3 February 2018

I actually think F slept through the night last night. I cannot remember waking up for her! I think I did get up to go to the bathroom at one point, but otherwise I slept until 6:15am without interruption from anyone. Amazing.

I was still tired enough today to sleep for over an hour when the husband came over to see the kids. It really does take time to recover from the detrimental affects of lost sleep. My mood however, has much improved and today I’ve felt brighter than I have in a long time.

I’ve been thinking a lot about life and why I find the days such a struggle. I have always been really good at subjects with correct answers. It’s why I am a programmer, I suppose. When you get things exactly right, everything works as it should. I am creative enough that I enjoy writing and drawing and music, but I get the deepest satisfaction from order, alignment and getting things right.

Life, of course, is not like that. Life is a messy construction of emotions, events, people and all their feelings and beliefs. Right and wrong are extremes and in the middle is a whole grey ocean of okay. I slip and slide around in the great grey expanse of ‘okay’ wondering what the hell I am doing most of the time. What should I be feeding the kids? What should I be reading? Which exercise should I do? How should I structure my day? Is TV in the mornings okay? When it is acceptable to call in sick? How tired do I have to be before I have an early night? At what point do I tell my toddler no, rather than accommodating what she wants? How much should I spend? Or save? Are credit cards okay? Should I live in a bigger house or a smaller house? Should I be forgiving of everyone? How do I avoid manipulative people? How can I tell if someone is genuine? Is gas any better than electricity?

I struggle because life has no manual and it is endlessly complex. I crave the right answers, the correct path, but I have no freaking idea what that is even supposed to look like. Also, there is always contradiction: I know MacDonalds is no good for you, but the one down the road always has a massive queue at the drive through and the company makes billions selling cheap burgers all around the globe. What’s right here? I really struggle with the recommendation of moderation. There is no real definition of moderation that enables you to do the right thing. One person’s moderation is another person’s extreme.

At the end of the day, maybe we can only do what is right for us, each of us, individually. But what if we’re wrong?

My analytical, organised, answer-seeking brain finds life overwhelming. I research and research things until I can’t take in any more information and then when I think I have found the right answer I look around and almost everyone I know is doing the opposite.

I seem to spend my time battling what I think I should be doing with wondering why no one else is doing it.

Sigh.

I kind of wish I had a book that said “Do this; do that; in this situation try this first and then do that if it doesn’t work.”

People say I should just “relax and enjoy life,” but if it was so easy to do that, we’d all be doing it without ruining our health, bank balance and relationships. I want to enjoy life and still be healthy into my old age. I want to enjoy life and not run up thousands of pounds in debt. I want to enjoy life and not be a slave to a job that will consume the best years and leave me with the consolation prize of retirement.

Maybe this is why Buddhism attracts me – it has a path without being overly spiritual or imposing.

8 thoughts on “3 February 2018

  1. Have you ever taken a temperament quiz? Like a Meyers Briggs? I have been working with a temperament specialist to help me figure out how to be a better parent, and I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process. One key element of my temperament is that I need to seek deep meaning in nearly everything. Whether it be in relationships, parenting choices, and even in simple housekeeping tasks like cooking and cleaning. Ever since identifying that need, I am able to recognize my restlessness for what it is – a need for deep meaning – and come to terms with it one way or another. The other thing I learned is that not everyone has this need. In fact I think it was extreme. Something like 76% of people don’t need that deep meaning and only 14% of people do. Suddenly so many things made sense. I’m not sure if that’s what you’re experiencing, but that’s what your post made me think about.

    So glad to hear you are getting more rest and feeling the positive effects of it on your mood and your ability to meet the demands of each day!

    • I think that is fascinating about discovering why you felt so restless so often. And what a useful thing to even be aware of your need for that meaning – it can help you to rationalise why some things are more difficult than others. I think I did a Meyers Briggs test years ago, but I can’t remember what I was – a something introvert something or other. Perhaps I should look it up. I need concrete reasons for everything – justification that what I do is right. It sounds like a similar thought pattern. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies!

  2. The only person who can ever know what is right for you is you. If we had a book it would probably be written by the govt and we’d all be living in a dictatorship and I think we can all agree that would be wrong!!

    I love the suggestion above about a tempérant quiz. Maybe that would give you some peace? X

  3. I think, deep down, we generally know what’s right. To your point, the advice to “live your life” or “do what makes you happy” must ultimately be tempered with the realities of finances and the acknowledgment of repercussions. Sometimes we just need to do the best we can with what we’ve got. And by what we’ve got, I mean our current circumstance. (Be it financial, familial, work-related, health)

    Sleep deprivation is brutal, Faye. It can manifest in poor health, both physically and mentally. Please try to catch valuable sleep whenever you can. I promise, things won’t seem so bleak when you’re more caught up on sleep. Be selfish! Sleep whenever you find a moment to do so until you feel restored! After 3 weeks on the road, I spent most of the day in bed Friday. Laptop on a pillow, and still responding to what was most urgent, but I napped on and off all day! (Zero guilt!)
    Keep well xoxo

    • Thank you Nancy. I don’t know how you manage your schedule, but definitely zero guilt! Sleep deprivation is very bad. I really notice the effect it has on my outlook on the world, and it’s worrying. I am trying to prioritise it above everything else at the moment. I need to restore my sanity…!

      • I can relate 100%. When I’m sleep deprived, I feel darkness/depression creep in and I know my decision making, and general reasoning is compromised.

        I don’t know how you do it with 3 little ones and no consistent help from a partner. You have my mad respect.

        I seriously recommend doing kid drop offs and then crawling back into bed. Everything else can wait!

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