Archive for the ‘quality time’ Tag

02-07-2014 Journal Entry – Workaholics!   Leave a comment

On any given day I enjoy relaxing.  It’s taken me a lot of years to learn how to relax after spending my working life as a six day a week workaholic. Even as a high stress workaholic I was able to relax but it was just as hard to make time for that as the job itself.  I knew when the job and my bosses needed to be ignored and occasionally paid a price for doing just that. I was also ridiculed at times by my workaholic co-workers but I knew where my limits were and tried never to exceed them.  Disconnecting from the everyday grind for me was the path to good mental health.  I’ve always used the light-switch analogy and have advised more people than I can remember to go home at the end of the day, turn off the work light-switch and  just relax.

I watched for years as retail management pushed associates into completing long lists of tasks and if they weren’t accomplished correctly the associates were then criticized for their lack of customer service skills.  It was a vicious cycle that produced “task oriented” people in large numbers with a terrible customer service (people) attitude.  Associates became brainwashed and unable to feel good about themselves unless their long list of tasks had been completed at work and at home.

“Stop, smell the flowers, and relax.”

I’ve been personality tested by my employers on many occasions.  I’m was always considered an “A” type personality who was a great multitasker, knew how to accomplish the goals set by the corporation and to “get the job done”. Little did they know that doing their tasks was the easy part of my day but getting their tasks done quickly and making time for myself was even more difficult. It was a full time job trying to survive my full time job. I was always successful in the job but when I had down time I used it.  When I was relaxing I put tasking out of my mind completely and that skill helped maintain my somewhat healthy outlook on things.

I’m now retired but I live with someone who is totally task oriented.  She works a full time retail job and she has a difficult time relaxing when she gets home. She feels like her day is a total failure without a long and completed “To Do” list.  I’ve been trying desperately for years to get her to turn off that “light switch” when she gets home but have only been moderately successful.  I’m nothing if not persistent but she can be just as hard headed as I am.  It’s a battle I’ll keep fighting because it needs to be fought.

While personality tests and reading about personality types has been regarded by some as self-indulgent navel gazing, there is a real value that comes from identifying our natural tendencies. Every personality has strengths and weaknesses, and understanding what yours are allows you take advantage of those strengths to overcome the weaknesses.

I was surfing around the Net yesterday and discovered the following list of suggestions to assist those task oriented individuals in their attempts to relax.  Balance in life is more important than most people think but many people talk about reaching a balance but never actually try to accomplish it.

  1. Schedule time to focus on the people around you and commit to setting aside your To-Do list during that time.
  2. Consciously make eye contact when your husband, partner, or children speak to you so that they have your full attention.  Be attentive and focused.
  3. Go anywhere where you can just enjoy being with your family without the distraction of things that need to be done.
  4. Look for opportunities to get things done in smaller chunks rather than saving them all up to do at once.

I take and make time to do absolutely nothing.  Some people call it meditation and others (task oriented people) call it loafing.  Regardless of the name it’s total down time where the mind can rest as well as the body.  Just a few minutes a day seems to work for me.  I admit I have my work cut out for me with my better-half but I refuse to give up the fight.

RELAX DEAR!

05-18-2013   1 comment

Today my better-half and I took a break from yard work, gardening, and working in general.  It was a sunny and warm day so we decided to take a trip down memory lane.  We made a nostalgic drive down to the southern border of Maine and retraced a route we used many years ago when we spent some weekends visiting yard sales and flea markets.  The routes took us into New Hampshire a few times and back into Maine.  The scenery was beautiful and with a little good music was really enjoyable.

When I first moved to the Maine and New Hampshire area in 1999 one of the first things I discovered was the incredible number of yard sales.  On any Saturday afternoon if I so desired I could visit thirty to forty of them without driving more than a few miles from my home.  I was a little hesitant going into people’s yards and garages but I finally got over that.  I made so many incredible purchases in the first few months that I became hooked.

It wasn’t until a few years later that my better-half and I met and began our lives together.  During all the billing and cooing and rush of a new relationship we started making yard sale safaris as one of our regular weekend activities.  We developed specific routes in and around the border depending on what types of things we were searching for.  We made many great purchases and had fun doing it.

We knew the best times to shop and the yard sales that always sold specific types of merchandise.  We knew which yard sale always carried car accessories and auto parts, craft materials, collectibles and home goods.  We knew if we visited the "Pig Lady" my better half could buy any number of pig related collectibles for her pig collection. We visited the "Bottle Guy" who was an old hoarder with three building full of antique glassware, old furniture, and just about anything else you could think of.  He had forty years of treasures stuffed into some old and filthy buildings.  We knew to wear gloves after our first visit there.

As we began our trek today we were reasonably sure that most of those old places had long since disappeared.  We were wrong.  Many of our old stops were still there doing business and hadn’t changed a bit.  We searched through the "Bottle Guy’s" place for an hour and really found nothing we wanted or needed this trip.  It was still fun to return to these places we visited for so many years and to reminisce a little.

We didn’t make many purchases today but that was okay.  It was more about our time spent together and remembering the fun we had back in the day.  We plan on doing this more often in the future  so we can have more quality time together away from he normal madness.  It’s an activity that clears the mind, reminds us again of how much fun we can have together, and finding an occasional treasure or two is just  a “cherry on top of the sundae”.

We even managed to stop at a little corner store out in the middle of nowhere to enjoy a few pieces of chicken.  This was a stop we never missed because the chicken was to die for.

02-14-2013   1 comment

Valentines Day is over as I write this and we’ve had a great day.  My better-half had the day off so we spent the first few hours in bed this morning exchanging cards and gifts and making good use of our quality time.  It’s more difficult than I ever thought it would be to have time together. Her schedule makes it somewhat difficult but we’re dealing with it.

Being the loving person that I am I then volunteered to make us a breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast, coffee, and a jar of our home made rhubarb jam.  It really started the day off right and gave us a chance to catch up on a host of other matters.  We’re trying to make plans for an interesting vacation this summer, where to go, for how long, and all of the other preparations that need to be discussed.

We spent the remainder of the day running errands and just having fun together.  We picked up groceries for our evening meal and returned home late in the afternoon.  Our late dinner consisted of two excellent steaks, a pile of fried onions, a huge salad, and a bottle of pretty decent wine.  We then retired to the living room to watch a new movie I just received as a Valentines Day gift.  I laughed until I cried as "Ted" took over our reality for a couple of hours.  For me there is nothing better than lot of laughter and we enjoyed the hell out of that movie. She had to be at work at 5:30 am so she was off to bed soon after the movie ended.

I planned to remain awake for just another hour or so to give her a chance to get to sleep and was able to read five or six chapters of a new book I just started.  The cat arrived in the living room at his regularly scheduled time, climbed up on the chair, and wished me a Happy Valentines Day in his own weird feline way.  He also let me know in no uncertain terms that it was time for bed.  I opened the bedroom door and he immediately joined her there.

I ended up reading for quite a while and before I knew it it was 2:00 am.  I completed a quick check of the house. picked up a glass of wine, and walked out onto the front deck for a few minutes.  It was really cold but the night was crystal clear.  I sat for a while on a small bench we left out for these occasions and enjoyed the cold air and the absolute quiet. One of the joys of living in a rural area is the total lack of human background noise which we can only hear if the wind shifts in just the right direction.   The cat stuck his nose out the door but refused to join me.  I thought someone with a nice thick fur coat like his wouldn’t be put off by the cold all that much but he was.  He casually returned to the bedroom to enjoy his most favorite thing, the electric blanket.  He was down for the night finally.

All things considered it was a really wonderful Valentines Day.  I hope we have many more just like it.

Posted February 15, 2013 by Every Useless Thing in Just Saying

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12-03-2012   4 comments

Back at the computer early today since I’ve many errands to run in anticipation of our journey to the great state of Maryland.  I need the car serviced and a good washing and vacuuming wouldn’t hurt much either.  I have to check in with the house sitters too and make sure they arrive on time.

I thought I’d give you an quick update on “the car in the woods” incident I mentioned yesterday.  I ran across across the road and found the car about fifteen feet into the trees and wedged between two of them.  It appeared the driver was crossing a sheet of ice when his passenger side tire slid off onto the berm.  As many people do he overcorrected to regain control, spun around and shot right back into the woods.  He was uninjured but really pissed off about the whole situation.  Damage to the car appeared minimal but he removed a few large pieces of bark from a tree or two with his side doors.  He was really lucky not to have been injured but he sure didn’t see it that way. 

My better-half and I finished decorating the house with her Christmas knick-knacks and paddy-wacks on every surface of every piece of furniture.  The tree looks nice after an hour or two of attempting to get the freaking lights operational.  Last year we decided to change over to the old, large, multicolor retro style lights.  They look absolutely gorgeous but I’d be afraid to use them on a live tree.  They throw off so much heat they’d dry a live tree out in no time.  Fortunately were went artificial on the tree a few years back. 

Christmas fever has consumed my better-half and she insists on taking me along for the ride.  As we were decorating I was strong-armed into watching five straight hours of Christmas movies. Argggg!  Who needs waterboarding? Sheer effing torture while she dances around the living room singing along with every tune.  I hope she purchased that noise cancelling headset I asked her for.  It’ll get more use than my car.

Well, I’m off to do my errands and maybe take a few photos along the way. Twenty-one days and counting.

Posted December 4, 2012 by Every Useless Thing in Just Saying

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