A few weeks ago, I decided to have elective foot surgery, an operation that was essential to getting me mobile again after a gradual increase in pain every time I put my foot to the ground. It meant that I was immobile for some weeks and relied on my husband and sons to take care of me or at the very least, feed me. I expected that I would find it difficult to be out of action, that my body would slow down but I did not anticipate that my brain would gradually putter to a halt, like a car running out of petrol. At first I was frustrated by my inability to get around, and found ways of keeping occupied; painting (I produced a funny looking artwork that will stay within the confines of this house), ‘doing’ Ancestry stuff until I had run out of new leads, reading, Netflixing (The Stranger was a good one and surprisingly Schitt’s Creek kept me amused), scrolling through FB (wow, I can see why this appeals to the masses) and sleeping. I even attended a job interview on crutches (probably not a good move). However, as I entered the third week of my rehabilitation, I noticed I simply stopped trying to be ‘busy’.
Busyness is something I have been trained to do all my life. Growing up as the eldest daughter of a family of eight children, idleness was unacceptable. There was always a cupboard to be cleaned out or clothes to be hung on the line. In the past, when I’ve been home, between jobs, I’ve found things to do like renovating furniture, making lampshades, volunteering for programmes, writing Blogs. I always felt I had to be useful and productive and that was tied into my sense of self-worth. However, now a new feeling has come over me. I just can’t be bothered. Considering this, I shared the following thought with a friend recently.
We live in a society now where it’s not okay to ‘be’. We always have to be wanting more and striving for more at all times. We can never rest on our laurels (though to mitigate the ‘stress’ of getting more, that’s exactly what the gurus of mindfulness are recommending). Up until now, I have been seeking, seeking, seeking. What’s next? When will I be successful? When will I reach that pinnacle where there is respite from the incessant nagging that there must be more? Or is it possible that success is not measured using the criteria I am currently using. The irony of this is that, other than having enough money in the bank to pay the mortgage, I’m beginning to wonder if I know what that criteria even are. I called my consultancy Open to Success on a serendipitous whim, and a sense that I could be of assistance to others who are seeking success. Now, I’m not sure what success, outside of monetary gain, really is. Am I being overindulgent? Or is now the time to simply sit and think? Or am I just plain tired from all that searching? I think I know what my mother would say. Something akin to what she said when, at the age of fifteen I complained that my legs were too big. “Just thank God you have legs,” she quipped. Lesson learned. You think too much, get on with your life.
Well, I am not going anywhere today though, so I have plenty of time to think about the answers to those questions. That’s if I can get my brain out of park and fill it up with petrol.