My wife has three middle names: I’m Busy, I’m Tired, and Loren. Her parents gave her the third one while I gave her the first two. I thought when she stopped working, the I’m Busy name might no longer be relevant but I was wrong. Somehow, she seems even busier – at least in her own mind. Granted, she’s an awesome (and anal-compulsive) housekeeper as well as a tremendous cook.
Her big goal – post working – has been to devote her energy to becoming the best golfer she can be! I, on the other hand, find I often have time on my hands. What is the difference (between us)?
This column could be part of my Men vs. Women blog series, but I think it is less about inherent differences between men and women versus how any of us handle life. I’ve often thought how ironic it is that all the technology in the world has only complicated our lives, when expectations were that it would simply life. Life is FAR from simple today. Most of us stay plugged-in too much of the day/night and the ability and opportunity to work is 24/7.
In my case, I like to think that I’m very efficient in my exercise of time. I write quickly, I edit quickly, and I move quickly. Sometimes, too quickly, without a doubt, such as whenever I open my mouth. But, I’m a high-strung Type-A guy and I do get a lot done. To be clear, my wife is no slouch in the speed category but her list to “To Do’s” is never-ending, while mine is decidedly shorter.
Is there a gender bias in the being-busy aspect of life? I really don’t know. In my single parent days, when I was dating – between marriages – I was often struck by how many of the single (usually divorced) moms claimed to be so overwhelmed. I had the same duties and obligations yet I didn’t feel besieged. Yes, I was bored with some of the same ol’ chores and chauffeur aspects of being a parent, but I wasn’t so busy I felt burdened.
When it came to dating, I found the time to date while many of the women I met often disclaimed how hard it was to find that time. Huh? I know this is crass but I believe men will ALWAYS find time to get laid. After all, we men are simpletons and don’t actually need to know someone well to have sex with them.
I retired when I was in my mid-forties and devoted my newly free time to parenting, taking care of my ill parents, volunteering at my boys’ school, and (volunteering) in other areas. Then, my first wife left and all these duties amped up along with the emotional detritus that accompanies most divorces. I often refer to those years as “the dark days of (my) divorce.” I indeed did feel overwhelmed but I know that those feelings were mostly associated with all the fear that accompanied those dark days.
When the divorce was done and my parents both died (sad, but it was their time), I found myself with a LOT of time on my hands. I knew it was time to find a new outlet – whether it was traditional work or something else.
Over time, I re-invented myself as a writer and Social Media devotee, replete with a radio show, a syndicated column, a couple of published books, speaking engagements, and much more. During this transition period I met my future wife and life began to get a bit settled again.
Years later – now – my boys are grown with one out of the house and the other leaving soon for college. My wife is busy with her golf life and I’m less busy than I’ve been in a long time. In fact, I’m in the process of re-evaluating my Social Media life (another story and another column will be coming on this).
We both have a daunting short-term task ahead of us that will keep us quite busy as we are selling our present home and moving into a new one, in another state. The sorting through of long-held possessions, choosing which to keep and which to sell or discard, is an unpleasant but temporary process. And, moving from one state to another is also a short-term anxious process, along with the setting up of the new place from simply outfitting the kitchen to the décor and furnishings, much of which my wife is handling.
I call this, “Happy Stress” because it’s a move of choice, but all moves carry with them a degree of stress and this one will be no different. Finding things we’ve packed, getting used to new tech in a new home, simply getting the wi-fi working properly will be the annoying part of this “Happy Move.” And, finding all those places we’ll regularly shop at, people we’ll need for various services, and making new friends will also take time and patience.
Did I mention that I have NO patience?
Do YOU feel overwhelmed? What stresses trigger you to panic or want to run away? We all have these triggers and times when life does seem trying. We’re going through ours now, but I pray and expect we’ll come out the far happier for it.