June 29, 2012

The job of doing nothing.

I'm on vacation this week.  I have no plans for a fancy cruise or even a plane trip back to visit my best friend across the States, but just a week to relax, help care for my grandkids while my daughter gets away with a few girlfriends, and to shake off the recent escalating burn-out from working six months without time off, except weekends.  No real plans, just the normal stuff like a hair cut, getting my nails done, see a few friends, and maybe getting a few repairs done around the house, but I especially didn't want to over-program my free time.

What's most surprising is how hard it is for me to have nothing really to do, no absolute plans, no need to "get things done."  I have a job where I am overloaded with my own tasks, on top of managing a staff of other women and keeping two doctors happy and functioning efficiently.  There's never a minute to breathe easily, I'm always rushing to catch up, and then sometimes I have to throw out what I needed to accomplish in a day while I tend to medical emergencies that are complicated and time-consuming.  Add to that the emotions of my staff, the growing discontent of my employers with their profession, and the angst of my sick patients, my job is often overwhelming.

So here I am at home with really nothing I "have" to do and it's taken me four to five days to relax and not feel like something is missing, that there's something I "should" be doing, that it's perfectly fine and natural to read or watch TV or sit outside and listen to the birds, that no one is expecting anything from me at all.  I think about a friend who lives in a small town in Minnesota where everyone speaks and moves slowly, where fun is getting together for dinner and cards at a friend's house, and where there are no high-pressure jobs to wear them out physically and emotionally.  And it's easy for them to do nothing, no problem.

At the end of this week, I finally feel the pressure lift and finally have accepted the idea that there's no one checking on what I've accomplished, there's no one judging my productivity, and there's no list that I was required to finish.  The reality is that there is no one judging me but me.  I'm the one who learned as a child that my worth is judged by my productivity, that "slacking off" is bad, and that just doing nothing is wrong.  I hereby change that concept and now accept that the garage is a mess but it doesn't matter, the household chores can wait, and that there is really no one who notices.  Kinda makes me think about what's important, which of course is the happiness of my daughter and her family, my health, and that I am able to take care of my self.  I'm not rich, I'm not famous, and I haven't climbed any memorable mountains or jumped out of any airplanes, but really, who cares!