My washing machine broke and now the laundry pile’s higher than ever and that’s just the tip of my frustration iceberg right now. Actually that’s a lie as it’s not even close to the tip it’s just another thing on the list.
You know I’ve always kept notebooks. I like to record the little things and have conversations with myself. What can I say? Sometimes you just have to talk to yourself and sometimes, as my mother would say you have to ‘take yourself by the hand’. It’s never been enough to just think thoughts, I always want to examine and hold them as well. And it’s never enough to just float, I like to make things as good as I can. Are you with me? I’ll keep going anyway.
So there among the wanderings, the lists, the plans, the dreams and ‘to do’, the scribbles and goals, ideas and recipes, the drawings Saoirse sneaked in and what I’ll do with the lottery I win, patterns emerged.
It was a bit disconcerting to see them but good information to have. For example, I could see I was more frustrated and exhausted at the same times every year and more content at others. The best times I found are November, December, January, a little of February, a little of May, June, July and August.
For a lot of people I know the winter months are the worst but I realised that for me it’s not a lack of light, sunshine or money (though I love all of those naturally) and it’s not the family relationships, the people at fault (very important to know that) it’s just the demands of modern living. Modern life makes me sick. Once I discovered this it did make a difference. I still feel it but I know what to blame and work hard to dispel it.
I like the slow times of the year and the times just before them. That’s when external demands are low or getting low and I have all the family around me. What I hate’s when we’re all just like ships in the night, buried in school and work and activities, in routine and schedules. It’s external demands with emphasis on external because it’s not busy’s the problem, I love busy, it’s slavery I don’t like.
Do you feel the same? I’m so sensitive to these changes I instantly start to feel and suffer from a loss of connection with everyone. I had dinner with Martha last weekend and she compared the pace of life in Dublin as much more manic and full on than the life she knew in Italy and I’ve always thought similar about Portugal, I lived there for a while. In Portugal the pervading sense is that family’s paramount, old people and children in particular and everything else comes somewhere after and you know, in ways you never imagined you’d know, that this is right. This is how it should be.
So what to do? Well it’s hard. We’re up against it in these countries. Seems not only do we have to go to work and school every hour but we’re supposed to put those first and advances in technology have made it even harder to get away. The result is we are always ON.
Assuming that like me you’re stuck here, here’s my list of what I try to focus on when all we really want is take trips, paint, garden, cook, take a moment, dream, play, create, love, let our minds wander, spend time with each other.
- Recognise and acknowledge what’s happening. I remind myself it’s not me or the family at fault.
- We all have ideas for our lives and what we want our lifestyle to be. Naturally we don’t plan on being flat out and exhausted but most of us are. I try to stay focused on lifestyle and how to balance what we want with what we have to do. So for example it’s important to me that home is a haven. That it works for comfort and play and for inspiration and that’s something we can all work on. Who’s going to stop you? In our homes we have freedom.
- Just stop. Throw the rule book out the window, abandon ship. Does the dinner have to happen at six this evening? Does it have to happen at all?
- Hug a tree, now scientifically proven as good for your health and the perfect antidote to modern living. Click HERE
- Stay social or get that way. Have a party for no reason, arrange to go out with your partner, plan to meet friends. Do you find as I do that these things fall by wayside, if you let them?
- Talk and keep talking. To your partner, to your children, to your friends, to pets or to paper.
- Make plans. A day trip, a party, how you could make the house work better. Check out this easy decorating post I did in the summer, click HERE
- Remember what mum said, take yourself by the hand. What Socrates said’s quite good too…
So what about you? What times of the year do you find most challenging and how do you deal with them? What times do you love? Does modern life make you sick?
For an interesting post and exercise on balance and designing lifestyle from ‘The Tao of Dana’ click HERE
Chat to you soon, x o x Jane