Turn the knob, don't pull the plug

Posted by Jennifer Hatt on 13 June 2014 | 0 Comments

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I'm really dating myself here, referring to dials rather than touch screens, but that's part of who I am, old. I also feel like a radio these days, needing to tune out but not wanting to lose the signals that enrich my life. It's like when the country hour comes on our local station. I can handle a few of these artists, actually enjoy the occasional tune here. If I turned the whole thing off, I'd miss the good songs. Or, if the tuning is nudged off-station, I don't pull the plug, I fine-tune the setting. On days when I need silence, I don't take a hammer to the radio, I turn it off, and save the rail for a day when the music is welcomed.

I just wish controlling the signals from life were as easy.

When exhausted and overwhelmed, I have no energy for separating and sorting. Every emotion, request, appointment, deadline, and thought swirls together until a huge knotted clump of confused, angry half-deeds knocks about my frazzled brain until I am paralyzed by anxiety and frustration. In desperate need of relief, I think about quitting my work, my writing, my career, and in my darkest hours, life itself, anything to make the noise and feelings stop. what I need to do, though, is not pull the plug but tweak the tuning. I may need to focus on one task for awhile rather than split my energy between two or three. I may need a station playing different music; a change, after all, is as good as a rest. Or, I may just need to turn things off for awhile. Take a mental health day and sit on the beach, in my room with a candle, or on my deck surrounded by trees. No electronics, no people, just me. 

In my 19 days of exploring ways to cool the burnout and Keep It Super Simple, I have learned that never will the world change for me - only I can slow down or declutter my world. Requests will continue to pour in, calendar dates will keep piling up ... It is up to me to put them in their place: Accept or Decline, Save or Delete. That way, I can hear the signals I want, even when the batteries are low. Be selective now, to avoid total meltdown in the future.

Thanks for listening. See you tomorrow.

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