Saturday, 23 October 2010

A week of whizzing around

No blogging this week because too much whizzing about.  Last weekend elder daughter, her husband and their eleven month old baby came to stay for a few days.  I blogged here about Joseph's birth.  Nearly a year has passed and now he is a chuckling, smiling, just crawling, chubby legged baby with the most amazing appetite and a thoughtful, cheerful approach to life.  Everyone thinks their grandchildren are beautiful I imagine.  Well mine are!  It is also lovely to see my daughter and her husband as parents:calm, funny, co-operative, loving, competent.  I'm sure I wasn't half as good at it.

Then a changeover on Tuesday and as they leave we leave too to visit my parents in Devon.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to live near your family?  All my adult life I have lived two hundred miles or so away from my parents and now I also live quite a way from three out of the four children.  I must have spent months, maybe even years of my life on the M6, stuck in traffic jams in Birmingham or crawling imperceptibly slowly up the hill out of Bristol.

A couple of days with my parents and great to see everyone, a birthday meal with my mother, a walk with my sister as well as a catch up with my nephew and niece and then it is back on the road again for the long haul north.  Come through the door, have a shower, do my welsh homework, make some food and fall out of the door again to go to Welsh class.  Yesterday does have the oasis of quiet and calm which is yoga for an hour and a half in the early afternoon but there is also breadmaking, food shopping and endless laundry.  Today I have been cooking quinces for quince jelly, making lemon drizzle cakes for cottage visitors and doing the cottage changeover.  Tomorrow older grandson is coming for a couple of days and we have a trip to the Mountain Zoo at Colwyn Bay planned.

You'd have thought amongst this frantic activity I wouldn't have the time or the inclination but somehow I am BORED.  How can this be?  Does this happen to other people?  I am pretty sure that what I really need is not some strange diversion but some time to myself.  Too much time to myself and I get melancholy and stuck as I love company, am quite extrovert in many ways and need other people, but too little time to myself and I get agitated and overwhelmed, especially if what I am doing involves giving out to people all the time.  I suspect this strange, agitated sense is not boredom at all but a need to be by myself for an hour or so and to do very little.  I must be the only introverted extrovert, or extrovert introvert, I know.

What's your balance of introversion and need for people?  Go on, tell me I am not nuts!

25 comments:

  1. I could not possibly live like that! I spend ten hours a day five days a week normally, on my own and go seriously nuts if I have to spend too much time in the company of others, friends or family!

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  2. I do like to spend time in company, but I am quite passionate about having the house to myself at times. I want a bit of space where I can do what I like without having to think about anyone else. This summer, both of my teens were out of school/college for exam leave, immediately followed by their long summer holiday. Much as I love them, having them both almost full time around the house was driving me nuts!

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  3. I love it!
    Definitely separated at birth, we were. I, too, have that duality. My work requires me to be 'on' with needy people all day long. I can do it - can give all - but I need to be alone at the end of the day. My happiest times at home feature me in the living room with a book and family members in other parts of the house doing whatever they choose. I know they're there and am happy to do things together, but sometimes the need for solitude is stronger than the need for interaction.

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  4. Sadly I have three kids still at home, so there's not much alone time (I'm kidding of course). However, when I get back from school drop -off I close the front door and don't go out again till 3pm pick up! Yay!

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  5. No, you are not nuts, anymore than someone who finds themself lonely in a crowd. Whenever I go on an exotic holiday, after about a week and a half, I start yearning for boring routine, bad weather, even a difficult work situation. Maybe you - like me - love routine, and the reassurance it brings. OCD?

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  6. PG - you are right at the other end of the spectrum then! I love time to myself but ten hours a day five day a week would drive me nuts!
    H - I do remember that time when teenagers were about all the time. I really like teenagers, they are funny and interesting when they are not being infuriating, but they don't even go to bed before you do to give you a break!
    Pondside - I thought you would be like me. Separated at birth it is!
    EPM - all day to yourself? brilliant.
    Tom - I do know what you mean about routine and I always like the sense of coming back to normal life, but I think with me it is more the need to stop giving out to people, although, like Pondside, I can do it and would miss the giving out bit if that stopped. I particularly like coming back to normal life with its routine and ordinary problems after Christmas mind!

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  7. Very interesting Elizabeth - I get similar feelings. I lead a very enjoyable and busy life - my son lives only ten minutes walk away and my grandchildren are pretty scattered - one in Beirut at present, one at University and one living with her mother in West Yorkshire. I love my life and enjoy everything I do but sometimes, for no reason at all, I get what I can only describe as a feeling of boredom. If someone calls for coffee, or someone rings up for a chat the feeling often passes - maybe it is not boredom at all but it is quite comforting to read that you get the same feeling sometimes.

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  8. I can recognise that feeling. I have it exactly though I'm not sure I could ever have described it - but I know just what you mean. I can also recognise that strange feeling of seeing your children parenting. I feel I want to take over, especially when they do things (not often) that I disagree with. But then I have to tell myself whose child this is and little Theo is not mine, however possessive of him as I may feel. Do you feel like that too?

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  9. I dont think your bored just there isnt enough time between everything to get your teeth into anything worthwhile!

    I cant cope with too much tooing and froing and look forward to weekends with no plans but this could be as a reaction to work where no two days are the same and I have to think on my feet a lot

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  10. Have to say I love company ,but after they leave I love the private time. The same with travel love to go can't wait to get in my own house.

    yvonne

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  11. Mental boredom (as opposed to physical) presumably means that you feel as if you lack purpose. I seem to remember that you moved from the buzz of city/town life to the country, so it's probably just that that you miss. Personally I am never bored, there's always far too much to do.

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  12. I used to hate it a a child when my mother said only dull people were bored but I hate routine and am not good in company for too long, on the other hand when I am alone too long I feel bereft too!! No happy medium jsut love yourself and accept it.

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  13. Weaver - Interesting to find I am not the only one. I don't think mine is boredom really. I think I get mine when I have been giving out too much to other people and my equilibrium is restored, as it is today, by a few hours of retreating into myself.
    Fennie - I don't find I want to take over but there is that urge to take care and to want them to be in your own image somehow. It must be the passing on of genes!
    Helen - that is an interesting angle, that there is too much going on to get my teeth into anything. I think you might be right about that. I do have a sense of things I want time for which seem to be at the back of the queue!
    Yvonne - yes, I am the same. Love to go away and can't wait to get home again!
    Cro - I think I have chosen the wrong word to try to capture the sensation. I am not mentally bored at all. In fact it surprises me that having done a very intellectually demanding job I rarely feel the lack of mental stimulation. As you say there is always something to do, something to read, something to plan. I think it is a combination of needing time to myself and needing to use that time for my own things, time to get my teeth into something as helen says.
    Hah - ah another one! Yes I do need both people and no people and time to do things for other people and time to do my own thing entirely. Perhaps we all do to some extent!

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  14. I know exactly what you mean. I thought the term 'all peopled out' was something my mum invented to describe me but it seems not - I'm glad it's not just me!

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  15. When I'm with people, I often wish I wasn't, and when I'm not, I wish I was. I think that's just called fickle.

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  16. Dear Elizabeth, I can honestly say that I am never bored. I think that this stems from my earliest recollections of chilhood when if one anounced that one was bored a whole raft of activities, many of which were unpleasant, wereproduced to occupy 'idle hands'. One soon learned that boredom was never to be mentioned and, quickly, it became forgotten.

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  17. PM - I am not sure where I first heard "all peopled out". It sort of feels like a family saying but clearly it isn't!
    Fran - yes, I have a bit of that too. And when I have to go somewhere I never want to go although I often enjoy it when I do almost in inverse proportion to the amount I didn't want to go in the first place!
    Edith - we were discouraged from saying we were bored too. I think I am not bored. I was feeling faintly oppressed by too much catering for other people's needs I think but an evening by the fire and a morning in the garden have put me back together again!

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  18. There needs to be a proper balance between shared time and alone time, preferably every day, or a few times a week. I don't do well with constant company, but I also don't do well constantly on my own. You can get bored in the company of people when you really need some time on your own and the other way around too. We can't constantly be that adoring relative and friend. We do need our grumpy alone time.

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  19. Was about to say something pertinent, and then was rendered speechless by the beauty of the photo at the top (which I haven't seen because I usually read in a reader). Wow.

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  20. I do know what you mean - when I'm in Devon with my parents I start to feel very edgy after a while. I only stay sane because everyone goes to bed early! At home, I almost never have the house entirely to myself, but during the day we're all in separate rooms and only come together for a while in the evenings (the dogs, of course, come and go as they please!)

    I'm glad you are feeling restored after a bit of quiet time.

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  21. I suppose to be able to float with time, and not be constrained by either - things to do, or thoughts of things done, must necessarily bring about an equlibrium, a state of sated.

    Having said that, I doubt if there's an easy explanation. Maybe the mind seeks a certain 'emptiness' even as it fears it. Maybe advancing time actually constrains the timeline of the day.

    Maybe it's all in the mind. Maybe it is not.

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  22. Hi Elizabeth,
    We just had a five-day house guest leave yesterday, whose arrival was preceded by two weeks of cleaning and sorting our finished basement so she could sleep there. It was a huge job - the space hadn't been touched in 7 years (it's hubby's "man space"). Just as she arrived I got a cold. She left yesterday. This morning hubby and son woke late and rushed off to school. This half-hour is the first quiet time I've had in 2 weeks, and the sound of the wind in the leaves is lovely. There were times, with my friend here, that I was too dull to stir myself up to think of things to do with her. I think that boredom can be a way of detaching from what's going on, when we're overwhelmed. I don't think it necessarily reflects our level of interest in what's happening, but like you implied, the need for time alone pushes us out of the hubbub, and the way that need expresses itself is in this incongruous boredom. My meditation group is looking at feelings like boredom and it's really changed the way I relate to that experience.

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  23. Nora - you are so right about the balance and I for one swing from one extreme to the other rather too often for comfort!
    Eliane - thanks so much for comment on header photo. I never get used to it. In fact living with it has made me more addicted to my view and I find it hard to remember what I thought when I first saw it now!
    GC - yes, we can achieve the balance by being in the house together but busy with different things. The ideal for me is if we are both working in the garden, in different places, but passing each other from time to time and having coffee together and then spending time together in the evening.
    Frith - what a fascinating comment. The bit about boredom being a way of detaching when we feel overwhelmed really resonated with me. I think that hits exactly why I thought I had chosen the wrong word in describing myself as "bored". I wasn't bored, I was "peopled out"!

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  24. Ennui . . .

    I get spooked reading your blog. Like Pondside says "seperated at birth we were".
    Except that I was making crab apple jelly infused with rosemary. And I probably don't treat my holiday cottage guests well enough because it's fairy cakes and fresh coffee not lemon drizzle cake.
    looking forward to seeing the photo gallery in action.. .

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  25. "All peopled out" is a phrase that I have often used about myself. I do enjoy people and company - I also have the need for masses of "Alone time" and I love this phase of my life because I get it in abundance - you are right though - the balance of alone time and people time is a knife edge otherwise it is possible to slip down the side into an introverted melancholy.

    K

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