Friday, August 10, 2007

Stop the Train

Life has been chugging along full steam ahead. Going so fast, in fact, that I think it’s time for me to get off at the next train stop and take a break. Wouldn’t it be nice to relax for a while and take the time to watch the world go by without me for a day or two.

For the past few months I’ve felt thing piling up and getting heavy. The long boring days of summer at work frustrate me. The 3 hour daily commute to that long boring day at work is making me fidgety. The endless cycle of running my own business on top of everything else is grinding on my patience. I’m starting to resent the family obligations, although I love my family and would do anything for them, sometimes I can’t seem to fit another single thing into my day. Forget about having a social life with friends. And add to all the daily stuff going on, I’m still battling my diet and exercise routines. Not to mention my desire to go back to college and finish my degree.

I’ve been keeping up this pace for over 3 years now. It’s routine. It’s my life. Or at least the life that I’ve built for myself.

But two weeks ago I started to rethink every single thing in my life. Actually, that’s not true. The problem was that I couldn’t really “think” at all and came to the realization that I was really struggling physically and emotionally.

I’ve been battling fatigue on a daily basis. My sleep is still choppy and unrestful. During the day I find myself with heavy eyelids and lagging energy levels. Even a stolen nap in the evenings or on a Sunday afternoon doesn’t seem to completely erase the fatigue. My doctor can’t find a problem. Sleep study came back normal. Blood work (10 vials!!) came back normal. But still I am tired.

I bought a new camera two weeks ago – a digital SLR – and I love it. But I need to learn how to use it. As I was reading the manual and surfing the net for tutorial websites and how-to guides on being a better photographer and understanding all the buttons on the new camera, I came to a realization. I couldn’t concentrate. No matter what I read, I wasn’t comprehending a single word. My brain was too full to take in any more information and it was rebelling against my pushing.

Then I looked at other areas of my life and realized that I was struggling everywhere. I have two client projects due next week but I had no desire to work on them, no desire to be creative, no emotional motivation to finish. Yes, they’ll get done because it has to get done. But it is such a huge struggle for me right now --- and I started this business because I love doing the work so much. But I hate it right now.

I want to go back to college and get my degree in Graphic Communications. I’ve wanted it for a long time but it’s difficult with my crazy schedule. And if I go back something will definitely need to be eliminated to make room. I’ve already met with an admissions counselor and gotten my transcripts sent from the other 2 colleges I’d attended in the past. I need to set up a meeting with the Dean to review my portfolio and figure out what classes I can get credit for based on my experience. All this takes time. Something that I have precious little of.

I’m neglecting my family (I’m single and live alone, but my extended family lives nearby). I haven’t been able to devote as much time to helping my parents with a big remodeling project they are trying to do on their own – even though I really want to help more. At the beginning of summer I had planned to take my nieces and nephews to the Detroit Zoo for a day out with Aunt Pam… I haven’t had time to even think about making those plans and the way things look right now I don’t think there will be time to fit it in before school starts for them again.

I used to meet a good friend regularly for dinner after work. It’s been nearly 6 months since I’ve seen her. I had another friend over for dinner last night and the whole time I was thinking about all the things I needed to get done and that I didn’t have time to sit and watch a movie until 11pm.

I’m not taking care of MYSELF. And I think it’s time I figure out what my real priorities need to be.

So for now I’m finishing stuff. Finish my client projects and get them delivered and off my plate. Finish working with the college about the transfer of credits and testing out of as many classes I can… then consider some course in January (not September).

Once these client projects are finished, I will close the door to my scrapbook studio for a while and not feel guilty that I’m taking a break from the biz. I need to take a break. Or I’ll find myself resenting my business even more and end up hating the hobby part of the business that love so much. I’ll revisit the business in a month or two and figure out what to do once my head is clearer.

My goal is to be finished with all my obligations by next Friday – August 17th. Then maybe spend Saturday at the beach with my toes in the sand and reading my new Nora Roberts book (that has been neglected). I like the sound of that.

I need to focus on myself. Get my head straight. Know that I’m ready for this weight loss surgery and ready to face the new life changes I’m about to embark upon. I need to figure out if this fatigue is due to overworking myself or something more serious that needs medical attention. I need to relax. I need to get away. I need to focus. Focus on me.


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