Thursday, August 13, 2009

Confessions of Someone Very Tightly-Wound

I'm uptight. Perfectionistic. Driven. I lack the skill of knowing how to enjoy myself. I came by it honestly: My mother recoils in horror at the thought of a massage and my father thinks that "vacation" means a week you take off to get projects done around the house. Here are a few other words out of our private dictionary:
Holiday = work.
Birthday = not being able to work as fast as you used to.
Party = loud.
Celebrate = something you do after you work really hard and achieve something.
Are you getting my drift?

With focus and attention, I can make myself enjoy somebody else's party. But it takes work. You can routinely catch me eating my meal in the order of which items I like least first, saving the thing I like best for last. I had no problem "saving myself for marriage." I am a master at delaying important life skill, I think.

Not long ago, though, I realized something. I am starting to miss things. While I hover above my life and try to get everything perfect before I actually enjoy something, I am missing my life. I am missing my kids. It's not like it was when I was in high school and I had a lot of time for do-overs. I'm almost 35. And my little girl is almost 10. And we are bumping heads. A lot.

Solomon wrote about chasing after pleasure for a while in his quest for meaning in life. I think I understand that better now than I used to. I appreciate his research in that area, proving that pleasure alone won't bring actual meaning to life....saves me the trouble, you know. But I get the feeling that there is some value to enjoying things in moderation.

Lately, I've begun to realize that my kids are all sleeping through the night, potty trained, dress themselves, make their own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but aren't dating or driving yet. It's time for me to be happy and enjoy this. It's time for me to uncoil and let chaos...I mean happiness... happen. It's time to remind myself that they will be gone so soon, and that being happy is a skill to learn and to teach.

So I am trying. Got any words of wisdom for me?


Jess said...

No words of wisdom, just thanks for yours. I'm with you. I avoid mess and choas and stress like the plague so the thought of the kids having friends over usually stresses me out - but I want my house to be the one the kids come to. So, we are stocking up the snack drawer and getting ready for new school friends to enter our lives. It's funny, when I'm honest about it, it's not the mess or the noise that make me uptight - it's the insecurity I feel about the house/toys/snacks etc. being enough, being liked, etc. YUCK to that crap.

ness said...

Oh MY STARS>>>>YES! I feel like I'm about to enter Junior high all over again and it turns out knowing what I know now isn't really enough!

Sara said...

Sorry, i don't have any wisdom to offer I'm not there yet or haven't been there yet. But i am blessed for the reminder to enjoy the dirty diapers it does go fast doesn't it?

Keri said...

I am not a "have everything perfect before someone sees it and judges it" type, but I am married to one... I tend to be constantly living in the future, anticipating "the next thing" before the "current thing" is over. I too need to slow down and enjoy my kids, just in a different kind of a way. Ness you are perfectly fantastic just the way you are. Think of your mom...the good outweighs the quirky, right??

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