Friday, December 11, 2009

Superwoman lives on workahol and tears.

It's 12:30 am.  I have to be up at 6:00 am to start working on my final paper for my Psych class.  It's due at noon.  I also have four or five (or six) chapters to read in another class, and finals to study for in three others.  I have to write or find speaking parts for three Christmas programs I'm directing, finalize the music by Sunday, and prepare for final rehearsals.  I still have to work my full time job, and, of course, there's that family you all know and love.

But wait...There's also the Christmas shopping to plan and do.  I really should get my gifts for my parents in the mail.  I wonder if we're ever going to take our Christmas card pictures.  Did I really say I was going to make sure there were refreshments for my choir concert at work?  I wonder what I'm wearing to Richard's company Christmas party.  Are any of my nice clothes clean?  Laundry...I should do laundry...

4 years ago I took on a challenge from the man who would become my therapist and I sat on a rock in Zion National Park for four hours and did absolutely nothing.  Four hours of quiet reflection makes a girl look at her crazy busy life and say, "Why?"  I left the park determined to reevaluate and let go of everything (EVERYTHING) that didn't need to stay.

I kept the kids.  I kept the column.  I didn't keep much else.

Hello, my name is Sarah, and I'm a workaholic.  ("Hi, Sarah!") 

I wonder what I would say if I were to face the man who issued the challenge all those years ago?  "Hi, Steve.  Remember me?  No, not the new me.  It's Old Sarah again.  Are you enjoying those many thousands of dollars I paid you to help me in my quest for inner peace?  Where's the new me, you ask?  Oh I buried her under textbooks and sheet music and treatment plans and troubled teens and laundry.  Once she's done with that, I'll let her out long enough to do the dishes and shovel the walk and write the Christmas letter. And I'm really excited to tell her about the major rearranging I have planned for the house."

It's not all that bad.  Really... I keep telling myself that.  It keeps the tears at bay.  People have told me more times than I'm willing to count (who has time for counting?) that they think I'm some superwoman with everything I do.  They ask me how I do it.  I tell them I cry a lot.  They laugh because they think I'm joking.  "That Sarah...full time student, employee, mom, volunteer...and she's got such a great sense of humor about it."

Sometimes I want to shake people and say, "This is a disease!  Don't admire it, and PLEASE, don't aspire to be like me!"  I don't need accolades.  I need a 12 step program.

I mean, really.  Would you stand over a drunk in a bar and say, "Wow!  You really packed away the booze tonight!  You're setting your sights high!  I wish I could be like you!"  Well, ok, some people might do that, but I'm assuming discerning Mother Load readers aren't among them.

Don't mind me.  I get this way during final's week.  This time next week, I'll have finished my finals, had my good cry, and I'll be enjoying my time off.  The Christmas programs will be upon me, but I'll be handling those like a pro because I'll have danced like a crazy woman around the textbook bonfire.  I'll relish my school-free existence for a couple of weeks, perhaps taking a much needed adult vacation with Richard, and I'll head into next semester having forgotten completely my current state of workaholic stress.

It's like having a baby in that way.  (Workahol's such a tricky thing.)  All through labor you grunt and you moan and you endure contraction after contraction thinking you were a complete idiot to do this and you will definitely never be making that mistake again, and then there's this wiggly mass of joy in your arms and you think, labor who?  All this stress and academic travail will completely leave my mind the moment that grade point average is posted on my student page.  When January rolls around, I'll be all butterflies and rainbows over the excitement of a new semester.  Silly, excited Sarah.  She's so naive.

Every now and then, I consider spending four hours on a rock again and wonder what I would do with this crazy busy life if I did.  Somehow, I don't think much would change.  School is temporary and necessary.  Work is lifelong.  Blogging is the escape.  Family is forever.

Maybe I'll take a workaholic's shortcut and spend four minutes visualizing myself on the rock and I'll find something to change that will make my life just the tiniest bit easier to manage.  Okay...four minutes...start...NOW!
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Hello, my name is Sarah, and I am at peace with the universe.  (Hi, Sarah!)  After much reflection and deep breathing on my rock, I have decided I will no longer be cleaning out the litter box.  I will delegate this chore to my oldest child who will do anything for a soda.

Butterflies and rainbows, people. 

3 comments:

Tami said...

Love it! I need to simplify my life too, not sure how though... But I regularly commit to more than I can do. And last night instead of sewing or cleaning my house or finalizing the packing for my grandfather's funeral, I just went to bed and slept. And it was lovely. Except now I'm supposed to be leaving in 2.5 hours and still have to finalize the packing, do some cleaning, forget the sewing (taking some of it with me to do on my trip)... Somehow I don't think it will ever end. They say the dead "rest in peace" but I seriously doubt that you and I will even rest then.

Anna said...

Any particular soda?

Sarah Clark said...

Lol, Ray's a Mountain Dew Baja Blast man.