Sunday, February 14, 2016

One week bad, the next week good. How come?

When I look at the calendar for the week before last, it looks a lot like last week's. Wait. The week before last I had activities on only two evenings, and last week I had them five evenings in a row. So why was last week  better?

It wasn't that I had less time to myself the first week, or that its goings on weren't as interesting. I need to figure this out.

Here's what happened in Week 1:
  • Monday - Started a five-day week of coordinating volunteers to staff the Oklahoma! box office. Everyone was present and accounted for. 
  • Tuesday - Got an afternoon massage.
  • Wednesday - Attended Current Events, one of my favorite activities.
  • Thursday - Facilitated my Great Decisions discussion group on the future of Kurdistan.
  • Friday - Spent seven hours going to the dentist in Nogales, Mexico, including travel time. Got a crown removed, tooth confirmed not needing a root canal, and new crown prepared and installed, and a nightguard mold created.
Two events at home in Washington that were completely out of my control, so I could do nothing about either of them.

By Friday evening I was anxious and stressed, and by Sunday I was sufficiently wound up to call a friend to listen to me vent. She reminded me that moods come and go and that "this too shall pass".

And in Week 2:
  • Monday - For the five-day box office week, replaced one sick person with a substitute. Facilitated a different Great Decisions group as a stand-in for their traveling leader. Attended a CPR class in the evening and got to prove once again that I know how to do it correctly on a dummy. I did it on a real live person two years ago and I will never forget the procedure.
  • Tuesday - Had to cancel my afternoon massage because our Prius was at the dealer getting its water pump replaced. We have only one vehicle here, and it would have cost nearly $50 for a transportation alternative. Started back up with handbells, which I'd decided not to do this year. I was persuaded by a friend in that group to come back. We have a new director, the music is easy and fun!
  • Wednesday - Spent three hours with the friend of a friend preparing her for a divorce mediation next week in Texas. The session was as intense as any I have done in Washington.
  • Thursday - Spent four hours going to the car detailing place and waiting for the Prius to become beautiful on the inside. Facilitated my Great Decisions discussion group on international migration. Attended a small group meeting at church in the evening.
  • Friday - Had a free day except for opening the box office. Went out to dinner with friends.
As I compare these two weeks, I note that I was busier in Week 2, and things were more hectic. However - and this is a good insight for me - I felt better about it. 

That might be because, in Week 1, I was powerless over the things going on at home in Washington.

Yep. I am still powerless. I hate it when that happens. Especially when I realize the reason for the stress and anxiety as I am writing my blog post about it! This business of stressing over things over which I have no control has bitten me for decades. You'd think I would have figured it out by now.

Or maybe not. As I listen to friends, many of the issues that trouble them are things over which they have no control. It may be money or vehicles or parents or children or management or a cold spell or a heat wave or endless rain - but the aggravation is there.

Guess we're all in this powerlessness thing together.


DJan said...

You've certainly put your editorial finger on my problem: stress and worry over things I cannot control. I worry about the state of the world, of my country, politics, and on and on. Doesn't do me any good at all. I'll try hard to just let it be and move on. Thanks for the reminder of where my serenity really comes from. :-)

Tom said...

Good reminder. I think your insight is almost a definite of what stress is all about. That being said, however ... I've never stressed out over a massage!

Arkansas Patti said...

Outside of that dentist visit, week one sounded pretty good. I tend to live by the Serenity prayer. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference." Works most of the time.

Sally Wessely said...

Yes, this is a great reminder. Don't stress over things beyond our control. You do keep very busy. That is is a good thing.

Deb Shucka said...

Are you staying so busy to help not think about the lack of control? It's hard when you care about someone and can't do anything to ease their journey. I don't think that ever gets easier.

Cynthia, Amsterdamned. said...

Monday: rain.
Tuesday: lighter rain.
Wednesday: rain.
Thursday: less rain.
Friday: rain
Saturday: lotta rain.
Sunday: rain.

retirementreflections said...

This is a an excellent reflection, Linda! I agree that the bad weeks help us keep things in perspective and appreciate the good weeks even more!

Anonymous said...

You like to be in control and when you can't be, it makes you feel bad.

Linda Reeder said...

It's easy to say we shouldn't stress over things over which we have no control, but it is the very nature of that lack of control that causes stress. When we have control, we use it. We act. Not being able to act is stressful.

b+ (Retire In Style Blog) said...

Dearest Linda,

Something very surprising has happened in my life...It turns out I actually have one, a life that is. I have been golfing 2 or 3 times a week, playing cards with a group of neighbor ladies, eating out with friends and finding a little time to write. I did an interview with a lady that has a very unique way of "snowbirding" year around with her husband. I will write about that soon. But I still read your blog post and wonder about you. Be well and enjoy your life. It always sound so interesting.

We are going home for my daughter's retirement party soon but we will be back.

Much love,


Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

I love seeing how energized you are by your different kinds of interaction with other people. As an introvert, I'd be in a coma by the end of your good week!

Tyler Williford said...

I, too, have found myself worrying about things I have no control over. A few people see powerlessness as freedom and are comforted by it. My thoughts are the exact opposite, I feel nervous and sometimes frightened by the things in life I have no control. But you are right, we are all in this powerlessness thing together, and we all must help each other out.

Tyler Williford @ Marzo Smile