Monday, September 10, 2007

Time out for Adults

So in my processing of what being an adult means and in my thinking through the fact that the way I've lived for years is not sustainable, I've thought lots about time out. I have on and off for years - often making judgement calls either in myself or to the person concerned (!) that what they are engaging in isn't very "adult like". So where did I get these pictures and understandings?

As I've thought about it a bit over the last couple of days I've thought about my family as I was growing up - stuff has changed radically since then but that's what I was shaped by. My dad worked long hours, generally working overtime and often weekends. He gave pretty much everything to that and then some time to me. However, my memory is him working long hours but coming home and collapsing - either in front of the tv or reading a book or newspaper. So the lesson from him - blokes (or adults) work long hours that takes everything from them and then collapse. My mum was a stay at home mum all my life. Her hobbies were much more down the sewing, knitting end but of course because they were part of "homemaking", I haven't separated those off from the rest of her "work". So in what I took in she just kept going in much more low key ways but still the message that I have internalised is "women just keep doing stuff that needs to be done". An exception to this for mum was tennis - which she played lots of ... so again the message for me: to have time off it has to be something out of the house.

Combine all this with a parenting style that said clearly that art and anything of that nature was useless and that what mattered was english, maths, science etc. Also combine that with engaging actively with my faith and church at the age of 13 in ways that engaged me fully from then on. Also combine that with a personality that is very focused on others, often to the detriment of self. Also combine it with messages that reinforce that "biblically".

It's not surprising that this is a recipe for an engaged, fairly driven life that hasn't had much time for time out. In fact, I reckon looking at all that it's only really the grace of God that means it's not been more that! It's also the grace of God that I'm relooking at it and making definate choices to live differently at 32 and not older.

The lovely thing that has been true and that continues to be very true is that it only takes a choice to have time out and it's fairly easy for me - again gracious of God. But the message that has been incorporated into me is "time out is a waste of time and only to be had when you really need it".

And because of who I am and lots about my upbringing too (only child of deaf parents says most of it) really the main time out I can have at this time is by myself - quite limiting really.

Anyway - I'm pretty excited about where all this is going ... and certainly don't hear me blaming my parents in any way (they were just living life as they knew how). For me it's just about understanding where my messages, understandings and habits come from and then choosing what I want to do with them.

And what I want to do is - choose time out well and regularly ... and not just when I really need it.

1 comment:

T Austin & said...

A couple of thoughts (I'm deliberately not lurking as I read over lunch, trying not to spill on my new keyboard!)

... on your Dad's habits with work, I'm reminded of the chapter on men's drive and motivations to be the 'provider' for their family in Shanti Feldhan's "For Women Only" that I borrowed off Connie. Copy still at our house (in Leanne's room, I believe) if you're interested in a read of that chapter. Otherwise, I can fill you in on the salient points in person some time...

... on being a child of deaf parents, one of Lizzy's housemates is the child of two deaf parents - one from birth, one from childhood illness - and a deaf brother, in a signing family. Thought you'd be interested...

... on the processing of all this, hope you're enjoying the journey over these past few weeks. Would love to hear what changes, reductions, additions to your habits you've been pondering...

xo