Has relaxing become a thing that we all have to learn to do?
I’ve always been someone that feels I should be ‘doing’, achieving, getting something done. My Dad, Paddy, was the same, I must have inherited some of that from him. But as the years have rolled by, and I have learned and evolved, I understand so much of that need is tied up with the fear of being judged: because you haven’t mowed the lawn, or painted the house, or finished decorating the entire house, or got a promotion, or finished that piece of work, or don’t have as much money as the next person, or are too fat, too thin (I wished) and on and on and on into infinity and beyond. Of course it’s Not just about that, there is normally an additional reason or two.
Since visiting my highly astute counsellor in 2014, who told me many things about myself: I was a ‘doer’, I constantly set myself targets, to the point that I had driven myself to the verge of madness, I realised that I had to evolve (although we do change I think we have to evolve into a changed person, we don’t just change per se.)
The Counsellor explained things to me in such a way that I knew that I had to see and understand this in myself, and I had to learn to control it, not completely stop it, because I would drive myself insane trying in the process, because it was an innate part of me. To do that the Counsellor asked me to write a list of what I HAD done, instead of what I hadn’t done. It had to be everything from loading the dishwasher, to unloading the dishwasher, putting the washing into the machine to taking the washing out of the machine, you get the picture? Everything was a job, and I never considered any of them, I would do them all and more and then think ‘I must get on.’
Moving to France was one of the contributors to helping me make that change but not in the way most would come to expect, in fact it was the complete opposite. In France we had an acre of land, it was a complicated piece of land, with a chemin (lane), about five oak trees, a sycamore tree, sloping front in the front part of the garden, a huge hedge which wouldn’t stop growing and two large parcels of land.
Basically it was so complicated it overwhelmed us and in the end we just let it be what it needed to be and just mowed the huge lawns. We had to, it was a full time job on its own, then add to that log stacking…..
Making up the fire in the log burner, and keeping it burning in the winter, a must if it’s your only form of heat.
There was the house itself: being surrounded by fields is a wonderful thing, but unlike where we are now there were no hedgerows, so the dirt they bring with them just blows into the house. Add to that we had no double glazing, the fire was our only form of heating and that house was dust city. I would clean my kitchen every day, wiping it all down, and the next day it would be back again. Let’s not get started on the beams and the spiders webs!
So I had to learn to let go. When the temperature was at fourty degrees none of it was being done.
Fast forward to yesterday. As I said in previous posts I have had the week off work, and I planned so much: we were going to the Sloughan Glen Waterfalls, The Giants Causeway, and The Castle where the Martyrs were shot. So far we have been to the waterfalls. We have the garden to do, so far we’ve done a bit of weeding and had a bag of soil delivered, I was going to do some paperwork, so far I have succeeded in just adding to the pile of filing! So when RD and I sat on the sofa together yesterday, chilling in front of the TV, we both felt guilty, and then I realised…
In the last year (yes it was a year ago that our house went on the market) I have been back to Jersey for a total of eight weeks, with all the travelling that entailed. RD replaced the roof on the barn.
We have packed up a whole house, had to clear our a huge barn, organised the logistics for a big move with two cats and two dogs in tow, and the huge amount of work that entails. Lived in not one but two air BnB’s. I have lost count how many times we have loaded that van! Set up new lives in a new country (an ongoing process), found a house, bought a house, decorated some of said house, tried to relocate our stuff (more of that in another blog) which is still ongoing, but hopefully resolved soon with a full stop behind it.
I have found work, and had to find my way around to work. We have spent hours looking for work, until ‘Life’ reminded us she was doing the driving where that was concerned.
Moved in a pandemic so we have had to buy clothes because we only arrived here with a small amount of winter clothes, and household items because all of ours are in France. I have been to the hospital and follow up appointments, and we are now finally registered with a Doctor for the first time in seven years. There is so much more besides: finding a vet, a dog groomer (bless the first one we used he had never seen a Welshie in his life and Wiglet came out with a tail like a shih Tzu, and Harley looked like he had pigtails! So we had to track down another). I could go on, but you get the picture..
So yesterday, when I sat on the sofa berating myself for not having achieved as much as I wanted, I realised why this week I need a ‘holiday’, as the definition dictates ‘a time to relax.’ All the places we want to visit are on our doorstep, we live here, we don’t have to cram them into a week.
At the moment Ireland is experiencing a mini heatwave, so lets the most of it and enjoy it while it’s here. Life is all about learning, all the time…