes, I am doing that. I am getting children to pull their weight. And I have definitely lowered my expectations, reduced my personal goals, but believe me I should not lower them any more than this... even troglodytes would want to raise the bar from where I am standing.

I think I will start with kitty litter, then the day can only get better, right?


Julie said...

The last time we moved, I had boxes upon boxes all around me in every room, including the kitchen. Could not find the things I was looking for. Ever. I bought some brightly colored tulips and put them in a vase on the kitchen counter and they gave me a cheery focal point every time I passed by....I think you probably NEED those flowers planted right now. :)

~KQ~ said...

Hi. I don't know if this might help, and so - as it is not necessarily advice I feel ready to take myself - feel free to toss it out with the next junk run.
When my son was a little boy, he would often become overwhelmed by what seemed to be monumental tasks. Like, say, cleaning his room. It did not help that he has always been somewhat of a perfectionist. We developed a system: I'd look around the room, and I'd say, "okay, just pick up all of your shoes", and he'd proceed. I'd give him small, bite-sized tasks, one at a time, and eventually he'd see the light at the end of the tunnel and be able to finish on his own.
I do find, when I am overwhelmed by the monstrosity of my to-do list, that this system works. I also succumb to distraction (easily, like now, for instance) and it helps to set a timer for 30-minute increments to focus the work. But maybe that's just me...?
Good luck, Natalie! Please remember to be kind to yourself. No matter what happens, you remain beloved.
Oh, and beautiful photos! :)

Chris said...

Breathe, girl! My goodness, you are so busy. You need to cut yourself some slack...

I can tell that the years of yearning for your place have taken their toll and you're rushing to see your dream complete. But don't miss out on the joy (yes, even where you're standing) in the journey. Each piece that goes out the door, or in it's newly found place is an accomplishment. One that you couldn't have imagined a few months ago. Rome wasn't built...neither will be The Bird House.

I am so thrilled for your family! I know I will be amazed at the HOME you create!

Fondly, Chris

judy in ky said...

Well, that's where I would start!

mtnchild said...

I'm tired just reading your list! Take time for yourself. I know, I know that sounds impossible, but just 10 minutes will help you catch your breath.

Be good to yourself, or you will fall down.


nikkipolani said...

Wait, let's go back to Morro Bay, shall we? Did you ever get the fabulous halibut sandwiches at one end of the string of shops?

Okay, maybe that mental vacation didn't help too much with your list and the round-and-round questions that entangle your priorities. But maybe a few deep breaths would help. And some hugs.

Bitterbetty said...

I vote for putting in the tulips.

I like to alternate between one thing that I am long to do and one thing I am dreading...

It's a close as I have ever been able to come to balance.

barbara said...

Cut yourself some slack. I think you are being too hard on yourself. Horrible fatigue is the aftermath of the H1N1 flu, so you have reason to feel tired and overwhelmed. Do ask the kids and husband to HELP and don't try to be Super Mom. Moving can be gruesome, I remember one move with a 3 week old baby and a two year old, where I would find myself standing in a room with unpacked boxes, in a total daze, unable to decide what I should do next. Do a little bit at a time, and eventually all will be unpacked.

the Provident Woman said...

Those are amazing pictures! Feel free to share your archived pictures anytime.

I also wanted to let you know I have a giveaway on my blog. If it's not the latest post click on the What am I? picture on one of the right sidebars.

Tiglizzyclone said...

Love the photos!

I feel for you... doing too much ... and feeling demoralized.

I am in the process of moving stuff from one place to another. I have lots of junk/stuff in a storage shed. It is a mess!