I found some interesting contradictions about my behavior under pressure. I remember the times from my childhood when I played the accordion, and I had to play on every possible occasion and celebration in our village. Since there were not many children around who were playing on instruments, playing in an orchestra or a band were not possible. There was only me, playing in solo, sitting on a chair on the stage by myself, with my accordion in my hands. I often had to play in front of hundreds of people in the theater room of the town. I can still recall that anxious feeling that made my stomach turn, the heart palpitations, and the unbearable nervousness that accompanied me before the performances. I didn’t like it. I hated being on the stage all alone, and I was always terrified of it, sometimes more, sometimes less. I never admitted to myself for years how I felt about it, I just did it because I felt I had to. I considered it a challenge that I simply had to face over and over again.
I feel like I need a fresh start and a complete renewal from time to time, every few years, to feel a total freedom to start everything all over again. Just like what I have now. I experienced this after I came home from my university studies abroad, then a few years later when I quit my job and had a heart surgery because of my inborn heart arrhythmia. I could start everything all over, with a clean sheet. I had no goals, I had no plans, only wanted to solve the issue of my heart condition, then start a new life.
I didn’t go to work today. This was the third day this week when I stayed home. I am writing and answering e-mails, arranging a few things, but I don’t have any errand to take care personally or any meeting to attend, and I don’t feel like meeting people anyway, so I rather stay home. Besides, the temperature outside is extremely high, that convinces me even more not to leave the apartment.
I’ve read an interesting thought in Kabat-Zinn‘s book “The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness“. He is writing about the mechanisms of depression, that our problem-solving capabilities can prove ineffective, or rather counter-productive when dealing with feelings, especially with negative feelings. Because the more we ruminate – trying to stop an otherwise fleeting feeling – the bigger problem we generate for ourselves. This hit me as a revelation because this is exactly what I am doing very often. I am trying to figure out and solve things, and keep ruminating about as if there was a rational solution for them.
In the last year or so, during my father’s cancer, I didn’t really have any options. I had to be close to my family, there was no question about it in me. I had to fight along them, together, day after day, hoping for the miracle to happen, and then accepting the inevitable.
Was I unsatisfied with my job? Of course I was, but I wasn’t even thinking about this, I didn’t have the energy or time to deal with such questions. I needed the money, and I definitely didn’t have the energy to change anything. Was I unsatisfied with my love relationship? Yes I was, but I wasn’t thinking about this, I might have not even known I was unhappy with it. I knew that this was not the time for dealing with these kinds of matters. I had to be frugal with the finite amount of energy I had. I wanted to focus it to my family. Everything else was only working at a minimum level. I had no other choice if I wanted to preserve my health and sanity.
Since my father died, and things have gotten settled slowly, I started feeling that I am gradually climbing out of the deep pit I was in. And with that emerged the feeling that I am unhappy in my work and in my relationship as well. And along came the realization, that this time I have options again, and these options are limitless. Nothing is obligatory now, for nobody am I responsible, I am my own boss now. My well-being and happiness is in my own hands. I do whatever I want with my life. Every choice is on me, more than ever before. It is my choice what I do about my unsatisfactory job and my unhappy relationship. This gives me big challenges, but on the other hand huge opportunities!
It is becoming more and more apparent to me that I have problems with my time and managing it.
It is Monday morning. I went to sleep yesterday with the feeling that I am going to have a great day today. And it all started accordingly. I woke up nice and refreshed. I arrived at work on time, everything went perfectly. Until my stomach flinched, when my boss asked me about the delay of my document-management project, for which he hadn’t given me enough people to work on it for a year now. It was really hard to keep calm and balanced, but after that everything went back to normal.
I came home late to work some more, then two colleagues came to me to talk about our private little business venture. I went down to open the garage for them, and I saw that they had put a wheel clamp on my car, in front of my own garage. I saw that someone had put a black bag on the table that permitted parking. I went completely out of my mind, I lost the ground under my feet, my heart started pounding. I spent the whole meeting not really knowing where I was. Even an hour later, when I was going to the post office to pay the penalty, I had to take deep breaths to be able to control myself.
All this on a day that seemed to be so perfect, for a while…