Friday, April 9, 2010

You have all the time there is

I used to think that, as time went on, the pieces of my life would fit together more closely.

Here's what I mean:  I've always felt my life was highly "compartmentalized".  I have a work piece, and a church piece, and a family piece (divided into my mother's side of family, my father's side of the family and my wife's family).  I have friends from school, friends from my old job, friends from the martial arts school.  But there isn't much overlap between the compartments.

From time to time, maybe everyone feels that their life is like that.  But when you're trying to devote a meaningful part of yourself and your time to each facet - and the only common thing in the facets seems to be you - scheduling alone is a b*tch.

I imagined that, as I grew older and...wiser (Oh God, make them stop laughing - someone's going to burst a blood vessel), I would find ways to better integrate these aspects of my life.  I don't imagine that anymore.  I realized yesterday, as I was working a couple extra hours in the office again, that my life is just as segregated as it ever was.

I work harder when I'm working, so that I can relax more (and/or longer) when I'm relaxing.  I constantly make decisions about what activity or aspect of my life will get a little less attention today, so that another part can get the attention it needs.  And, although I still am rather hopelessly overcommitted, I truly have gotten better at say "No" to things and stopping activities that were not enriching.  So why does it still seem such a struggle?

Here's my latest insight on that question:  Because as time goes on, the things we must do always get more difficult - not less.  The older you get, the more experience you have, the greater expectation there is - from others and from YOURSELF - of how much you can do and how quickly you can do it.  And I believe that expectation outpaces your actual ability to deliver.  Not that you can't do more things and do them better, faster, whatever - but that your abilities can't necessarily keep pace with expectations.

Let's face it - as time goes on, people don't ask you to do easier things, do they?  We start with the easy stuff and (theoretically) move on to things that are more difficult and complex.

So what can we do?  Well, I'm going to cut myself a little slack.  'Cause being distracted and tired never helped anybody be a better husband, or Dad, or boss, or friend.

I think that all made sense.  Time to go to work.

Take care.


Jess said...

Aw, great! You have totally bummed me out first thing in the morning! I so thought things were going to get easier! And what is with this wiser thing...

Ellie Belen said...

You are a multi-faceted person, the hub from where everything radiates. Sorry dude, why are you so likable?

Maybe we could start a kung fu choir or IRS ninjas.

Middle Aged Woman said...

I am entranced at the idea of IRS ninjas.

A very snobby person once said, "I do one thing at a time, I do it very well, and then I move on." I know you love to be busy, but I prefer to do fewer things and give them more attention. Even after having removed a major commitment from my life, I still feel I could use a few extra hours every day.

It would be nice to have an evening every week that was sacrosanct, just for us.

lisleman said...

Having survived two layoffs in this past decade, I don't quite agree with your thinking. It probably depends on your age and more importantly your position at work.
Certainly a personal choice but the last layoff gave me the conclusion that ladder climbing is over for me. It's a tricky situation and some days my choice seems to be working and others I'm full of doubt. I've been slowing down but staying active in new things that interest me.

My Fri Apr 9 post has a funny clip related to this - check it out.

Sprite's Keeper said...

I completely agree. With everything. Some days, I wonder how I'm going to have the same energy for the next day. I look forward to my weekends more when not so much is expected. And tomorrow is Monday which means I have to do it again for another five days!

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