I have been living within my limitations for about a month now, which means I have moved into frustration and irritation. I get why I have to lead a quiet life, but most of the time I am not happy about it. It seems to be this perpetual loop I’m riding – feeling good, feeling unproductive, feeling frustrated, getting unhappy, having a meltdown, having a “come to Jesus” moment, being at peace, living within my boundaries, feeling good, and on and on it goes. I feel good when I live within my physical and mental health boundaries, but then, as I feel more and more good, I start realized how unproductive I am. I used to be so busy and a good kind of busy, not just busy for being busy. I worked and I loved my work. I loved my work before the last work I did and even the work before that. It was an adventure and it was always something new because of the fields I was in. I was also good at working and I got a lot of praise for how well I worked. Plus, we had four children at home and they had busy, but fun lives. Choir concerts, lunches to make, parties to go to, band events, and soccer games. And, I was a good mom with thank you’s from the children and notes of love and appreciation.
Now, there’s none of that work stuff and only a tiny amount of child stuff. No feeling good about working hard and the ideas flowing and the creativity. No long hours working through a problem to get just the right answer. No seeing a completed project. No importance of the work I am doing. It’s mostly just housework and I don’t have a very high opinion of how important that is – I mean, the house is just going to get dirty again. The rest of how I spend my time is reading and blogging about what I’m reading and some scrapbooking. I’m currently going through all of our family albums (going back to 1990) and pulling out many of the pictures and school papers so that our four, mostly grown, children can have their own albums. As far as the blogging, I enjoy it, don’t get me wrong. There’s just not much interaction in blogging. You know what I mean? There are no meetings to discuss anything. No projects to complete. No changes in how I do things, other than a bit of new information that I’m sharing because of a topic change.
I’m not complaining, I’m just in my frustration point of the cycle. The job third back was as a “virtual” administrative assistant, but I did more than that. I also did some graphic design for clients (which is where I fell in love with it and went back to college at age 40 to get a degree in graphic design, which I didn’t ever really use because I got sick). I arranged for meetings occasionally. I created reports and dealt in gathering information about clients and figuring out how we could best serve them. I did some other stuff too – did you know there are businesses where you can “buy” new phone numbers that will seamlessly roll into your current phone number, but that tracks every phone call? I’m sure you do know that, but maybe you haven’t thought of the business end of it. You hear it all the time – “this call may be recorded for training purposes” or whatever they may be using the recorded calls for. Well, the data also tracks who is calling and all sorts of other specific things about the caller. I got to set up those phone numbers and sift through that data to help customers find out who exactly is calling. Another fun thing, probably my favorite thing, was to go through public databases to find out who owned what land around my state and in a few other areas around the country and to compile the data. For instance, the owner, their address, and how many acres they own. I produced parcel maps and that data so we would know exactly the areas and farmers we wanted to pinpoint. My children called me a spy when they finally understood exactly what I was doing.
One of the craziest times in my job, that lasted only about six months, had all of the challenges and frustrations and excitement that I lived for back then. See, there are abandoned house auctions happening every day throughout the US. We had an investment group in our state who bought a bunch of these houses around the country. The problem is, you can’t get into the houses to see what kind of condition they may be in until you’ve bought them. I can’t believe people sink money into this kind of scary deal, but a lot of people do. My job? I got to hire investigators all around the country to go and check out these houses. I created the applications, interviewed the applicants, hired them, created the reports they would send in to me so that I could compile the information from to create a new report to send to the investors. There was so much more to it though. I had to contact Home Depots all across the country to buy equipment because part of the investigator’s job was to secure the location as best they could. It was crazy fun and required so much organization and thinking and thinking ahead to what was going to be needed in each area. I got to create reports (I love reports!) and there were timelines and deadlines and I had to stay on top of it all. So, you can see, I’ve had some crazy good jobs that have been exciting and varied and important to someone. Now, here I sit with none of that. Again, not complaining, just really, really frustrated and feeling a bit angry that so much has been taken from me.
You know how parrots will start picking and pulling out their own feathers from boredom? That’s how I feel, but I don’t have any feathers. I just have words. I read the words in books like The Worn Out Woman (Stephens and Gray) and wish that I was worn out from too much to do. I am worn out because there isn’t enough to do or enough of any importance. I want to work. I want to push myself, but I know if I do, I will wind up back in bed with terrible anxiety and unable to cope with anything and I am really, really scared of that. There are many wonderful ideas in this book though, many I strive to put into practice in my life, like turning my frustrations over to God to let Him carry for awhile. I try, but they always come back. I take time for myself, it’s all I do. I go for an hour long walk every day. I listen to TED Talks on my walks to enrich my mind and to learn new things. I get enough sleep. I actually sleep about ten hours a night. I have to so that I can feel mostly “normal” and function like a “normal” person. I eat healthy. I take my meds. I doodle. I write letters. I read good books. I study my scriptures. And I am bored. I feel good, which makes me feel unproductive and I have that nagging feeling that I could be doing so. much. more.
So, let’s get on with it, now that you know my state of mind. The Worn Out Woman is a crazy good book to me. I read it the first time when I was a being a busy mom with four young children and life was chaotic. It was like a breath of fresh air and like hitting pause on all of the craziness around me. It gave me a new perspective and hope that I could manage my life in a calm, peaceful, productive way. While this book has a lot of spiritual messages, it isn’t really based on the gospel of Jesus Christ. There aren’t scriptures to study, so it didn’t really draw my heart to God. It drew my heart to His peace that He promises though and to seeking that. This book has changed my heart each time I have read it. It reminds me of the peace that we can create in our lives through such small and simple acts – like noticing nature from sitting on the front porch to having a morning routine. All of those reminders lead up to hope. Hope that life will sort itself out and we can slow down and enjoy the path we are on. I really do recommend it. If I were you, I’d order it right now from Amazon and I’m not saying that because I’m biased. Okay, maybe a little. It is one of my favorite books.