Overflowing Cups

My cup of life is full of sweetness. There’s enough bitter in the draft to make the sweet all the more satisfying, though. Essentially: I have too much to do. But it’s all good stuff. I decided I was going to stop think about it in terms of being overwhelmed, and start rethinking in terms of blessing.

My essay yesterday was more about dragging yourself up from the muck of despair, but the thought patterns are perhaps even more vital than the physical effort. It’s not that you aren’t tired: you will be. It’s not that bad luck doesn’t fall on your life like a tree on a roof from time to time. It’s how you think about it, and react to it, that will determine what the short term choices and efforts have on long term consequences.

Right now? I have to make some difficult choices. There’s only so much of me, and I can only stretch myself so far. Unlike past times, though, I don’t have to sacrifice my health to fatigue to make ends meet. I have the luxury of saying ‘I can’t do that anymore. I have to give it up.” which doesn’t make it easier, mentally, so I’m trying to reshape my thinking. Years of scrabbling for life have left me a workaholic. There’s something about fear for not only your own survival, but that of your children, that makes you willing to do anything, even reshape your own nature, to ensure all is well with their lives. Having achieved that, working constantly is… a bad habit.

That, and it makes me a dull girl. If I’m too worn out to enjoy where I’m at, what was the point? Well, the kids are growing and maturing. That was the point. It’s a worthy goal indeed! But now what for me? In a few years they’ll be on their own, the First Reader and I will have an empty nest and… I decided late last year that I’d work on my health. Not only the physical (although I’m down 16 pounds from my heaviest recorded weight at this point, and trending gently downward toward the first goal) but the mental as well. Being frustrated, overwhelmed, and constantly worrying about what I might be forgetting is not healthy, or happy, or conducive to my relationships with others. So it was time to prune my obligations. Not obligations to others. Things I wanted to do.

It seems that I need to sit down take long walks to get my mind straight. I’d been neglecting that part of me the last few years. Writing, school, work in windowless labs… I need the outdoors. I always have, but I’d pushed it aside subconsciously as selfish of me to take that time to wander along listening to birdsong and using my eyes to feast on the wonder of the forest. This spring, I’ve been hiking and walking initially as a way to enhance the wightloss and overall physical fitness. In the process, I rediscovered something I had forgotten.

If your days are too full, you lose the creative edge. You need – at least I do, but I believe this is a human thing – some down time for your brain to work properly. Personally, I get exhausted, and frustrated, and stop being able to fully create. Which I find more frustrating, and I push it, and it gets worse and it’s a terrible cycle to get into. That, and I don’t like winter darkness (it’s worst not in December, but February) and well this spring has been very good for me.

Success does not always engender happiness. Being mindful of the daily joys does that. I’m at a point in my life where I’m successful past my wildest dreams. No, not rich. Still need to work for my living. But I am a scientist, and a writer, and an artist and my kids are safe healthy and happy and my husband gets that look on his face when I am around. Life is grand. If I don’t stop every so often and think about this, I start sliding into the morass of uncertainty and doubt and do I really deserve this? So going for long walks helps me get back to counting my blessings.

I’m rambling, and out of time for writing today. Perhaps tomorrow I can get back to creative writing. But I won’t beat myself up in my own head if I don’t. I have the rest of a lifetime for the writing, and the loving, and the living.



4 responses to “Overflowing Cups”

  1. Leaving you a big heart emoji! And you’ve always had a good work ethic. I would say the difficult times have probably strengthened it, but it’s always been there.

  2. PapaPat .Patterson Avatar
    PapaPat .Patterson

    These are truths that we need to repeat to ourselves, over and over, until we live them out.

  3. I’ve had ideas tickling at the edges of my mind, but physical exhaustion and emotional overload have been smothering them. Here’s to June and July, two months that this year are mine and mine alone! No continuing ed obligations, no brand new material to cram, just me, travel, and rest. I need it, I know I need it.