Monday, April 25, 2011


View from the balcony of our 'casa' in Baracoa, Cuba, early morning, 2003

Bear with me on an introspective post.

For the past 4-6 months, the project I've been on at work has been over the top stressful.  The project is almost 3 years behind schedule, the client is extremely frustrated and the new management (originally mismanaged, the project management has been replaced several times) is pushing the team very very hard to try to deliver to the customer.   The project has had some pretty high turnover and just when we thought we had a good solid team, lack of funds meant layoffs and 15 people were laid off in the past few months.  Add to that the state of the economy and my husband losing his job so I am the only one working, and you can maybe see why I'm having a bit of a stress issue right now.

We all know that "all work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy" but I think our culture has taken that to a new level.  In the past few months, I have pushed myself so hard to get everything done that I have made myself physically ill several times.  I think women more than men, have the ability to multi-task and get many things done at once and most of us feel a pride in that.   And that's fine as long as you can balance it all.   But when the balance starts to tip one way, watch out.

I hesitatingly agreed to spend Easter weekend at my parents home, they live an hour and a half from us up in a beautiful canyon in Colorado.  The hesitation in going is that they won't allow us to bring our dog and she is part of the family and the kennel was full and we had to leave her alone and make all the arrangements for someone to come and check on her, etc., etc.  Also, any interruption in my schedule right now just sets me off.

I took Friday off, Good Friday, and used it to get some things done.  I woke up feeling stressed and everything I did that day made me feel more stress, I just feel like I can never catch up and get everything done in my personal life much less take time to relax and do things I WANT to do.  I scheduled a job interview at 8 AM by phone, a vet appt at 9:30 and had a contractor coming at 11 AM to estimate refinishing the wood floors in the house.   Then I had to do laundry and get things ready for the weekend.  My neighbor came by to chat with her baby boy and she wanted me to come over later and chat and I couldn't even imagine.  What?  Take an hour or more from my busy day of getting things done to just chat?  Then, Saturday morning I got up, started packing for the one night away, which I think is almost harder than packing for a week's trip.  I noticed the floors in the kitchen and bath were so dirty and even sticky so I had to stop everything and clean them.  In the middle of moving things out to clean the kitchen floor I literally had a breakdown.  I just started sobbing, it was like I was trying to run in a marathon and there was nothing left to keep me going only this was not physical but emotional and/or spiritual.

Easter Sunrise

The photo above was taken Easter morning.  My parents left the house very early to sing in the early service at church, my husband was still sleeping, my mother had fresh coffee for me, I was alone and this was the view I had.  It was slightly snowing, just tapering off, everything was silent.  Inside the house, outside the house.  No sounds.  I had one of those moments, I want to just break down and cry from the beauty and because it was the first time maybe in an entire year that I had actually felt a tiny bit peaceful and calm.  Mostly what it did though was make me realize that I HAVE TO CHANGE MY LIFE SOMEHOW.

How will I do it?  I have no idea.  Just putting it out there.  I will also say, my mother had a devotion book on the table and I sat down and turned the page to April 24.  The reading for that day was a suggestion to stop making so many plans and just sit and listen to God, to wait on God.  Then I really did start crying.  When you life is going at top speed, you don't listen to anyone.   And God doesn't shout.

A peaceful me, Havana, Cuba, 2003


  1. Ah, I had a moment like that this summer - we were in the middle of trying to move across the country and change everything in our life, and I had a 6 month old baby and I finally got a few hours to breathe -- it is such a good thing. Hope you find some answers and things lighten up at work. God bless.

  2. Oh man, this could be me two weeks ago. I felt the same way - pulled in too many directions and not feeling calm in any way. So I made the decision to send my little Baby J off to daycare in a few months and return to working full time. It's a huge adjustment for our family but working part time (is 30 hours a week even part time?) and taking care of Julia full time (even taking her to work!) was too much.

    All I can say is that make sure to take time for yourself. So many of us get our only affirmations through work, and when that doesn't exist, you feel so down. Take time to do some non-stressful crafting and enjoy the process!

  3. I really appreciate your comments, yes, so important to take time for yourself. I don't know why it's so hard, seems especially for women. I know a lot of women right now who are working and their husband's are unemployed, and of course they don't want to be but we end up juggling so much. Something they don't teach you in school, how to relax, how to not do it all.

  4. Hang in there, Mary. The thing about trying to keep so many balls in the air at once is that inevitably, something will fall. Some things bounce, others don't. Your health is one that won't--forcing yourself to take a minute to breathe and slow down is crucial in the long run. Thinking lots of good thoughts for you, in the meantime.