Emptying the shlepping bag

Sometimes it amazes me how much time it takes me to learn timely lessons.  Yup, I’ve been thinking a lot about time again.  So far I’ve gone through a period of getting up at 6:30, writing and sipping a latte while munching on toast and cheese (lovingly provided by my sweetie) until I’d get up and head down to the Y.  Home in time to relax a bit before teaching a bar/bat mitzvah student around 4 (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday) or to head down to Ryerson to teach (Tuesdays) or – a little later, not until 5:45 after teaching a lesson – down to choir (Wednesdays).  Friday nights we always have the pleasure of having shabbat dinner with my mother and Ellen and often other family or guests as well.  Turns out that on weekdays – between my evening schedule and the work David often brings home with him in preparation how-do-i-love-theefor the following day – we see each other for about 5 minutes in the morning when he brings me coffee/toast/newspaper, have a quick dinner together Mondays nights and Thursday nights which is then followed by his working downstairs and me doing something upstairs, and about 20 minutes at night between when he joins me upstairs and is blissfully snoozing.  So how did this happen?  As Elizabeth Barrett Browning said: “let me count the ways“.

It’s happened bit by bit.  At first I was feeling kind of lonely during the days.  I was spending a lot of time at home by myself writing and a lot of time just sitting and reading and thinking and watching TV and meditating and a lot of time cooking and baking; all of those being things that I love doing.  But it didn’t feel like enough, something was missing.

So I started doing Red Cross training and then volunteering, and developing first one website – Sylvia Bereskin: Educational Illumination and doing lots of keynotes and workshops and then a second website to house the blog and link to the FWER (pronounced with a soft ‘f’ and then a windy ‘whir’ sound – acronym for Feminist Women Entering Retirement while at the same time onomatopoeic for the way it feels like a spinning in and spinning out time) workshops that I’ve developed to go along with the book that I hope to get published.

And I took on developing a teaching a new course at Ryerson, one which required almost two full days/week of my time to do it well.

And it got harder to get to the Y.  So sometimes I’d be there just after 7 a.m. and I’d do two back-to-back aquarobics classes so that I could be home and working shortly after 9.  Sometimes I’d just do an hour’s dance workout at home.  Some days neither, just working.

Then I added things for my soul.  Crones Counsel.  More sacred circle dancing and at a new level.

And I got to spend a little more time with my children too and my Mom and that’s all terrific.

Then I added the choir – first concert coming up on December 5th.  Click here for tickets on the Common Thread website.

And then I felt exceedingly overwhelmed.

And the only time that I have to spend with my husband is time we have on the weekends – minus Sunday mornings which are David’s running-group hours and the hours that David needs to devote to working.  We’re together in the house at the time but mostly then doing different things.  Truth is that when I try to just do something quietly around him while he’s working I always have so much I want to say to him and share with him that I either keep interrupting him or it just becomes increasingly stressful for me to keep monitoring myself so I don’t let myself talk.  If you  know me (or have gotten to virtually know me through the blog) you can image that wanting to talk is a long-term struggle for me.  Nor is it enough time to talk gently about our lives, not enough time to give or get enough support and care.

I need to think about this some more and see if I can figure out some other schedules that would work better for both of us.

But first there’s this niggling feeling as we get closer and closer to those dark, cold days of winter when the “dogs stick to the sidewalks” (The Skin of Our Teeth, Thornton Wilder) … this feelingshlepping (2)that I have a big decision to make.  I know that I’m shlepping too much along with me.  I talked to a woman who runs an organizing business today while we were getting our nails done and just as I’ve been working on – but will now get some help from her – decluttering the physical “stuff” in my life, I also need to figure out how to declutter some of the other “stuff”.  That stuff that’s with me just because it has been for a long time.

I think that unless I do that I’m going to keep holding myself back by moving freely forward.  More about this next time.


2 responses to “Emptying the shlepping bag

  1. Really sounds like you have gradually added so much that now you have added a bit too much perhaps. Need to be careful or we will just reinvent our working environment. I, on the other hand feel I have not added enough to my new life since retiring. I do feel I want to be careful not to just fill up the space of time for structure but for meaningful things I like but I must be too cautious as am getting no where lately. I have a real problem with the “stuff” that has been with me for a long time too. Both the physical clutter as well as other so I know what you mean. I keep putting off the decluttering as it seems overwhelming. I recently went to my first estate sale looking for bargains and after seeing all the stuff this person had accumulated and left for others to deal with I am more determined to tackle my clutter now and plan to work on that this winter. Maybe in small spurts? The “other” clutter such as some habits I want to change will be even harder. I wonder if a lot of other retired people people find they have accumulated a whole bunch of “stuff” they no longer need or want or that works in their life and are daunted by it and what do they do? If only there was a giant home shop vac!

    • I, too, wish that I knew how others managed this decluttering process. My closets aren’t much better than when they were when I retired a year ago, and mostly I’m feeling pretty much confused (mind clutter?) as well.

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