Thursday, January 22, 2009

On finding a life

The problem with being a work-aholic is that when you finally get that "life" (meaning a social life) you've been wishing for, you feel like a slacker.  How's that for irony?  

I have a strong work ethic and work hard most of the time. I am diligent in my efforts, andam  fairly thorough and have occasion to be demanding even because I like to get things done and I like them to be done well.  All of which is fine and helps me be tremendously productive and fruitful.  

But in the midst of all that, I've longed for a life.  I've longed for something to do with my free time, for responsibilities and commitments that have nothing to do with the church.  And, more often than not, I end up working instead of playing.  

So then this fall/winter, something odd happened.  I reconnected with a former classmate and we hit it off. We started out spending time together "just as friends", where both of us were quite clear we were not looking for anything romantic.  Well, you know how the best laid plans work out...and somehow our "quasi dates" were just an illusion in our own minds, because before we knew it, we realized we were dating and decided to "make it official"--whatever that means in modern dating terms.  =)

So now, I have a life.  I have this person I adore and spend lots of time with and laugh with and cry with and vent to and date, and it's wonderful.  Except, I'm not as productive as I used to be.  Now, in my head I realize I was working too many hours and not allowing myself enough personal time and that working less is not a crime.  Yet somehow I had grown accustomed to said level of productivity and now I have a guilt complex.  

The demands I place on myself have not diminished, which is a problem since the number of hours I am willing to commit have.  So it's been an impasse.  Fight the guilt.  Enjoy my personal life.  Revel in it.  That's more the way it's supposed to be, I think.  Nevertheless, that head knowledge has not yet hit my heart...or my gut, or whatever part of my being is responsible for that stupid nagging voice that tells me I'm not hacking it b/c I'm not working 12 hour days.  

Catch up stupid nagging voice!  Let me live a balanced life. Convince me that it's okay if I don't get everything done.  Seriously.  Hush already! 


Rachel said...

HOORAY!! I'm so excited for your new "life." If it helps, you can think of it this way; you will be doing your successor absolutely no favors if the church gets used to you giving them every ounce of your time and energy. It's also no good for the church to be THAT dependent upon their pastor. So when you go out with this lovely guy, do it with the knowledge that you ARE helping your congregation... learn to rely on themselves a bit. Love and happiness to you!

johnsue said...

Just a reminder that I am really trying to work on self-care...the concept taught me BY YOU! One of our keynote speakers this weekend emphasized relationship priorities:
1. self with God 2. self with self
3. self extending to others...IN THAT ORDER! As to the guilt, anxiety, workaholicability, type A thing...I'm soooo sorry you are your mother's daughter!! Remember I had a nervous breakdown even after my mother told me more than once that I was doing too much. Your mother says: "BALANCE AND MODERATION". And that's from someone who is an almost ever-so-wise sixty one year OLD!
Love, me