Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Bottleneck

Elizabeth Willis Barrett
October 20, 2010

I feel like I have entered a very long bottleneck in my life. I’m not sure what has caused it. Maybe it’s because Brad is home more after becoming semi-retired or maybe it’s because more of our kids and grandkids live nearby. Doing volunteer work with some young adults that takes me away from home a couple of nights a week could have something to do with it. All I know is that I used to be able to sit down and watch an old movie while I cleaned out a drawer or folded the clothes or put pictures in scrapbooks or something else as necessary but mundane. But now I seem to have no time for anything. Not even for cleaning the toilets or brushing down embarrassing cobwebs. Not even for calling a friend and suggesting a time for lunch.

Maybe it’s because I now go to work for two mornings a week. This life crunching really started in earnest at the exact time I went to Real Estate School. But since I stay at work for such a short time, my co-workers would marvel if they heard me say that work keeps me from the life I used to know. In the beginning I was supposed to work a lot at our new On Q Property Management business, but as it turns out, I can’t seem to get around to carrying out even the few assignments I am given.

Maybe it’s because I try to take care of my Mom a little. I’m afraid, however, that my brother and sister-in-law would be quick to say that I’m not putting too much time into that project either. Mom needs lots more of my help.

Is it Facebook? I’m definitely not into Farmville or any of that stuff although I do check Facebook two or three times a day to see if anyone has said something interesting. They usually haven’t. But it is easy to stay at the computer too long—checking e-mail, renewing library books, looking up bits of information. My blog takes a bit of time, too, but not nearly as much time as I’d like to give it. There are so many topics I want to write about and post on my blog. I planned to post once a week but I can’t get around to that either.

I feel like I am in traffic that as a body slows down to gawk at a minor fender-bender which makes everyone wonder what the holdup is. Then, for no apparent reason, the traffic picks up speed again and everyone is on their way. Only I’m not on my way. I’m still gawking. I’m still in the bottleneck with all the stuff I should be doing crammed in here with me.

Part of the problem is that I’m gone a lot. We go to the mountains or to a conference Brad has or to visit Jana in Utah. I don’t do that nearly as often as I’d like either. But it does seem that we are frequently packing and unpacking which could be adding to the bottleneck sensation.

When the kids were little I thought life was jammed to overflowing and I looked forward to the time of existence when life would slow down. What a surprise to get to this stage and find that it is just as overwhelming.

It’s not that I want to just hang around. I’ve always loved being busy. I like a schedule—my schedule, not someone else’s. I like waking up to an alarm and stretching and biking and writing down the things I want to get done that day and getting at it. But I can’t seem to get that far anymore. Like I say, I have hit a bottleneck.

I keep thinking I’ll pull out of it soon—this crowdedness of life. After all, traffic bottlenecks eventually loosen up. If I could just exercise every day and do one little project like clean out a closet, update family pictures, or plant some flowers, I don’t think I would feel so tight and congested. But I seem to be on a variety of other people’s schedules and I can’t get to mine.

I sense that I am only muddling through this phase of my life. I’ve got my foot on the pedal looking for an opening so I can break out. But just when I think there is a chance of escape, someone says something like, “Hey, Christmas is only 9 weeks away!” And the bottleneck closes around me and I quit looking for an exit. Maybe, for now, there isn’t one. So I guess I’d better start looking out and enjoying the view because it doesn’t look like things are going to change for a long, long time.


Kim & Max Willis family said...

Life is unfortunately always changing.sometimes good and sometimes bad. I feel like I'm already in a different part of my life by having my youngest child almost 5. The baby stage is over.
i really enjoy your writing Aunt Liz!

Tami Allred said...

Well said Lady! I sometimes feel the exact same way but never can express or explain it like you do.
I wish I had some advice but all I can think of is "This too shall come to pass" then what?

Teena Lurlene said...

Dear Elizabeth, I stumbled onto your blog while searching for a picture of a pill box. what a great read, we could be twins. Thank you for your delightful musings!