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I’m not going to lie, this was a tricky one for me. Work. Where do I draw the boundaries of what ‘work’ is for me? I don’t fully belong in the SAHM category, nor am I logging hours at a nine to five. I’m a chronic student. I have one master’s degree and I’m working on another, and throwing in a PhD just for fun. I’m also teaching an undergraduate class. I guess that’s work, but that’s also fun (if you remind me that I said this during finals week, I’ll cut you). I’m also attempting to raise two semi-well adjusted boys (success tbd). Straight forward enough, right? I like to think so, because all the above makes me sane. What follows below might make me a little less so.

First: an anecdote.

I recently saw a list of characteristics shared by “high achievers” and this one jumped off the page:  Usually feels anxious when engaged in a task, wanting to finish it and get on to the next one. “That’s totally me!” I thought basking in the joy of affirmation, and not a split second later that’s when it hit me (again). I’m a nutcase. I had literally just finished calculating the number of minutes it took to complete a square for my quilt top, multiplied it by the number of squares left, and divided it by the number of nights I was allotting myself to finish it. Yeah, this is what I do to fun things. I know, you want me at your next party, don’t you. Get in line.

I have a whole host of things that fall under the fun category. I do my best impersonation of an 1800’s homesteader. I sew, can, quilt, you name it.

I take pictures and convince myself that one day I’ll master photography, damnit. Alongside my husband we renovate a turn of the century house (“renovating” is just a fancy way of saying our front door looks like it belongs to a crack house).

If you get close enough, it's artsy. See? Not an invitation for a mandatory tetanus shot. Instead it's a beautiful work of old nail, chicken wire, and plaster art.

You thought I was exaggerating didn’t you? Admit it.

In thinking about what ‘work’ meant to me I realized I can’t separate it from fun. Not only because I love what I do, but also because I approach work and fun the same way. I list and I tackle. Then I bask in the accomplishment.

Work. Play. Employment. Hobbies. All enmeshed, scribbled into never-ending to do lists. All contributing to some warped sense of accomplishment, and thus joy. I sure Buddhists are writhing in pain at my un-zen-ness but it is what it is. And truth be told, I kind of like it that way.

Tell me I’m not the only one. Or am I? Are you all blissed out with your oneness of your true self when you’re not working, or are you buckling down and plowing through fun with fierce determination?

Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got to go check this off my list.

p.s. Just in case you’re reading my list closely and see “look into abandoning children” I want you to know this is school related. Now if you see abandon children and it’s crossed out, then there’s a problem.

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  1. April 5, 2012

    This is me. At work I was always meticulous, conscientious and well-organised. My university notes were a work of art. I take the same approach to my hobbies – lists of books to read, books to buy, books I have read. Lists of sewing projects, the materials I will need, how long they will take and so on. I write my blog once a week whether I have anything to say or not. I keep a hand written (with a fountain pen) journal every night. I love everything to be calm, well-ordered and within my control. One of the things I love most about parenting and home-schooling my soon-to-be-five boy is the way he challenges this approach with a need for flexibility and adaptability. I still list and organise but now with back up plans c, d, e, and f. My day usually starts out like a well-prepared Ray Mears expedition and ends up like an episode of Jackass :0)

    • Becky #
      April 5, 2012

      Nightly journal?! I bow to you newly christened queen of task management.

  2. April 5, 2012

    First of all, you are VERY funny. LOL! I can’t say I have your energy … anymore. I used to when I was younger. As I’m getting older and the kids are doing their own thing, I find myself picking and choosing the couple things I want to do and I try to do them well … not so sure if that’s happening, but I do enjoy those things. You do remind me of a very good friend of mine. She’s got the same sense of humor and lists all over the place. I don’t know if it’s insanity or genius or maybe a little of both. LOL! Either way, I love it. 😀

  3. April 5, 2012

    I think it is actually quite Zen-like to recognize yourself. The ancient sages say that the path to enlightenment is self realization. If it makes you happy, keep on!

    I also love lists and get very excited about planning. I just need to remind myself to keep the same excitement and stay in the moment when whatever is on the list is actually happening.

    • Becky #
      April 5, 2012

      Ahh, that’s the challenge right there. Bingo. Staying in the moment. I work at this constantly but when I’m on the floor playing lego for the bajillionth time I can only last about five minutes.

  4. kathy #
    April 5, 2012

    this is good. when I worked at the office I was meticulous…but somehow I lost that. Not sure when it happened. I love to plan, and write things down…then I lose the sheet of paper, and I forget all about it. I have the best of intentions, and they get lost in the shuffle of life. Start projects I don’t finish. Like right now, I have a basement filled with unfinished projects, while I sit up here and type. But you are not alone, my husband is a list maker, and yes, I see the sparkle in his eyes when he gets to cross off items. Its a great trait to have, and someone in the household needs it!

    • Becky #
      April 5, 2012

      None of this is to say I ever make it through a list with everything crossed off. I’ll admit, both with the house and with my tasks, I’m a 90 percenter.That’s why the rest of the living room renovation was done 4 years ago, but the door sans trim remains.

      • kathy #
        April 5, 2012

        hahaha, who needs trim?

  5. April 5, 2012

    Nope… you might be insane. I say that in the most loving way.

    • Becky #
      April 5, 2012

      Somehow I find your acknowledging my insanity oddly comforting. Plus in a double dose of weirdness I kind of like that I’m insane.

  6. April 5, 2012

    I definitely saw pieces of myself reflected in this post. Relaxation does not–and has never–come naturally to me. It wasn’t until I started getting ocular migraines (a sign of stress) that I recognized I needed a change. Now, I literally schedule in time on my calendar during which I force myself to do nothing of consequence (or it would never happen). The only objective during that time is to figure out how to decompress and wind down. I know — it sounds nuts. But, you gotta do what you gotta do.

  7. April 5, 2012

    It’s the reason why we’re good friends. We understand the nutcase-isms.
    I’ve been doing that with the pages of the book you lent me. Pages left / by the days you have it checked-out = Hopefully finished with no fines.

  8. Jill #
    April 7, 2012

    At work, I am a list-holic. I make lists and then categorize what needs to be done first with highlighters. But home? Fuck . . . I can’t even be bothered to get my shoes upstairs most days. I swear by the reminder feature on my phone (best.thing.ever), but at home, all the wheels come off the cart. And summer? I am a useless piece of shit.

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