I don't like it about myself especially as I get older, but it's a decades-long, well-ingrained habit of living. I don't even think about it. "It's just how I roll." I wake in the morning and have a hard time staying in bed if there are things to be done. If I'm sitting on the couch at night, I need to be knitting, crocheting, somethinging! The very worst jobs I've had in my life were the ones where I finished my tasks and was left with nothing to do.
I've known this about myself. I've realized that as I go into my mid-50s, it's wearing me out. It prevents me from enjoying much of life. My mother had a cross-stitch piece on the wall for years that encouraged us to "Take Time to Smell the Flowers." And I try! I really do! I smell the flowers and then think about what I could make with them. Or I smell the flowers as I hurry past them. That doesn't count, does it?
The benefits of being a maximizer are tempting. Employers think you are a hard worker and earning your keep. Church ladies think you are an excellent pastor's wife because you do so much for the church. People trust you because they never think you're lazy. Maximizing is a liability in family life, however. Maximizers tend to require other people to work. If a maximizer marries a ponderer -- a sit-and-think-about-it person -- conflict can result. A maximizer tends to instill serious work ethic into her kids.
|(This is not my laundry. This is Google laundry.)|
It helped. It made hanging the laundry leisurely. I wondered how different my life would be, my mind would be, if I rid myself of this annoying, exhausting habit. Because ... it makes life feel quite rushed, as if I'm hurrying through each moment to get somewhere else. As if each event, each task, each conversation -- each moment and each day -- is designed to be hustled through. Do I want my life to feel like that?
I know that being a "doer" keeps me from deep interaction with lots of people. I'm always the person pulling away from the conversation, eager to get on to the next thing. Part of of that is simply being an introvert; I'm more comfortable engaging with tasks and objects than I am with people (especially strangers or groups). That's probably not something I can change about myself at my age. But I'd like to change the constant hurry even when I'm alone. I protest here (on my blog) and in person that I'm just too busy to get some things done, particularly writing. But the truth is -- I get lots of stuff done. I'm quite productive. Some activities are "busy" ones (gardening, soap-making, house-cleaning, crafting, practicing music for church), and other activities are leisurely ones (writing, playing music for pleasure, strolling through the garden, talking with family members). There is such a fine line between the two types that they can be hard to distinguish.
And as I give my attention to this inner change, I must prevent it from being the next "task" that I efficiently work my way through. I'd love to make an inward transformation for peace, for calm, for leisure. I'd like to change my life. I'd like to waste a little time and find it was not wasting at all. I'd like to rest.
Do any of you have similar problems with yourselves? Have you succeeded in changing your habits? Your inner restlessness?