Can a person with an all or nothing personality go neutral? I wondered this yesterday as I came home stressed from my part time job. It’s not terribly stressful, but in my attempts to overdo it and do it better than anyone else, I found myself bringing the weight of my own expectations home with me. Why is it that I am the kind of person who likes to do it to the fullest or just give up and move on to the next project? What is that that distinguishes this type of personality?
When managed correctly, I think this particular disposition isn’t a terrible one to have. However, it has taken me many years, to understand that I even have this kind of nature, little loan understand it. YEARS! And I’m still no expert.
When I got out on my own, I found it incredibly difficult to manage myself. If I cared, I cared so much. If I didn’t care, I didn’t care at all. It has been a series of trial and error to discover my “work-life balance”, if you will. Most of that balance has come in the form of doing things I like and in doing it the way it works for me. This realization alone took many years and lots of experiments. It is no secret that everyone thinks they have the answers you’re looking for and without asking, they dump their opinions right onto your lap. I had enough experiences where a teacher/professor, a loved one, a magazine told me what I wanted. And I actually listened. However, nowadays my opinions are my own. I make SURE of it. I am pretty good at smiling and nodding, but I don’t contribute much because I already know my stance on most things. And that stance usually stems from passionate curiosity followed by research whether inward or outward. Not a regurgitated opinion of another. If people only thought more about their own problems and less about the affairs of others, our world would be better for us all.
Now, it’s me and a family, so it requires the utmost care and deliberate attention in order to get the day done and done right. I have to spread my attention across a job, a house, a kid, a husband, a garden, a yard, a dog and two cats…and make sure we all have what we need or I gotta go get it! I swear, if one is happy the other isn’t. It really is a balancing act and an art to learn WHERE to put your energies. I’ll say it again, it has taken me YEARS to understand these parts of myself, and I am still discovering every day what works for me and now, my newfound family.
My current learning experience is that we only have so much energy and we should be very careful about the ways in which we disperse that energy. If you use up all of your energy in one spot, you won’t have it to put towards the next thing. Like my kid when I get home. Or the tower of laundry that needs to be put away. And vice versa, I can’t leave all my energies at the house when I go to work or head out as an individual. You have to always carry some of it with you and keep some of it to and for yourself!
So, as I wondered whether or not I could find some neutral ground, I realized that I truly only need to invest just energy to do the job. No more, no less! Showing up is enough. If i give this little part time job 100%, then what energy do I give to the remainder of my responsibilities, life, passions? I realized that I don’t have to give this job “my all” or “my nothing” but maybe my “just enough”. And that alone was profound.