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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Emotional ride speeds downhill

This is a follow up to my previous post, about how life before kids was easier emotionally. Life always has challenges and no matter how much we plan. We can't control everything and things will not always go as we would like them to. I try to remind myself of my bell-shaped stress management theory.

Basically the theory is: all of the anxiety and stress in our lives falls somewhere on a bell-shaped curve. No matter how great and on track life is, there will always be something out there on the far end of that curve pushing our buttons and making us crazy. Most everything else will fall into the fat middle section of the curve, and then there will be a couple of things that really don't give us much grief at the other end.

I think that this theory holds true for the most part. But I find that the more I delve into my personal struggle with finding a balance between parenting and career and marriage and family and chores and pets, the more I slip down the spiral slide towards more struggle. Part of this spouting I think it very useful because it forces me to fess up to my inner struggle and makes me confront those inner-most, private places of my life.

However, kneading this internal conflict also has a down side. The more I examine, stew, and swish those bits around in my thoughts, the more I'm surrounding myself with them. Then they swell, becoming more prevalent because I'm trying to think about them, understand them, and find new ways to write about them. So while this struggle should be mostly manageable in the bulky part of the stress curve, it's getting unnaturally pushed out into that far end of the curve, making me crazy sometimes.

"(I)t's funny these feelings. they're just feelings. and you have them sometimes. and you have other types of feelings other times," wrote Swamps into response to my emotional confession. "(S)ometimes you are just feeling like life is shit, and then suddenly something happens -- a friend calls out of the blue, or some stranger pays you a random compliment, or you help an old lady thru a tricky situation -- and that feeling just disappears. gone."

She's right. Something distracts me from the constant internal magnification and poof, there is life going on around me. Good life. Good experiences. Good relationships.

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