As I sit here typing, my head is throbbing, my eyes are nearly shutting and I feel like every ounce of my body is exhausted. I have felt this way before, many times before. I felt this way when both of my kids were born, as does every new parent with a child that’s allergic to sleep and I feel this way when my anxiety has gotten the better of me.
I have come to a huge realization recently, one that completely opened my eyes to how my brain has worked my entire life. Hi, my name is Meredith Gordon and I am… a workaholic.
I never understood what was wrong with me. I have a very hard time simply existing for any great length of time with out a massive project to work on. I need to be throwing myself into something every night, writing or running or a million other things that come to my head. If I don’t have some mountain to climb, I’m not happy.
We workaholics can be very productive people, obviously, but there can be a lot of downsides as well. There’s mental burn out, physical burn out, for some even martial burn out. It’s not easy to be married to someone who’s brain never shuts off and who has challenges with simply being present. And worst, if not properly balanced, the entire family unit can suffer. It can lead to children asking, “where do I fit into my parent’s life? Am I even on their radar? Why do they enjoy doing all of these other activities more than simply spending time with me?”
Life is complicated with a brain wired for speed. My mind is constantly going. It’s almost impossible for me to shut off. In fact, if the slightest sound wakes me up, I can almost hear it boot up and then there it is, I’m up and thinking. And what am I doing? Watching every single time Don Rickles was on Johnny Carson, simply because I started thinking about him for a fraction of a second while laying in bed. My mind can be very extreme that way.
But, to tell you the truth, I come by this honestly. My father was a workaholic, as was his father. It’s something I see passed down straight through our family. I remember wondering, growing up, does every dad own four three ring binders and take them out every night? One was for church, one was for school, one was for civil war reacting and one was for theater. He would come home from work and after dinner, the three ring binders would come out. I never understood. Now I do. It’s a compulsion. Like an alcoholic taking a drink, we need to be busy. If we’re not, something physically happens with us.
In just the span of this month alone, I ran my first 12K, wrote and am performing my first one woman show and started this blog. At first the thought seemed overwhelming and then one week in, it was as if you had handed an alcoholic a bottle of scotch. I was loving every minute of it.
That feeling, the feeling of all those moving parts, it’s incredible and it’s a rush to be trying to juggling them all. I now know, why my dad had the four binders.
I’m a stay at home mother right now. The connection to my children happens automatically because I’m home with them all day. But what happens when I’m not. What happens when they start school and I start working again? I know that if I don’t keep this in check, there’s a high potential for that connection with them and my wonderful husband to be lost.
I love that I’m finding out that I can be more than just a parent and taking finally able to rid myself of some anxiety by engaging with the world again. But now the challenge is getting it properly balanced so my kids aren’t looking at my binders later on in life and wondering which one is for them.