Fierce Discontent

“Now is the winter of our discontent…” begins Shakespeare’s play Richard III,  a drama that depicts this 16th century monarch as a malevolent, deformed schemer.  And while I wouldn’t go so far as to describe myself as malevolent, and certainly not deformed, I admit wholeheartedly to a firece discontent with this particular season of my life.

It’s not the weather, vile as that has been here of late.  Nope, it’s a feeling that everything in my life is out of whack, unbalanced, out of control, like the wind that’s been wreaking havoc on trees and power lines all over this state.

My work life is a prime example, for while the general economy has downturned, my particular business seems to be booming, with the result that I’m always behind the eight ball in terms of getting work completed.  My boss has come to rely on me for more and more large and complicated projects, and for 98% of the work I do I have no one to back me up.  Combine this with my general control freakishness, my perfectionism, and my unwillingness to disappoint anyone, my work suddenly seems to have taken over my life.  I worked all day on Christmas Eve day, which meant I didn’t have time to go to my friend Pat’s house for dinner with her family before church, a very gracious invitation on her part. 

“Couldn’t you leave some of that work undone?” she asked.

“Would you have liked me to leave my work undone when I was working for you?” I inquired.  “What if I just didn’t practice those songs before a concert?  What if I just didn’t come to rehearsal because I had somewhere else to be?  You wouldn’t like me so much if I was the kind of person who left things undone.”

My notoriously right and slightly scatter brained friend chuckled.  “Well, you like me, and I leave stuff undone all the time!” she retorted.

Hmm.  I wondered for about the millionth time how people get away with that.

Largely because of this work situation, I simply couldn’t figure out how to make our annual driving trip to Florida with the dogs this year.  All the things that needed to be done in preparation, not to mention figuring out a way to get the work done in my absence, were simply overwhelming.  My husband is none too happy about this ~ for his department at work is on hiatus so he’s sitting home all these days twiddling his thumbs and listening to winter winds blow.

So, I add guilt to the discontent.

Of course, there are other factors  which contribute to the fierceness of this discontent.  My family feels really fragile to me, stretched very thin and pulled in lots of different directions, with health issues to be concerned about.  Plus, I have no music in my life  -not that I know where I’d find time for it.  But I’ve noticed before when I’m not actively engaged in making music, particularly in working with high school kids, there’s a certain lack of energy and excitement, a missing piece to the puzzle that’s me.

There’s no good reason to write about this, other than to flagellate myself in public once again for the inability to balance my life in any reasonable way.  And perhaps hope that some other poor beleaguered soul out there will chime in with their own sad tale, thus making me feel less adrift.  I know by most accounts I live a charmed existence – after all, how dare I complain about having too much work, when so many people in my state have none?  And not enough time to spend in your “vacation home in Florida?”  Cry me a river, right?

Alas, there is a malevolence in my feelings about life in general these days, and especially about my own in particular.

A fierce discontent.


8 thoughts on “Fierce Discontent

  1. Life goes through cycles…sometimes due to circumstances, but too, sometimes when nothing external has changed…just our perspective of it. It’s a b**tch to go through, but after I’m through it, I look back fascinated at how we humans are. I think contentment is very fleeting here in this world…

  2. Becca, this post puts voice to my own feelings of the past weeks, and I was glad to find it here. Somehow, knowing that someone else is going through the same thing helps me regard these moods as part of a pattern; it gives me hope that, like the weather in Michigan, if I just wait a bit, things will change.

    As you’ve posted before, writing changes things; I hope that by writing this, you’ve helped initiate some of your own.

  3. Sounds like music might be what helps you stay in balance. In spite of the many frustrations that have accompanied your high school work, maybe the trade-off will seem worth it after a year of gaining new perspective.

    On the other hand, I think family issues can change the landscape in ways that are difficult to smooth over with anything else we might try.

    Hang in there and know deep down that this season will pass–and start cross-training at work!

  4. I hope the coming year will provide the sense of balance you are looking for and that you and your family will be healthy and happy.

  5. Hey, I’m all for flagellating one’s self in public. Because then the public can come to your support and hopefully make you feel a little better about it! I can resonate with what you say — I feel edgy about the coming year with health issues (especially Greg’s) and definitely relate to the work situation getting out of control — doing more with fewer people can wear so very thin. I want to way, “this too will pass,” but we could be in for it for awhile. I’m trying to give myself an attitude adjustment and make a new schedule or routine — with varied success. I suspect, as Anno said, part of it is like our Michigan winter. Long, hard, letting up a bit at times, only to come down again.

    Hang in there, my friend. And I do wish you a Happy New Year, joy, and peace of mind.

  6. I hope you get some music back soon – I think for those of us who owe homage to a muse of one sort or another, staying away from what we love, just makes us that much more discontented.

    I also hope the health things clear up soon.

  7. I consider these things often now. I tell myself that part of the problem lies in the expectations I once had for this particular time of my life. Things didn’t work out quite like I expected, but as you said to your friend, “You wouldn’t like me so much if I was the kind of person who left things undone.” Equally important, we wouldn’t like ourselves if we left things undone.

    Balance is a very difficult thing for perfectionists to achieve, and it is truly one of the secrets to contentment. Your perspective has been a gift to your readers over this past year. I hope that the coming year brings stability and peace to us all. Happy New Year, Becca!

  8. This, too shall pass. Try to focus on the good things and let the rest go. It’s a new year now, with lots of possibilities and opportunities for positive change. For one thing, we’re going to have a new government! But I would urge you to make time for music in your life, even if just a few minutes at a time. It’s obviously something you’re passionate about and to indulge your passion is to live mindfully. xo

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