Taking A Step Back

So… I intimated a week or two ago that I was writing some thoughts on Ferguson and Eric Garner and the general state of race relations in this country. And I did – I wrote them. But I don’t think I’m going to share them. There’s a handful of reasons.

When I shared them with my husband, he poked a few holes in my arguments and pointed out some new perspectives.   I realized that I didn’t really want to work on revising them, nor did I have the energy to defend them if, by some weird quirk of fate, my blog were to generate more attention than usual, because…

I’m tired.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m tired. I’m worn out. I’m stressed. On top of all the usual chaos that has kept my life full to the brim, I’ve added some medical issues. I cracked a tooth back in August and I’ve now been to the dentist and endodontic specialist five times… and I still don’t have the permanent crown. And I just broke the temporary crown on a piece of pecan pie that I forgot to chew on the other side of my mouth. I also went to the optometrist and now I’m waiting for my glasses to arrive.

In the course of applying for life insurance, I discovered that my blood pressure was a little high and my heart rate was extremely low. That started a chain of events that had my thyroid tested (it’s fine) and has me waiting on a stress test. The scheduling of the stress test was stressful enough, with the first cardiologist’s office continually rescheduling me due to their mistakes and me finally deciding to approach a different one. And now I have a cold, which has run me into the ground and may force yet another rescheduling of the stress test.

These may sound like petty excuses, but I’ve never had so many physical complications, doctor’s visits, and distractions.  I haven’t exercised in nearly a week now and I’m starting to feel the effects.  I simply don’t have the energy to push a position. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that…

It’s not personal for me. That may sound shallow and self-centered, but it’s true. I care very much about the issue and hope for change, but it doesn’t affect me directly and right now, I simply have too much else to be going on with.

It’s like John Pavolovitz said in this insightful essay, we have a proximity problem. We care more about what’s close to us. He presented it as a problem and it is definitely something that we should always be mindful of, but it’s also natural and healthy sometimes. None of us can solve all the world’s problems. If we tried, we’d spread ourselves out so thin, we’d simply vanish. Sometimes we can reach out and effect change; sometimes we have to withdraw and regroup.

One of the lessons of evangelism that I take to heart is that you can’t expect to win someone over to your perspective when their most fundamental needs (food, water, shelter, clothing) are not being met. The same goes for each of us, whether with receiving or with giving. We can’t take on external issues when we are struggling at home.

Well, I’m struggling. I know that my struggles are minor by comparison to what other people have to go through, but they are still my struggles. And right now they are very nearly more than I can bear. Any sane person would know that when they are in this situation, they should cut some stuff out. For me, it’s all I can do to get back to the keyboard and write about my family. Writing about the big stuff… the energy just isn’t there.

So I’ve decided to let that line of thinking go for now. I’m not convinced that the people who need to hear it would hear it, and there’s not much point in preaching to the choir. If you were anxiously awaiting my perspective, I’m sorry to disappoint. If you were wishing I’d quit going political and get back to the feel-good kiddy stories and parenting lessons-learned, you’re in luck.

One thing about going through a period of stress, it really helps you figure out what’s most important to you. Whether it’s what should be most important to you is another question. One best left for a less stressful time.

Missed Me?

I’ve been silent for the last week and I’m not quite sure why. I have a lot of stories floating around in my head. Some of them are about the kids (what I am supposed to be writing about) and others are commentaries on stuff around me or current events (what I find myself writing about more and more).

Those ideas are composed and recomposed over and over again as I walk or drive from place to place. I would gladly write them instead of working but… well… I’d like to keep my job. I keep doing the mental composing throughout my day. Then I get home and take care of the myriad obligations there. Eventually the kids go to bed and that’s my usual blog time.

Except I haven’t felt it.

When I list the things I need to do and I hit “write a blog post”, I think Man. I really don’t feel like doing that right now. When that’s happened before, it’s usually been because either a) I don’t have anything to write about and don’t have the energy to come up with something or b) I’m angry about something and don’t feel that’s the right state of mind to be in when writing for a blog entitled “My Bright Spots.” But that hasn’t been the case lately. I just haven’t felt like it.

So… nothing.

It’s been an interesting shift. Used to be, I consistently wrote my posts because I wanted to. But lately, I’ve been writing because I felt I had to. I needed to be predictable. A post every day Monday-Friday, with a “Throwback Thursday” post on Thursday. When it was getting late and I realized I hadn’t written one, I felt obligated to sit down and churn one out.

I’ve been having a similar reaction to reading blog posts. I’ve been feeling like we are all chattering magpies yapping away at the wind. What’s the point? Are we all just producing this stuff for each other? Why? Has my blog just become a more refined version of a “share every thought that comes into my head” Facebook life?

I’m not sure.

But the interesting thing is that as I write this, more topics are coming into my head. Everything from baking cookies with my mom last week to my thoughts on Ferguson, MO. So I don’t think I’m coming to feel there’s no point. I think I’m just tired. Really, really tired.

It’s not easy to be a full time engineer, mother to three kids (from a Kindergartener to a teenager), church elder, Sunday School teacher, club volunteer, DIY home rennovator, regular (almost obsessive) exercise practioner, and a blogger. Sometimes I get tired. Ok, not sometimes. I’m always tired. And I have to let something go. I’ve chosen not to let up on the exercise. I committed to the church for a three year term. The club needs me. The projects at the house still have to get done. And I can’t really drop my work and parenting obligations. That leaves the blog.

I don’t want to quit though, and I’m not going to. I’m just going to try telling myself that I don’t have to publish on a schedule. I don’t have to do it if I don’t feel like it. I can skip for a week or two or longer if I want to. And it’ll all be ok.

Now, don’t be surprised if I end up publishing something every day this week. Now that I’ve primed the pump, so to speak, I may find I “feel” like writing and easily fill my week with posts. But if I do fall silent for a bit (again), just say a little prayer or send kind thoughts my way. Something simple like “I hope she gets some sleep” will do. Thanks. 🙂

How about you? Do you keep a schedule or have a guideline of how often you want to blog? Do you fall into slumps? Does it bother you? Do you ever feel obligated or is it always an act of joy?