Overwhelmed and Paralyzed

I must preface this post by saying I wrote it almost two weeks ago but never finished. My paralysis took over. Since then life has felt like a roller coaster, where I've been holding onto the rails, going along for the ride. But I’m finally realizing that old way just doesn’t work. Life must be "intentional." I’ve heard that a lot lately from many different people and places so I'm thinking maybe I should start listening! In order to follow through with being intentional, I’m posting this – as is – because I wrote it and letting it sit in my computer folder does less for working towards my goal of writing and being heard than publishing does. Writing and expressing myself a little bit here and there, even if it doesn't read exactly how I would like, is better than nothing at all. Enjoy!

On most given nights, I find myself comfortably tucked away on the left side of the love seat, feet on the ottoman, with a blanket strewn on top of me so my puppy dog, Lily (aka Wiggles), will have a nice warm place to sit (on my lap of course). She usually paces and stirs until I finally take hold of my spot. Then she knows it’s ok to jump up with her bone and settle in for the rest of the evening. We watch a few TV shows all while I peruse Twitter, Facebook and my favorite blogs. If we’re watching a really funny show, like New Girl or Community where paying attention is vital to getting every joke, I’ll put my phone down for the half hour (unless of course I’m live tweeting). As soon as Rich clicks the TV off, the dogs jump down and run to the back door. They know it’s time for bed. This usually occurs around 9:30 or 10 each night.

My husband and I watch a lot of TV. It’s not even mindless cable TV watching… it’s mostly clever network comedies (Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, etc.) or clever cable dramas (Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, etc.)… Shows with interesting characters, plots that make you laugh and cry, cringe and applaud. Maybe subconsciously we tell ourselves that to feel better… that the quality of the shows we watch makes up for the excessive quantity. But as we try to simplify our life and figure a way to be more social and more relational, I’m realizing how shutting ourselves in every evening is either our way of saying we’re not ready to put ourselves out there yet, or we’re damn scared to… I mean we haven't said more than a sentence to our neighbors for the entire six years we've lived in this neighborhood.

I have a long to-do list. It includes things I’ve wanted to do for years but haven’t gotten to. When we have weekends where we don’t do much that I consider “productive,” I often feel a sense of failure. If my time is not working towards achieving some tangible goal then it’s a waste of time. However on the other end, I become so overwhelmed with my to-do list that if I can’t finish it, I would rather just sit on my butt and watch TV or mine information on the web. This keeps me from finishing projects. It keeps me from pursuing personal relationships. It keeps me from making phone calls to family. 

I become so overwhelmed by what I am not accomplishing that my life becomes stuck in a paralyzed state. 

Now this doesn’t happen all the time. Sometimes I am able to be quite productive. But it’s almost as if I'm a bottle that has been shaken, someone took the cap off and I explode. It becomes an adrenaline run that rushes continuously until it just runs out, cleaning for 4 hours straight on a Saturday morning and nothing Rich says will get to me to want to take a break.

But I’m realizing that there’s so much I’m missing out on by not being able to find balance in my life between the paralytic vegetation and anxious drive to get everything done perfectly right now! 

I’m almost finished reading Jon Acuff's "Start" (my next blog post will be a review of the book) but the one thing I’ve taken away so far is that we should never let fear of failure keep us from pursuing our goals because failure is inevitable and must happen before you can master anything. Why does that not make me feel better? It's almost as if I'm afraid of failing at allowing myself to fail. I have some issues I need to work out…

Anyone else have the same confession? Are you so afraid of failing that sometimes you don't even try?