Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Daily Battle

Life is always difficult for me. Not, because I'm a drama queen and exaggerate the smallest annoyance into a major uphill (both directions) battle, but rather because I am an extreme Type A Personality.

Unless something is worth doing 110% right, I won't do it all. I'll overlook dirty dishes for weeks, but if my books are out of order, forget it. I'll spend the whole afternoon re-ordering the bookshelf. Dishes will merely pile up after the next meal. Unless we're out of something essential, they can wait.

Unless I can give it my best, including the desire to achieve that 110%, I don't see it as worth doing.

I'm also a touch independent. If I pass something off to someone else, I drop it completely. I'm not good at handholding and I don't want mine held either. Don't do it for me; I'll do it myself.

The last few weeks, since mid-July, I've been slapped in the face several times. I've been forced to admit that my best, my 110% isn't good enough.

And I can't control it.

I'm not the only one baring my soul on the Internet this month. Anne Frasier post quite candidly about being broken. Heather Armstrong shares her struggle with depression. Another friend, knowing that I'm struggling, shared that she has recently as well, along with a few others she knows.

What is it about August that brings all of this out?

Recently at one of my writer meetings, one member posed the question, why is American society so focused on the positive? Given our generally European background, most of us are religious or at least familiar with a religion. Why then don't we spend more time examining ourselves? Self examination should be a given, since we are sinful and that's what the Bible encourages.

No one had any answers. Everyone had a few theories. Mine went something like this:

Self examination would mean acknowledging that something is wrong. If something is wrong, we've been trained by marketing campaigns to shop until we find what fixes us. That works until the credit card bills show up and the decision becomes food or creditors.

Self examination would mean acknowledging that I have no control over certain events in my life. My husband and I are buying a business. We are a fraction of an inch away from having a closing date. We should have closed mid-to-end-of-June. Every delay was caused by something I couldn't touch. I had to accept that the delay meant depleting resources and overextending ourselves in more ways than I care to admit. My husband took a pay cut that was about 1/3 of his original salary. The road to recovery will be arduous

Self examination would mean acknowledging that my best just wasn't good enough when I took my GRE placement test as required by UWO for enrollment in their MBA program. (See, this is why the business should have closed at least a month ago. Worry about both at the same is detrimental to my mental and emotional strength.) I don't have my official score yet, but I was short by 40 points on the math portion. Even though I've been studying for the last 30 days.

Naval gazing is the sort of thing that I generally leave to my journal writing. Except I haven't done that lately either. I don't want to admit, even to myself, that right now I feel like a failure.

Logically, I know that I've been doing everything that I can to juggle all of the above, while raising two wonderful boys, working 40 hours a week and keeping up with my house. A tiny portion of my brain refuses to acknowledge that my best isn't what I wanted.

Actually, the house work has been easy. I'm great at organizing things.

In another 30 days, I'll have some of the issues solved by default. Either we close on the business or we won't. Either UWO will admit me or they won't. When I have those answers, I'll have another set of problems to worry about. To plot my way out of.

What I really need to do is not the naval gazing that I've been indulging in. I need to remember that Life isn't a race to the finish line. That more exists than crossing another day off the calendar or turning the page to a new month. Really, I need to slow down that Life is more than finishing every project that comes my way.

Sometimes, the best isn't 110%. It's 3% because it isn't work to enjoy what matters.

For a long time it seemed to me that life was ab out to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one. Happiness is a journey, not a destination.


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