The Wheels are Spinning

It was one of those days: I couldn’t get anything done. The list of things I should have been doing was a mile and a half long (about half the distance I should have run) but I just couldn’t. My mind was all over the place yet going nowhere, like a car stuck in the snow spinning it’s tires. There’s motion but no moving. I had time and pretty much wasted it. I’m not even sure what happened. I did shovel snow for forty-five minutes, clean out the corners of my computer room, and …something else. I swear there was at least one other thing I accomplished between 10 am and 3 pm when I was home alone. Maybe not though. Time slipped right by while I putzed around feeling mildly anxious about the multitude of things I was not getting done. I tried a to-do list, a “What I need to accomplish” list. That usually helps. Not today. It was too vague. “Study Immunology” and “clean up” were not enough to direct my wandering mind and so instead I basically did nothing. Of course now I’m kicking myself over such a wasted day (though obviously still not studying).

In so many ways life is about balance. I’m fairly certain I’ve written about that at least once or twice. Balance. Physical balance is something I’m not stellar at. Graceful I am not! But  I’d like to think I’m not too shabby at other forms of balance. As a parent I feel I manage a pretty effective good cop/bad cop balance even when I have to play both roles myself.

good-cop-bad-cop-lego-movie

But lately there’s been a disruption of balances, a disturbance in the force if you will…

disturbance in the force

 

Specifically, the work/play balance in my life is off.

On a day to day actions (all the small stuff, the ones they say are really the big stuff) front there has not been as much work getting done as should be. That’s not to say I’m sitting around doing nothing (like I did today) all the time. There’s no eating chocolates and watching soap operas, rather just a lack of keeping the regular day to day get-shit-done pace that my life requires. I need to be productive and I just haven’t been. Conversely it seems like it’s been all work and no play on the bigger, broader scale. I’ve worked at least two days (nights really) of the past five, maybe six, weekends. Much of the weekend down time I have has been spent accommodating my four older kids’ healthy social lives or heckling them about homework. It’s nearing the end of the term for my two high school boys and neither of them is keeping up on their work like they should which means extra time and energy on my part trying to keep them on track to pass all their classes. Trying!! Ugh. There’s no break in sight just work piled on work like the layers and layers of garbage heaped on top of one another in a landfill all adding up until it gets covered with a little bit of topsoil and snow and called a ski hill. Except skiing would mean something fun is going on here. It’s not. That needs to be fixed. It’s been building for a while but now it’s at the point of complete unignorability. When small, slightly self-destructive things start occurring in an effort to remedy the problem it is officially time to address it. I’m pretty sure my unfocused brain is a self-sabotaging way of trying to force myself to find some fun. It’s not working.

So what does work?

How does one find fun when life demands so much work and effort on a regular, constant basis?

I like to play. I have a well developed sense of fun, curiosity, and general wonder. I think that’s what being childlike means and is a big part of finding that elusive goal we call happiness. Wonder, curiosity, and fun…they’re important. The little stuff adds up and becomes the big stuff. But when it all feels like work and tedium and obligation, what then? Something has to change otherwise everything stays the same (I think that’s a variation of some quotation of a famous and/or wise person). And things will change. One of the few constants of life is change. Over the next two months there is potential for big change in my life. I’m (we’re?) still waiting on the out come of the court proceedings that wrapped up just over a month ago. My parenting time schedule could change drastically. Or not. In just about six weeks this semester will be done. Another one in the books, almost the last. And then what? There’s no spring/summer classes for me to take this year. My daily and weekly schedule will suddenly be different. Maybe there will be free time (ha! wouldn’t that be something?) But then what would I do with free time? I can find adventure (or trouble depending on how you look at it) but doing so alone gets old after a bit. I need someone to play with. How does one find that as an adult? Who has time for that in their thirties? I have friends, really I do, but the vast majority of them are married and probably have young babies. That or they’re in nursing school and have classes every evening of the week. This is why I originally thought trying online dating was a good idea. Turns out when you tell people you just want someone to play with they think you’re looking for cheap, meaningless sex. No! That would be easier to find but I want someone to run around with (maybe literally) and find some adventure. Adventure in the every day, that’s what I want! Connection and a kindred spirit. Maybe there would be some sex involved but that’s not the end goal. Not at all. That’s not as obvious as I thought it was. My bad.

adventure is out there
Being a single parent is a lonely job and a black hole of demands for more. More time, more money, more attention, more, more, more. There’s never enough of you. I’m Humpty Dumpty post wall fall, pieces scattered everywhere. That’s okay, I’ve learned to function that way. It’s my life and I do love the life I have. It would be nice to fill a couple cracks though. The loneliness crack and the fun/adventure crack…to name a couple. I’ve had friends comment that they’re “basically single parents” because they feel like they handle all the household management and parenting responsibilities. Hell, I’ve said that before back when I was a naive young wife…        bit please

Yeah, it’s totally not the same. For my friends’ sakes I hope they remain unenlightened though.

So how does one find fun, adventure, and a person to share it with (on a very limited budget with next to no free time)? (one who doesn’t want to be around you 24/7 AND doesn’t just want to sleep with you and run…it’s a surprisingly delicate balance.) That’s the million dollar question. Obviously I don’t know the answer. If I did I’d be the richest person on the planet because isn’t this something everyone is seeking?

I hate not knowing the answer but every once in a while there’s a problem you just can’t solve no matter how hard you try. You get in this downward spiral of thinking and overthinking until you’re not even sure of what you do and do not know anymore and your head is a spinning mess. When that happens it’s best to walk away and come back to it later. In the mean time I’ll attempt to re-calibrate, restore the balance in some small ways while trying to stay focused and get shit done…just until the end of April.

Eyes on the prize…C’s get degrees but A’s are better…Must.Get.Shit.Done!!!

go study

 

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About nights7

A metamorphosis in progress...always.

4 thoughts on “The Wheels are Spinning

  1. I feel you! So much!

    Here are a couple of things that work for me, when I find myself being unproductive:

    1. Make it a game. Put on the timer for 15 or 30 minutes and see how much you can get clean. You may be surprised that you can clean an entire bathroom in 30 minutes (though you have to cut some corners).

    2. Reward yourself. After an hour of studying, reward yourself with a coffee break, or a cookie, or an hour of that show you’re watching on Netflix. When you know there’s an end in sight, it’s easier to work; a lot easier than the vague “study.”

    3. Do laundry and use the laundry timer as a signal to take a break. Even if it’s just to get up and switch out the laundry, and maybe get a quick cup of coffee, those breaks help. And if you’re getting your laundry done while you’re doing something else (like studying), you’re multitasking! (Even if the machine is doing half the work, it still counts.)

    4. Plan a Ladies Night. This can be friends going to the bar or just coming over to your house to watch a movie and drink a glass of wine (or two, or three…). This is a whole lot less expensive than a night out, you don’t have to get dressed up, and if someone can’t come, it’s no big deal.

    5. Hobbies can be places to meet people, get out of the house, and get exercise. I play softball and volleyball. Other people use Meetup to find people with similar interests. Run On and other sports stores have groups, too.

    Oh geez, this became a long comment! Hope you don’t mind, and I hope you find one of these useful.

    Cheers! Good luck!

    Like

    • nights7 says:

      I definitely don’t mind the long comment. 🙂
      These are all good ideas. I tend to think that if I don’t have a bigger chunk of time to study or do homework then it’s not worth it. Breaking it into smaller pieces with a reward after a chunk of time could help change that mentality. The other thing I thought of is setting a timer for activity breaks during studying. So maybe study for half an hour then do some jumping jacks or something.
      I’ve thought about joining a running group… might be time to take action already.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You should totally join a running group. You’re great at it, and you manage to find just enough time to run, so squeezing that in to being sociable sounds like a perfect idea. Is there anything else like that you fancy joining? It can (hopefully) help with the fun part, and maybe the meeting someone part too, you never know. Also yes – breaking work into small sections of time is also good; called the ‘pomodoro technique’, named after the tomato shaped timers. Look it up 🙂 and you’ll get there. You’re really not that old(!) give yourself some time.

    Like

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