I am trying to recover from being a workaholic and over achiever. The saying of “Easy Does It” was foreign to me. In fact, I wondered how you could take it easy, if you had my life. My parents always had me doing the chores before I could play. By afternoon when I was supposed to go off with the neighborhood kids, the tasks according to my parents were not done. I continued working the rest of the day. It was enforced that I had to do them and I wanted my parents to think I was a worthy person. I thought if I were productive, they would see my value.
What I learned was not to have fun or feel comfortable having fun if the work was not completed. In my life, I always had lists of what needed to be done. This actually helped me in school get my class work finished. My friends went swimming on the hot days while I stayed home and did my homework or studied for a test. The good part of this is that by college, I graduated and they did not.
However, in my marriage I found it hard to go to bed before the long list was completed. I would go into anxiety. Therefore, I would finish the projects so I could sleep. This meant less sleep many nights. My lists never seemed to get shorter.
I applied this attitude to my school teaching. I always had papers to correct, curriculum to write, or grades for report cards. Then I could do family things, which was another extensive list for the evening. I never had a spare minute to relax and enjoy life.
In addition, I had to help in our printing business, besides teaching, taking college classes to keep my job, taking care of the family, and the family chores, I was becoming exhausted. Starting up a business meant long hours into the middle of the night. Then up again and back to work by eight in the morning, with all the food cooked for our family’s meals while at the print shop. My children were getting a similar routine as I had growing up. It was all work.
For me it was either work at school, at the print shop or at home. I never had a moment to myself. The pressure was on. Then one Sunday after church, I was so tired, that I wanted to take a nap. I just was starting to settle in, when my husband came in. He picked me up off the bed, took me outside to the yard. He told me, “If I have to work in the yard, then you have to help me.”
Finally, I ended up at a psychiatrist’s office for help. I was not up to it all. He realized I needed a break. I was worn out, exhausted, and fatigued. He told me to take two years off from teaching. I was to do nothing. Being so fatigued that I laid in bed and asked God, “What am I supposed to be doing?” The answer came back. Now that I have you flat on your back, you are going to learn to meditate. This surprised me, as I did not know how to meditate. I told God, that he would have to teach me. That year was the beginning of a new way to handle my life.
However, my workaholic and overachieving was not easy to change for me. I still can get into that mode. If I have a moment, I go to the computer to write, pick up a brush to paint a commission, or meet with a client for counseling. I always have something I can do. This has been harder than quitting any other compulsions or addictions that I have had.
My parents told me what to do. My husband told me what to do. Then in meditation, I received guidance and followed that. Now, I am learning to make my own choices. This means I have to determine what the outcome could be if I make a poor choice. However, that includes not working and having fun today. Gradually, I have been slowing down and pacing myself more. I am taking on less projects with hard deadlines and enjoying more fun activities. Easy Does It makes for more enjoyable life, nowadays.
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Blog is marilynredmondbooks.blogspot.com
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