The Madhouse Has a Visitor

Last week I was invited to write a guest post for my blogosphere friend, Larry, at Me, Myself and Kids. I was very pleased when Larry agreed to write a guest post for the Madhouse.
Larry is a high school teacher English student, father, husband, freelance writer and blogger. Larry writes with humour and great insight, often sharing stories about his strong faith and spiritualism.
The post he submitted to the Madhouse really resonated with me. I hope you enjoy his piece, Incomplete, as much as I did the first time I read it.
Incomplete. There is work to be done. Where are you going? The job isn’t finished!
Are you the type who hates leaving things in the middle? The job can’t wait. The chore must be completed.
For a long time, I have been the “I’ll take a break when the work is done” sort of person. I could count on one hand the amount of books I started but did not complete. I took my lunch as late as possible because I did not feel comfortable eating when there was work to be done.
Break – who needs a break? I took pride in this. I puffed my chest out – I am productive. I fully believed that this is what adults were supposed to do. If you acted differently, you were soft or just were not fortunate enough to have my constitution.
If you have the junior Freud in you, you are probably analyzing this to come up with potential reasons. Maybe I was always trying to prove myself worthy to three older brothers.
There might be a shred of truth to this possibility. However, I am not in therapy so I will leave the deeper meaning for others. What I do know is that ultimately, this was often counter-productive.
Case in point. If I don’t eat or get a little space every once in a while, I get irritable.  My job as a high school English teacher is about as people-centered as you can get. The students are often demanding, needy, and loud. My productive self often rears its head in my “off periods,” pushing me to grade papers, make lessons plans, call parents, etc. My counterproductive self fights back. I just want to be alone and do nothing. Okay, I still eat my sandwich too fast and read my email faster than the side effects are announced at the end of a drug commercial, but I am making progress.
My productive self actually called out my counterproductive self when it comes to writing. I would find it hard to start something unless I knew I had time to finish it. I kept trying to find time to block off, promising myself I would get to work by nine and have two hours to really focus.
Well, things rarely go as planned. Maybe, it was a phone call from a friend, or a child who won’t go to sleep, or a stomach that feels off. Nights would pass when I would end up at the computer for shortened periods of time. I would end up doing more surfing than working figuring that I can’t get the job done anyway so I might as well put it off.
I’d like to tell you I have conquered my productive self. I’d be lying. Yes, the many hats I wear nowadays including blogger, free-lance writer and tutor (which are side orders to teacher and parent) have forced me to be a better manager of my time.  I know, at least inherently, that not everything is going to get completed – let alone when I want them to be. Some wonderful things won’t get completed or even started.
And that’s okay. It has to be okay.
I think we will have a great time.
Larry D. Bernstein

About Holly

I hope you're able to glean something from this blog, a nugget of wisdom, a new perspective, a smile or even a laugh. I enjoy getting feedback so please comment, share your story with me too. After all, we're here to help each other.
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6 Responses to The Madhouse Has a Visitor

  1. As my dad points out – just because you aren’t doing anything, it doesn’t mean you are wasting time. Sometimes we need that down time – we need to recharge our batteries! But, leaving a task fully undone? Say it isn’t so! It may take more time and you may have to tackle it on smaller portions, but my type A, OCD self can’t handle something unfinished. Even if it takes months, or years, I have to know it will get completed!

    Good post! It’s great to learn how to slow down and enjoy life!

    • Holly says:

      Larry’s a great writer. I so enjoy his whimsy and wisdom. I did make an editing boo-boo which you will see in your inbox soon. Hopefully he’ll forgive me.

  2. Totally relate to this post! And, super fun to read Larry’s writing since I’ve only seen his comments here. Thanks, Larry, and thanks Holly! XOXO-Kasey

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