Capacity is a word that appears in my vocabulary repeatedly. Perhaps its because I’m getting a bit more introspective as I get older. Perhaps due to the limitations placed on my productivity by my seemingly reduced emotional capacity which have caused me to be aware of my ‘new normal.’

Writing that down makes me realize that I talk about capacity because of my reduced accomplishments. Which is interesting because there was a point where I was actually did far less activities and volunteering than I do today. But today I am not pleased with my current personal state because a few years ago I was in a much more societally acceptable level of behaviour and function.

Hmm, sounding cryptic even to me!

Okay. So… hmm… In high-school I was the kid who had the door removed from her bedroom door because my parents were attempting to shame me into cleaning up my room.

Moved to University, and I was a neat freak. However I was still slovenly in my course work. Then I had to start to work to pay for my food and rent in university and… the apartment went slovenly but I routinely won awards for at my employment. The course-work stayed slovenly. In fact that was the point that I wished to quit and work because I didn’t know what I wanted from my university education but due to, what I consider not well thought advice, I continued on with my slovenly approach to higher learning.

Then I got married. We lived in a teeny tiny apartment. Then I got pregnant despite doing every single thing we could to prevent it! At which point… every thing went down hill.

From there we moved to a big farm house that was in poor condition but the space and country air and having my job on the property meant that for the most part the house and work were doing well again. Incidentally ditched the university education at this point.

Sticking with me here?

Then comes the second child. Major complications with her birth, near death on my part. It took 11 months to get my red blood count back into a normal range…

But I couldn’t understand why I was so slovenly with my work and house again. It wasn’t until I switched doctor’s and he sat me down and had a really long talk about what a horrible thing had really happened to me that I could give myself the grace to realize, I actually did miraculously given the circumstances.

Just prior to learning that… it was fear that a call to Children’s Aid Society might be made by some concerned neighbour and they’d seize my precious babies that prompted a change from within.

About a year after the start of my inner changes and I met the Flylady program. That was the crowning touch and I changed things around.

For the first time I was able to shine at work, at home, and in my volunteer work which is very much part of my identity. I did everything and I did it so well.

For about 5 years.

Then… crash! This time I could see how many of the factors were kind of out of my control *and* I could see how external factors affected me and reduced what I could do (ie. capacity!).

I was starting to come out of this slump and a move to the city and and a second opportunity to do a massive purge of our excess weight meant that I was gaining back my abilities once more.

Then there was last year… This time I knew precisely what factors were affecting me but darn it… there was just no way but to live through. The focus was, literally, getting through the day. My capacity for life was very limited.

But this time I had many external pressures on me and I kept giving to them even though I should not have done so. I can see that now. I thought that helping them would help me. In some ways it did but I think it has prolonged my journey through the valley this time.

Today I would say that I am functioning at the level that I did before my second child’s birth. At that time I knew I could do better but for the most part I was happy.

Today, I’m not mostly happy. Because I look back and I can remember a time when I did it all.

So I have to remind myself. Live to my capacity today! I’m just going to trust that as I heal there will be a time when I can do more than I can today.



Filed under Musings, working on happily ever after

2 responses to “Capacity

  1. Go easy on yourself. You had some very productive years to be grateful for, some average and some where Life kicked you hard to keep you humble. You’re helping your family adapt to a new routine and new stresses. It’s not easy. It’s okay that this isn’t your year to be SuperWoman.

    That’s not to say you shouldn’t hope to do more, but you shouldn’t be down on yourself because you can’t. We do what we can. Ideals are like the stars; We never reach them, but we guide our course by them.

    I often look at a highly productive week and assume that week is normal. I plan extra work and a month later wonder why I’m so far behind. If I managed a production line at work like that, my I’d be fired for not being honest with them about what we can actually do in the long run.

    The Productivity Movement has lost the connection between a day’s work and a day’s time. They claim that if we work smarter and try harder and prioritize more clearly we’ll get it all done, regardless of how much there is.

    Try reading Mark Forster’s work. He’s a breath of fresh air. Yes, we can get everything done, provided we limit our commitments to what we can reasonably do in the time we have.

  2. I’ll take the recommendation :). Thanks for the encouragement and the reading suggestion.

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