“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.