For this post, I need to check every category box and tag every subject that could possibly be, because this applies to everything.
But I won’t. It would be too overwhelming.
I am overwhelmed by my e-mail, particularly since I started following a number of blogs. I am overwhelmed by chores, and projects around the house that seriously need doing. I am overwhelmed by the amount of music I want to hear, TV shows I want to see, movies to see, and books to read. I am overwhelmed by The Song of Ice and Fire. I am overwhelmed by requests from my family, friends who want to do things, and strangers who want me to sign their petition. I am overwhelmed with working on my novel.
This is all good, because I enjoy nearly all of what I am overwhelmed by, even the chores. Chores have, after all, easily recognized results. Laundry=clean clothes. Cooking=dinner. Cleaning=Not having your hand stick to the handle when you open the refrigerator. Results aside, finding a way to enjoy the mundane everyday of life is a healthy choice.
Feeling overwhelmed, when done as a way of life, is less healthy. By the term, “way of life,” I’m seeking to differentiate “overwhelmed,” the feeling, from the outside circumstances that may trigger the feeling. Okay, that’s a little confusing. Let me explain.
I feel a little ashamed to call myself “overwhelmed.” I am not besieged by troubles at this point in my life, I’m not coping with illness, family trouble, work trouble, children trouble…what problems I have are small potatoes when compared to troubles others have, and even pale in comparison to past times in my own life.
Overwhelmed is the feeling triggered by what I encounter each day. Overwhelmed is the reaction I choose to have to all that. I am overwhelmed because I am open, willing, and able to throw myself into what’s happening. At times, I’ve responded to the world by wanting to retreat and withhold. My experience tells me that sort of isolation leads to feelings of uselessness and futility. I’ll take feeling overwhelmed, thank you.
Writing makes me seek the overwhelming. Any creative activity, but writing most of all. I have to be actively working on something, and it has to be going passably well, but there is something about the rush of bringing the world-in-my-head to life on paper that makes me feel fifty feet tall. Yeah, I think. I can do that! And that, and that, and that…. There is a connection between creativity and grandiose ambition. It’s problem-solving, turned into a game. Feeling like a good writer makes me fly about my world like a superhero, righting wrongs, changing light bulbs, giving out good humor to all I meet.
I might even be on top of things for a short while, and if not caught up, at least within shouting distance of not feeling overwhelmed. And then, something happens, like the flu, or a vacation, or Christmas. Extra tasks are added, days are taken away, and every aspect of life devolves into a messy pile of stuff to do. Stuff I want to do. And feeling overwhelmed.
And I tell myself, Enjoy. It’s better than the alternative.
Photos: Speculativemartha. All rights reserved.