Living in the Present
This year has been a steep learning curve for me. If I thought I was busy before, this year, with medical issues for three people rather than just one, has taken my schedule to a whole new level. Plus grad school and work. And trying to be a human being. And with the increased busyness has come an increased level of stress. I have more details to remember and juggle. More appointments to squeeze into fewer days at Mom's. More calls to make. As I've faced this, I've watched Mom increase in her worry and fretfulness, to the point where I want to scream. It doesn't make a lot of sense. I'm busier so she frets... This, of course, is a sign of the fuzzy boundaries she's always had, now on steroids, as she feels less in control about the rest of her life.
But as frustrating as it's been, I'm using the opportunity to learn some new skills. The most important of these is what I call "living in the present." While I do have to do some pretty fancy juggling, the reality is that I only have to touch one ball at a time. I only have to attend one appointment, make one phone call, solve one crisis at a time. I may have to move fast and be creative, but I only have to do one at a time. I've learned that to the extent that I can keep this in mind, to that extent I can live in the present rather than the future.
The thing that keeps Mom exhausted is trying to keep everything in her mind at the same time. She literally lives in the past, the present, and the future at the same time. No wonder she's tired!
Especially tiring is the living in the past. I had an incident last night that made that real for me. A conversation didn't go well. Two people were left hurt (I was one of them…). As I keep replaying it, it get overwhelmed and exhausted. I see once again how important it is to resolve that which can be resolved and let go of the rest. It's the mental rehearsal that consumes my energy.
How do you cope with multiple demands? What techniques do you use to live in the present? And what happens when you don't?