Friday, January 7, 2011

The ideal me...

I just read this post from David Wright's blog Project 30 Days.
I read it in light of my memory of a post from Hyperbole And A Half - a post which made me cry with laughter but also with grief because under that humour is why I also will never really be an adult.

David says, and I empathise, given the navel-gazing thrust of my previous post:

I’ve wanted to write this blog for a while. But there’s a part of me that screams, nobody wants to read this stuff! It’s self-indulgent in a world full of annoying, self-obsessed navel gazers. People are sick of reading confessionals. There’s a world full of REAL problems! People starving, wars, racism, sexism, enough animal cruelty to make Sarah McLachlan sing a box set’s worth of depressing songs, slavery, and other things far worse than some whiney suburban white guy bitching because he’s not living his ‘Ideal Life.’

Well, he's got a point, hasn't he?

And, really, there is such truth in the advice given by some forgotten-by-me-but-obviously-very-smart-person, that a cure for depression or ennui is to do something good for someone else, and repeat, ten times.

But first you've got to get to that point where you are feel able to do something for someone else, where you are even capable of thinking about someone else, where you aren't tied up in knots with those melancholic feelings of guilt and obsession that are stopping you from doing something for someone else. If there was even time left over from the Stuff You Absolutely Have To Do™.

One of the things that has caused friction between me and my family is the state of the house. Beloved particularly struggles with me on this. He is (either enviably, or insufferably, depending on your perspective) able to  relax or read a book or pursue some pursuit unrelated to housework whilst a room around him is in chaos. (Or as he might call it, "lived in".)

Me, I can't do that. Things have to be right before I get settled in to a more rewarding task. Dishes done. Beds made. Tables straightened. Floor clear. Get the things that Must Be Done, done. Then do the Things You Want To Do.

The trouble is, when those Things That Must Be Done expand to fit every single second of the day, either because of the lack of assistance from those around you or your own increasing neurosis about what is acceptable, then there is no time left over for Things You Want To Do. Or even, Things That Are Good For You. Like meditation, exercise, or doing things for someone else. Or, heaven forbid, prayer.

I often feel that I am at the mercy of Things that Must Be Done. I resent those things, even when I have invented them, even when nobody else really gives two hoots whether they are done, or even notices when they are done. But those Things take on such importance! I can't shake them!

So David Wright's blog is a blessing and a curse to read. Because my understanding of what is the ideal me is so skewed at the moment. I can't trust myself to distance my idea person from a person who fulfils all the Things That Must Be Done. Those things of which I might be ashamed, might also be the things which if I could just embrace and accept them a little more, might actually make me a little more ideal. More of a slob, less disciplined, less ... contained ... but maybe easier to live with.

2011 will be the year for...

...I have absolutely no idea.

When I got home from our holiday at Point Lonsdale this week (our first proper family holiday for years) I had a smallish meltdown. And then a cry. Neither of those things sound terribly unusual I suppose, but crying for me isn't a normal thing, and melting down is usually what happens before the holiday, not when it is finished!

I am going back to the job I love on Monday, I am surrounded by people I love, I am in a home I love, and yet (o first world angst, you are my friend) I feel vaguely disconnected from it all. No, not vaguely. Intensely, pointedly and dramatically disconnected.

Yes, I am taking my meds regularly. Yes, I am getting lots of exercise. Yes, I'm eating well. I have no bloody idea what's going on. Perhaps 2011 will be the year for figuring out what the bloody hell is going on. Maybe I need to figure out what I'm going to do when I grow up.