I'm Tired of Being a Human Doing

Take time just to be; remember, you are a human being, not a human doing.
I think I clipped it out of a Reader’s Digest long ago, and for years it hung inside the kitchen cabinet of my first house, along with similar uplifting sentiments:  “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and discover that they were the big things.” “Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things.” “We cannot do great things; we can only do small things with great love.”  There were many more, and they were wonderful, and I think I need to dig them out of my junk drawer and hang them all around my desk.
Because when someone remarked upon that first quote, which they read in the signature line of my email, I realized–not for the first time–that I no longer act like a person who believes that.  And that makes me sad.  Where did that person go?
Even though I worked part-time outside the home most of the time until my third baby arrived, there was time for twice-daily walks, for four-hour trips to the pool, for preparing a hot dinner and sitting down to it every night.  Even when I had three pre-schoolers there was time for afternoons planting bulbs, whole Fridays spent with my mom friends at playgrounds or homes or McDonald’s, hour-long story times every evening.
In those days I didn’t feel guilty about taking a walk outside to see what was blooming in my yard, or going out by myself every Monday night to write letters and X-Files fanfiction, or spending Saturday doing something fun instead of something productive.   I didn’t constantly feel like there was something I needed to be doing.
That seems like a long time ago and I have turned into one of those people I never wanted to be, a member of the “rat race” even though there are days I don’t leave my house.  No matter what I’m busy doing–and I am almost always busy doing something–I am neglecting something else, and often I am having to neglect the important for the urgent.   The only time I feel free to stop being a “human doing” is when we go on vacation–can’t do dishes, laundry, or work so I am free to relax.
I’m not sure how this happened to me.  It would be tempting to blame it on my having taken on the job as my husband’s legal assistant.  It’s true that hasn’t helped, since I probably spend 20 solid hours a week on it–maybe more.  But it’s an attitude change I’m really talking about, and that took place years ago.   I’d like to wind up this blog entry with a revelation or words of wisdom or a plan for change, but I am at a loss.  I’m open to suggestions, though.

Crazy dreams and the wisdom of children

Last night before we fell asleep I was telling John about an upsetting dream I’d had that morning and of course Lorelei was right there listening.  I have a lot of anxiety dreams, and this one definitely fell into that category.  I’d invited two of my best friends from high school over to work with me on a term paper we had due (yes, high school very often figures into my anxiety dreams–and if it’s not high school, it’s usually Christmas!).  They had just arrived when a client called and wanted me to come over to do some work, so I took my friends and several of the kids along.
When the work was finished, the client wanted me to go to lunch with her.  I was worried about abandoning my kids and my friends and the paper, but she said it would just take a short time.  She left ahead of me and when I finally found her, I realized I only had one  shoe on and had to run back upstairs for the other one.  This scenario seemed to go on forever, sometimes with mismatched shoes, or someone else’s shoes, but never with two of my own that matched.  Finally I sat down and started to cry, saying, “I’m sorry.  I just can’t do this any more!”
There was more, but you get the drift.  I’m really quite good at interpreting dreams, and had my own ideas about what this meant, but I still wanted to know what John thought about it.  Unfortunately he was starting to fall asleep.  So I said to Lorelei, “What do you think that means?”  And she told me, “I think it means that you are working  and working and working all the time.”
Out of the mouths of five-year-olds . . .