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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It's All in the Mind ...

It’s the day after Memorial day and I am home sick with a terrible cold. There’s no need to ask how we spent our last 3-day weekend since it was pretty much just resting and trying to get better. We did enjoy a family barbecue and got to see the new Indiana Jones movie (which was terrific) but other than that there was a lot of sneezing, coughing, nose-blowing and endless napping. This year has been a terrible year for me in terms of my health. I’ve seen my doctor so many times that the receptionist no longer asks for my name and social security number (she probably has it memorized). I’ve been on anti-biotics so many times that Dr. Fuster is afraid I am developing an immunity to it already. It’s so sad but most of the last few months I’ve been on the verge of, suffering through, or getting over the cold/flu.

My mom and dad have been encouraging me to take better care of myself (eat healthier, get some exercise, get plenty of rest). All of which I am trying to fit in my already hectic day. I think deep down I know that is the root of my problem. I’ve been too busy and the stress of work, home, and fitting everything in is getting to me too. While my Uncle Jeff was here, we had several eye-opening conversations. I had shared that I usually have a very hard time falling asleep since my mind is constantly thinking about work and deadlines and projects, etc. I’ve become one of those people that too structured and organized at the expense of leaving me bordering on being obsessive about it. Talking about it with Uncle Jeff and actually saying the words out loud was surreal – sort of like me admitting to something that I had subconsciously known all along. My mom rationalized that it is probably a result of my living alone that had caused me to developed into someone who likes things planned, likes order and hates having to face the unexpected. I pride myself of being organized but have to admit that living alone has made me a fanatic about to-do lists, tight schedules, and making sure everything falls into the plan.

It’s become so ingrained in me that I find joy in planning vacations that follow a schedule, with a strict itinerary and set activities. It’s hard for me to just go with the flow and enjoy the moment. Admittedly, I take on too much – I find it hard to say no. And that manifests itself in all aspects of my life. I take on projects at work that no one else will do, I commit to impossible deadlines and kill myself trying to reach them, I have an assistant and yet still find myself doing all the little administrative tasks that I should not be doing anymore. I like being the one people call on whether it’s to help with my older sister’s wedding, or to helps with Joy’s application to FIDM, and even to plan Jules’ birthday party. I can’t say no to my in-laws if I’m asked to babysit or to host a get-together. I almost never turn down having friends and family over for visits even if it kills me to play tour guide and juggle my busy schedule. I work full-time and indulge my guests with every minute of spare time I have left over. And yes, I worry too much. I worry about everything and everyone. Not in a crazy, fanatical kind of way, but rather I worry that everyone is ok, that projects are on track, that the house is taken care of, that guests are having a good time, that everyone is happy. I guess it’s a little bit crazy too.

And even knowing this about myself, it’s tough to try to become more detached. After all, how can I stop and wean myself from … being myself? It’s much easier said than done. I know I have to start laying boundaries and thinking about myself. I need to be more conscious of what I am capable of doing and what my limitations are. In addition, I need to start thinking about finding time for myself rather than trying to make sure everyone else is ok. I guess this realization and actually verbalizing this is a start. We’ll see how things go.

5 comments:

jol said...

You have clearly identified the problem. In your possession are the many suggestions and recommendations. You need to plan your course of action as you know yourself best. If all fails, you may have to change your job.

Joanne said...

It's true, dad, that identifying and admittting there is a problem is the first step. But I don't think it's this job ... I think it's how I am dealing with this job. It's true there is a lot of pressure with this job - but in all honesty it's not just work (it's everything else too). It's the way I deal with life. Maybe it does not matter what job I have if I don't learn how to deal with this better ...

Leslie Ty said...

Hi Jo!

I don't like to read that you're not feeling well or too stressed out =( i'm now wishing that you can start planning for your trip back to manila....maybe stay here for a year or more =)

i think the first thing you have to do is to schedule a time for yourself EVERYDAY....as in drop everything even for an hour or two...no thinking of work or doing household chores...and no feeling guilty about not doing anything ha? =)

lately, i've been feeling so stressed out from work...so i decided to leave work by 6pm...finish or not...i need to let go of the load so that i can let go of the stress... =)

Please take care of yourself okay?

i miss you and can't wait to see you =)

joanne said...

Thanks for your concern, Les. I guess at some point we all feel some type of stress and we have to figure out a better way to deal with it. Glad you found a way out of yours! =) I'm in the process of trying to work on mine. It helps to have the support of my family and friends like you.

Yes, I'm so excited to go home to Manila. Lately that's all Jojo and I talk about =) Don't worry as soon as the dates are set, you'll be the first to know.

Take care ka rin and stay happy too =)

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