Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Traditions & Priorities

I'm tired. Physically and mentally. Tired of trying to keep up with perceived expectations. Tired of never having enough time to just think. Tired of trying to take everything in stride cheerfully. My tiredness has driven me to jumble my priorities together in a large pot of delicious but complex soup. Each priority is searching to be realigned and find its place in my life.

It has been surprising and interesting for me to observe. The problem is that I am not a complex person. I am very simple, easy-going, and very easy to please. But, I also like to be challenged, I like to procrastinate and then work like a crazy woman to meet a deadline. I actually enjoy being busy like that - most of the time. I like to do everything. I'm pretty typical: it's hard for me to say no. I think my personality is combined of very different traits that are difficult to reconcile. I love to have projects to work on - but, I also love to stay in my pj's all day.

Last week I blamed my current internal jumbling on being spread too thin: volunteering to write grants for my kids' elementary school; Halloween costumes and parties (I can hardly type the word without my eye twitching); researching an idea for a business; blogging daily; working in my church Primary presidency, twice subbing for the chorister (more twitching), preparing for our primary program; meeting new friends in a new neighborhood and school; throwing birthday parties; driving the kids to various activities; correcting homework for teachers or volunteering in their classrooms; etc...
The Glass Castle: A Memoir
Not to mention: laundry.

But, the more I think about it, the more I blame reading The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls.

The other day my husband asked what I want to do for my birthday this month. I told him I don't want to do anything normal (a nice dinner with cake, ice cream, presents, etc.). Shocked, he said, "Liz, are you depressed?" I laughed. "No, I'm just tired of feeling like I have to stick to traditions, especially ones that cost money. I want to do something, maybe take the kids hiking somewhere cool - that's what I want to do."

Tonight my husband asked if I would like to plan a special trip in December during his week off. His brother and his wife invited our family to join them for two days at a resort hotel with an indoor water slide (they have discount tickets). "No," I said, "We don't have to spend money to have fun together. We don't have to do exciting things just because others around us are. We can find happiness in so many other ways." My husband didn't seem to agree but declined the invitation anyway. He grumbled something about hating being poor, but I told him we need to appreciate what we have. Life is so simple right now; if we can keep a healthy perspective, I believe it can be quite enjoyable.

The examples from The Glass Castle are extremes, to put it lightly. Everything in the book is extreme, really. But, it rubbed off on me, probably more than my husband is appreciating yet. There are so many other ways to live, to experience life and joy, besides what I feel like we have filled our life with thus far.

I don't know if I would recommend this book to another person. There was a lot of language and some uncomfortable situations that at two different places made me put the book down and decide not to finish it. I am glad now that I did finish it. I feel like it has helped me to re-prioritize and consider new ways to live my life and look for happiness besides the most common way which seems to most often include materialistic means.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Oh I so loved that book- 5 stars! However, when there was talk of reading it for our church book group I had to put my two cents in that it might not be the best fit.
For anyone with a strong reading stomach isn't it just the most fascinating read. Life seized to exist until I quickly finished it. Always glad to hear someone else enjoyed it.