Compartmentalising for survival

I’ve blogged in the past about the different faces I wear, the outward view I present to the world in different situations. The different people I become in order to get through my day. What I’ve been thinking about in more detail is how I manage to do this and I’ve concluded that it all comes to down to compartmentalisation.

I have just got a new phone, after living with a fruit/yogurt/cake encrusted phone for a VERY long time I was due an upgrade. I spent the last couple of days getting to grips with it (probably why you’ve seen tweets saying “live” instead of “love” and “hippy” instead of “happy”-sorry about that). The interesting thing for me is about how the phone was set up to store my details; contacts, addresses, work info, childrenIt’s exactly how my mind works. I compartmentalise and I do this so I can have some semblance of control over my world.

I doubt very much I’m very different to anyone else, I live in a world where I am juggling a career, a child, a partnership, a home, friends and extended family-not to mention my outside activities (blogging, writing, reading). All of these things require energy, organisation and structure, so far, so straightforward, but there are also the basics that must be thrown in, bathing myself, eating, drinking, sleeping…When I look at my life in the round I panic. I panic big time, how can I manage everything? How will I possibly meet the needs of all of my dependants? The only way I can stem the daily rising panic is to compartmentalise.

I store my jobs, tasks and concerns into little compartments, I deal with priorities as they arise, my son’s well-being supersedes my work, but work must be done, so I work in the hours where my son’s needs are met elsewhere, nursery and the evening (when he finally gives in to sleep)-it sounds straightforward and most of it is, but not always. At 3am this morning I woke up in a blind panic. Work. I had a deadline. I knew I could meet it, but it was pressing me, tugging at and my ponytail and would’t let it go, so 3am saw me logging in and getting the work done. By 5.50am I was ready to go back to bed. At 6.30am our day began. I cannot always keep my tasks in their little tidy boxes, sometimes they spill over.

I have my routine, this helps, I have my plans-but when my plans slip I do panic. I try to be as organised as I can, but I am a victim of storing my task-lists in my head and more recently I’m needing to delete some of those files because I just don’t think there is the capacity there. Like anything, the more I get used to the tasks at hand, the easier they become, but every day is a struggle in some way.

I know my way of working can be hard for those around me, I know they see the mental checklist getting its ticks, but that’s the only way I can get things done, it’s the only way that allows me to see the trees not just the wood. The wood scares me, it’s far too big to contend with. But give me the trees, even a little copse of them and I’ll be OK. At least for now, I’ll be OK.

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