Designated Relaxation Period

10 July 2001

Too many things on my project list! Like Tim, I find that I've overplanned and overscheduled myself. But it's all stuff that I need to get done. This is the problem with freelancing: very few of my "need to get done" items are externally imposed. Nobody is saying to me, "M'ris, you've had 'Dark Thread' drafted since February, it's time to send it out now." I say it to myself. If I didn't finish Reprogramming in the next week and a half, two weeks, what would happen? I'd finish it the week after that. Or something.

For some people, this leads to endless procrastination. For me, endless deadlines. Because there's just so much I want to do. A lot of it I need to do on some level. I was talking to Mark about how I feel responsible for everybody and everything, and he thought that the solution was not to make me responsible for less stuff. He thought the solution was to make me responsible for more stuff: "Make sure N games of solitaire get played. It is now your responsibility to watch 'Babylon 5' intently." And so on.

It was a nice thought, but....

My mom (this is not a non sequitur) has mellowed a lot in my memory. A lot of people who don't know her assume that she's the geek version of a stage mother. Nope. My mom was the one running after my driven little geeky self shouting, "Wait! Slow down a minute and relax!" I think the only thing in which she's really pushed me to overachieve is to mellow and relax at an earlier age than she did.

I'm trying! I'm trying as hard as I can! I have relaxation scheduled in for this evening after I'm done writing the series synopsis and working on Reprogramming but before I write to my godmother! Five to ten minutes of intense relaxation!

Again, Ms. Kinkle was there ahead of her time, teaching a handful of gifted second graders some relaxation techniques. We needed them. Not because of our parents. Because of ourselves. It's ingrained. And I get really upset at people who talk about giving kids like I was the chance to be kids. Usually this means taking away the things I loved. It means assuming that little kids really are blank slates and can be made into whatever personality some adult thinks is cool. Instead, Ms. Kinkle recognized that we weren't all the same, and dealt with the way we actually were.

What a concept.

So I'm dealing with it, too. Accepting it. Going with it. Taking breaks when I can and otherwise getting more novels and short stories out of it than I would if I was a mellow, relaxed personality. And friends are good for this, because friends are not goals. Spending time with friends is not time towards achieving a goal. It's an activity all to itself.

Following the train of thought through my beady little brain, I was talking to one of my friends yesterday, and he said something about parental responsibility, how your parents are there for you as a safety net when you're young, how they're taking responsibility for their actions in having a child in the first place. And it became pretty clear to me that my friend is not an only child. (I knew this already, but.) Because when you're an only, there's this weird balance that occurs. First, your parents are responsible for you, for making sure that you're okay, that you're not going to stick your finger in a light socket or ride your tricycle off a cliff. And then your parents get less and less responsible for you as you get to be responsible for yourself. But if you're an only child, you always know that there will be no one else to take care of your folks. There will be nobody else to stay with them when they need surgery, there will be nobody else to tell them it's time to sell the house. If anyone helps (usually spouses and children), it's because you let them or ask them to. Right now my folks and I are sliding into the "got your back" region of responsibility, where they're still taking more care of me than I am of them, but we can deal with each other as allies against nasty parts of the rest of the world. I like this part. I won't be eager to give it up. Good thing it lasts awhile.

I think I've rambled enough. There are some more things I need to get done before one of my designated relaxation periods.

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