Thursday 15 August 2013

See saw, marjery daw

So, poor Johnnie can't work any faster.

Well, I know that feeling.

But really, Johnnie could probably do with slowing down a bit anyway. All that see sawing back and forth like a headless chicken can't be doing him any good.

Well, I know that feeling too.

I spoke yesterday of my penchant for keeping busy and a tendency to overload myself.  I have to work really hard at s  l  o  w  i  n  g  d  o  w  n.  I'm going to guess I'm not alone here.

Here's an example.  I have known for some time that I'm going to have August off work before starting my teacher training. So for the last however many months I have been saying "oh, I'll do that in August when I've got my time off". Apparently I said that quite a lot because my 'time off' has become anything but.  I seem to have spent quite a large proportion of the first few weeks of it feeling uptight and panicked rather than relaxed and carefree.

I'm not saying it would be better to spend the whole time lying down doing nothing, but I expect there's a balance somewhere in between both extremes.

And so, on day 15 of Happiness Happens month I find myself, not lying down, but writing about that 'balanced' happiness feeling the Secret Society of Happy People talk about as one of their 31 types of happiness.

In between all the see sawing, I am learning over time to try not to cram my days and weeks and months full of stuff.  I'm learning to be more realistic about what I can achieve and compassionate when I don't manage everything I'd hoped to.

I'm learning that sometimes the best bits are what come from the spaces left in between.

Take my flower bed for example (stick with me on this one). When the gardeners first did it for us I was hugely disappointed. It looked pathetic and empty. It most certainly did not resemble the bustling, blossoming cottage garden I'd briefed.  There were some weedy little bits in between massive great spaces of boring old, nothing to see here mud.  They told me to be patient (they didn't know me very well) and to watch and marvel as it grew into it's full potential.

And well I never, they were right.  Had those beds been filled to busting the plants would have been choked and suffocated.Those delicate little plants they first put in needed time and space to grow and to flourish. To bloom and to fulfil their potential.

And they're not the only ones.

When I manage to leave some space, it tends to be where the magic happens.

How are we to grow if there is no space to grow into? Sometimes, our best work happens when we let our foot off the gas a little. Our best ideas come when we stop trying so hard to come up with them and give our brain a break, some head space.

My old boss and I used to laugh because just when we were at our absolute busiest and stressiest, up against a deadline and absolutely did not have time to have a break, enjoy ourselves or relax (potentially over a bottle of wine. or three), just at that point, we normally ended up in the pub.  And somehow or other, got not just our work done, but our best work done.

So there's a balance to be found, between rushing around like a loony on one end of the see saw, and lying about like a sloth on the other.

But what about in other areas of life, not just diary/head cramming. I also find myself flying frantically from one end of the see saw to the other in other areas too.  Diet (eat like Gwyneth Paltrow one minute, and like a lard choffing horse the next), exercise (enter every sponsored run and swim going, injure myself, lie down a lot) and so on and so forth.  It's probably because I try to do too much all at once rather than make little baby steps and get used to them one at a time. Because I want to see results now (did I mention the impatience thing?) and not in a year when everything has grown and blossomed. Because I'm a perfectionist so if after eating one recipe out of Gwyneth's book I don't actually look exactly like Gwyneth Paltrow, I may as well give up and dive head first into the nearest party sized box of maltesers.

That 80/20 rule never quite sunk in apparently.

It's just that the little spot in the middle of my see saw is just a bit slippier than I'd like, it makes it
tricky to find my balance and stay there without sliding off again.

But I am getting better, and I'm determined to keep trying, and that's the best we can hope for.

That's a good balance.

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