Friday, May 4, 2012


Do you ever think about simply de-stressing your life?  Just letting stuff go that you have been doing like an automaton for years and years, with little joy involved.

I realize that most people can't quit jobs or stop caring for their children.  That's not what I meant.  What I was thinking of is those optional things that we take on because saying "yes" seems to be the thing that comes first to mind out of guilt or rote.

I used to have a hobby that involved traveling and competing.  I was heavily into it.  In fact, I made a big name for myself.  But after 20 years of competing, hearing the gossip about others, seeing people put others down, I walked away.  I could feel the unhappiness every time I would get ready to head out of town for another event.  I simply didn't want to do this anymore.  So I quit.  Just like that.  I am still involved in the sport but in a different way now.  I no longer am stressed by it.  And that feels wonderful.

I used to think that as a young person, I could take on everything.  I hungered to be really good at everything that I did.  I wanted to be the best.  I achieved some of those goals, but no longer have the desire to take on so much.  I have realistic goals now--to improve my knowledge of something I am doing but not get carried away.  I want balance in my life and in the things that I do.

And yes, I have a couple of boats.  And they require maintenance.  But the joy that I get from being on them, having them as a sanctuary, is immeasurable.  There is also the garden that I love.  The flower beds that we tend.  But all of this is not competitive and isn't about comparing myself to others.  We are simply enjoying these things for what they are and the beauty that they bring to our lives.

I want to blame the drive that I have had on growing up in a home where I was pushed and prodded to be the best.  Maybe it was that or simply hard-wired by my genes.  None of that matters because it's what I think and do today to veer off the rigid path of a pre-determined life that really counts.  And I am veering again this weekend.  I will be back home on Monday.  No shoes, no shirt, no problems--I'm getting to it.


  1. We have to adjust ourselves each day using Our Mind as a Torque Wrench. We want things fitted solidly & tight. Not loose and of course not too tight where we shear the Bolts off. The Rhythms of Your Day and Life. A friend's Lab just had her first litter of Pups so I must see the new arrivals.

  2. See! I knew you were famous!! :o)

    I just read an article about a family in the 70's who quit their jobs and took their 4 kids to Europe to travel and educate them in freedom...not within the 4 walls of a classroom, in other words.

    I do think about what would happen if I just stopped *doing* and began living more. Its not a realistic possibility for me... but I am making better choices for myself. Letting some chores go undone so I can go and have fun, or walk or exercise, delegating more...which I really struggle with. But its a process.....

    What a great though provoking post Syd. Thanks so much.

  3. grateful member of alanonMay 4, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Wonderful post! I recognize every single word (although I am much younger - late 30s) and I am proud to say that I still have a drive, but enjoy the things I am doing at the same time, which simply means that I do make choices now, listen to myself and my intuition, follow the steps, one day at a time. Thanks to Alanon.

  4. Fantastic affirmation, and declaration of WHO you are!!!

    Love it.

    Anonymous #1

  5. Yes, I think balance is tricky. I hope when I retire that I will do the things I love to do. Right now I am always feeling like there are so many things I want to READ. I have books sitting around me right now. Some are even open. :) I think you are a speed reader, I wish I was too!

  6. I'm only in semi retirement, and having a wonderful time choosing activities I enjoy and find meaningful.

    I don't think there is ever enough time for all we want to do..but it's fun trying!

    Veer away, my friend...

  7. I know I'm destressing by getting rid of stuff and lightening my possessions to a minimum. :)

  8. Love this! I also had competitive hobbies and involvements that were valuable at the time but not stress-free, What I love now is walking in the mountains, gardening, playing with my dogs and cooking for friends. And painting big messy bad pictures, for fun!

  9. Great post Syd.

    As I get older I am realizing exactly what you are saying. I too was very competitive in the things I did. When I was younger, played tennis like I was addicted, I water skied in tournaments, played ball until I broke my ankle. You know the drill. I can even say 10 years ago if I had won the lottery I wouldn't even quit my job to do what I want to do I would have just "fit it in".

    I still struggle with myself at times doing what is good for me But I am in recovery. ;-)

  10. Uhh I suggest shorts at least.

    Learn to *shrug* more Syd.

  11. I have to work on de-stressing every day. It's been tough to not feel that competitiveness that drove my childhood and still tries to take over today to push myself to levels that don't make me happy. I agree with you on finding that balance of enjoying life and finding the beauty in the things I do.

  12. Looks like you have a solid comrade there, Syd. :)

    Yes, there are certainly things I would like to pull from my life in an effort to de-stress, but I do them because I feel obligated. And, really, they are the right things to do...I think. It would just be nice for those obligations to be less stressful in and of themselves. Maybe if I changed my expectations of myself in the context of those particular obligations. Maybe that would be de-stressing.

  13. Learning to de-stress is an art and one I was never good at. The AA program has helped so much and I cherish the peace that it's brought to me.
    Enjoy your weekend.

  14. I have often worried myself that I don't have single piece of competitive DNA in my make-up. Truly.
    I never played sport unless under duress, I don't like boardgames or cards, I loathe casinos and the minute anyone starts to challenge me, even playfully, all I want to do is walk away and my answer to them is to throw my hands up and say "You win!" It seems to make for a much more peaceful life.
    I am proud of many of my achievements but I have never been driven in the way that so many are. Even the Olympics are lost on me.
    My father was an amateur athlete and my mother enjoyed social sport but I can safely say I got none of that.
    I sometimes wonder how I would cope in a life and death situation. Would I throw in the towel or is it all stored away for survival mode?
    Karen C

  15. As the Dixie Chicks said in one of their songs- The beauty of just letting go.
    Or something very like that.
    Yes, Syd. I understand.

  16. I'm paring my life down now. I can't manage my job and all of the activities that used to work when I had my old job. I think one of the first items to go is my running with the club. I just don't enjoy it anymore. Life is ever evolving. Thank God.

  17. Great advice. Having my son move out has greatly destressed my life on a day to day basis. Reducing my tendency to control others and turning it over is an excellent way to relieve stress. You have me curious: what sport?

  18. :) Totally get it. Although I tend to over shoot the mark both ways, in participating and in not participating. I'm glad today to have a good balance most of the time with brief periods of overkill

    You got a great deal of satisfaction and joy out of participating while you did in both hobby and work, now you can stand back and enjoy the fruits and the good times!

  19. Stress can make you high, happy, euphoric, creative, engaged and well as anxious, ragged, jagged, exhausted and overwhelmed. It all depends on the type and degree of stress and your own mental state. I used to share a house with somebody who avoided stress of any type obsessively and seriously disapproved of her approach to life. One has to strike a happy balance somewhere in the middle. I agree that stressing about absolutely useless, meaningless things is a total waste of time!


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