I got a few responses on the content of my last post (both comments and personal emails) which makes me happy on two levels. One, it means that this confusion is something that folks relate to which gives me some guidance as to where to go with my mental excavation. And two, I take it to mean that there are at least some folks who read what I write and don’t immediately want to scream, “Can the Crazy!”
I appreciate both, but the latter because I want to live a bold life. I feel good about using this outlet as a way to do that and the support is nice. Thanks again.
So, to dig deeper into the feeling of confusion: For me, I feel increased confusion when I’m pressured by the idea of “deadlines”. I guess I started instituting deadlines in life because it seemed to work so well in both school and work. A “due date” helped me focus my activities and provided structure to aide in productivity. When the work was complete, I could always relish in the accomplishment of a completed task.
But at times, I have made up some Pulled From The Air deadline and let it run roughshod* over my life. One of those times, I was mired down in confusion over work. As days and weeks passed and I was still uncomfortable with the way things were, I thought, “When does this end?! How many more days or weeks…Just how much longer?! When do I turn in this assignment and get a new one?!”
Each day I’d think I had to be closer to relief and each day that it didn’t come I became more tangled in frustration. Progress stopped.
It was kind of like this: If you’ve followed along, you know that I do not like to run, but sometimes I let Joe convince me that it’s good for me. We agree on times or landmarks so that I have a finish line to look forward to and carry on. Well, the other day he pulled a fast one on me. Working in conjunction with the local meteorologist, Joe waited until we were almost finished (and I like to finish strong; swimming as a child, coaches always reiterated the importance of a solid finish) before he said, “Hey, it’s about to rain, let’s run up the hill so that we get back before the downpour starts.”
I stopped in my tracks.
I could not believe it. He was asking me to squash my triumphant dash to the end, so that I could struggle up a hill! I flat out told him he’d lost his ever-loving mind. If he wanted to run up that hill he could, but I had made it to the previously agreed upon stopping point and I would rather get caught in the rain than run up that hill. He ran ahead.
For me, it’s the same way with confusion and frustration during any transition. I think if I can make it to “this point” then something will happen that will relieve the stress. As I get close to “that point” I gain a bounce of assurance that “this” is almost behind me, but then as soon as the deadline passes I am left flat-footed. The deflation of still being where I was humbles and humiliates.
After a few cycles of this and with pursed lips, I realized that confusion and frustration don’t have deadlines. I can’t rush through them and I’m really irked by that. Instead, I have to own the confused and frustrated feeling. Because if I march into each day with a leniency that allows me to forgive myself for not being through “it” yet maybe I won’t get caught in the rain.
*I had to look up roughshod. I thought that it meant something like “to treat harshly or domineering”, but I wasn’t sure — it does. I can’t place who, but someone in my life has used it often enough that I felt pretty confident it would fit there, but I’m glad to know the actual meaning.