How Struggles Can Make You Sick

Abandoned supermarket cart

Too much stress, “bad” stress, can weaken you, deplete your resources and waste scarce time if you are not dealing with your lifestyle well.  Everybody endures stress.

 

Getting older, I believe that lifestyles of Generation Z are significantly common, but I am from a small town.  It is important to obey the Biblical commandment, to honor thy mother and father.  As the father did before you, if you are of a certain age, you too need to heed that you are following appropriately in his steps.

 

That being said, there is lightness.  I think with a touch of envy of the comparative ease of the generation of young people often collectively referred to as Generation Z.  That doesn’t mean that I can compete with the energy of the young and of the attitudes which characterize them, different than for someone my age.

 

Someone like me, I feel, is part of a culture that values stress, that putting a great deal of work into a lifetime is a necessity.  There’s nothing wrong with that.

 

Abandoned supermarket cart
Shopping cart

However, it means fulltime people endure an enormous amount of stress.  The more hours of work we take on, to make ends meet, the more stress we cope with.

 

I believe stress can easily bend one to its will rather than the other way round.  It is all very hard to manage.

 

In the film sequence preceding the climax of the 1978 feature film Superman, Lex Luthor conquers Superman with a chain of Kryptonite, until Superman makes a personal promise to Luthor’s beautiful assistant in order that she remove the powerful amulet–but a promise that puts at risk the woman who has his heart, Lois Lane.  All in all, it is an excellent film.

 

What I did, in my life, is an irregular passage through the years.  In 2008 when my employer closed its doors, I went on to work a part-time job while reflecting on what to do with my future  Then I went full time on government disability, as it was felt that I’d been “compromised” enough to give up on making a living through the avenue of work.

 

I had been reading some books on self-management and I didn’t think the stress of a new workplace was going to benefit me enough to do it.

 

A few years later, my father, perhaps frustrated by my reluctance, had an idea.  He was retiring from many years with a municipal cemetery, where he’d helped manage it from its offices.

 

A small cemetery in our town was searching for new operators.  It attracted him, and the trustees of that property were pleased to turn it over to him, so that he could direct it, pleased to have a focus in his retirement.

 

To my surprise, my dad invited me to help handle the operation of the cemetery.  We commenced in 2011.  The church at the cemetery, formerly of the United Church of Canada, had disbanded in 2006.

 

Headstones under repair
Important headstones of family generations in Maple Lawn Cemetery

We maintain the property ourselves, and work in the interior of the church in dire weather, setting our sights on attending to the cemetery once a week.  We made a not-for-profit out of it.  While I am junior, and there is no certainty how matters will proceed, in the seven years or so, lucky seven, that we’ve handled the cemetery, it has been a luxury of time and experience for me and an opportunity to enjoy the company of my father in his golden years.

 

We have had outside help from brothers of my father, my uncles.   On a few brief occasions we have talked about growth, but I don’t know if I can turn this venture into something in which I can continue in the long-term.  This post is intended to be expository writing, but working for a not-for-profit, when financial gains are generally hard-won, can lead to burnout, and to a minor degree that is what I am experiencing.

 

You see, I contribute several hours a week of work to the cemetery, and as my dad has spoken reassuringly of the flexibility to set our own hours, I have lately started to reduce my workload to a four-day week rather than a five-day.

 

I can’t help, for example, but want to relax on Saturday.  I think the decision to work less on Fridays is somewhat deleterious in that if you want to get ahead, you should probably be hustling with the same energy on a Friday that you do on a Monday.

 

I couldn’t help, in the past several weeks, to admit that the stress of putting nonprofit work at the center of my life, was making me feel a touch sick, by which I mean I was experiencing burnout.  I am sure this is common.

 

Dimensions: 5456 x 3632
Photographer: Ylanite Koppens

Whether this transition, to four days of focus on the cemetery rather than on each and every business day, will contribute to a soul-searching decision by my dad to relieve me of my work, I don’t know.  I think what will determine my chances of staying on are the quality of work I can produce in the time I devote to the not-for-profit.

 

How this has me feeling, perhaps, “sick,” is that I do care about working and I do feel some prestige enjoying the privilege of doing work that is shaped by our own efforts.  This is in contrast to working for a firm that is structured in predictable ways, with employee equity and positions and demands which could easily contribute to a high-stress load.

 

I am taking this risk because I believe I can do better work if I make strategies to cope with the burnout before there are related consequences.  I am counting on my own experience and abilities to do the same quality of work in a four-day structure than I would be getting done by committing the entirety of the work week to headway and progress.

 

I am sick to think of losing what I have worked for, and I am sick to think of bringing shame onto my father if the quality of my work does suffer because I am having trouble being afield of all that we do.  I feel like I should write something about feeling troubled by what I have to do to manage my role as operator, and maybe even think on how I could express an appropriate apology for how I am feeling.

 

Writing is the act of discovery. – Natalie Goldberg

 

Dimensions: 4635 x 3090
Photographer: Freestocks.org

If my father does finally decide, which I know he won’t do lightly, that I should be dismissed, it will be a sad day and for that, I will pay a price, of having the failure on my shoulders.  If that scenario comes to pass I will take time to mend.  It may be a self-centered attitude, but the best that can be done in the face of failure is to learn from what happened.

 

Everyone has experienced failure, and usually many, many times, sometimes with adverse consequences.

 

If you have never failed, you have stayed well inside your comfort zone.  Life needs to change and grow.

 

If my role in the not-for-profit does end in failure, I will at least have work experience.  I think I can draw on the time spent at this to draw conclusions that will inform my life in the future.  The situation that I think could result, however, is not going to be completely ideal.

 

It will be back to being “sick,” resorting to making ends meet with the help of a pension for disability, and with the support of my mom and dad.  Ain’t no one got time for that.  I will have then have the opportunity to look for a job if I feel I can weather the stress, or return to freelancing and try to find my niche doing that.

 

Dimensions: 2500 x 1995
Photographer: Rawpixel.com

Many members of Generation Z work as freelancers in the digital economy, and I would be competing with all of those people, which is daunting.  That being said, there are a few paths ahead for me to take and I will have to ask for guidance from fate and the intentions of The Lord.  I know I shouldn’t emphasize feeling sick about all this and I know I shouldn’t take on a job post that gives me more additional stress than I can handle.

 

For now, I will bide my time–for as much clarity as I can muster.

 

You are welcome to like, follow, and/or comment if you have feedback.  Lately, the blog has been fairly quiet, in terms of visits it receives, but you never know when some I’ve published here will pique the interest of a reader.

 

I appreciate the time of those who are visitors.  I have been tying my blog to the not-for-profit, and also trying to be jovial as I know it is as yet an amateur effort.  I feel blogging will continue to play a role in the time I have to write, as it is a splendid little spot of fun that has a pragmatic purpose.

A Photo of Harmony: Do you Agree?

March 9, 2016, I published a blog post which reflecting today I handled poorly.  It was in response to a weekly photo challenge on the subject of harmony.  Revising the post I think it is a touch better.  I like the photo I am substituting for the older one, a bit risqué but I feel a better photo.

 

This week’s photo challenge is to illustrate harmony, or what gives the feeling of harmony.  Today I took another photo, adjustments in mind, that I thought would better indicate how I feel about what the idea harmony means to people.

 

I took a similar photo Wednesday, October 18, 2017, to the one I took March 9, 2016, when I had less experience.  The people drinking were long gone when I noticed what they’d left behind, but we’re not hard on visitors, as we understand they’re mostly out to have a good time.

The problem is that people often grieve at the cemetery at the top of the hill.  If they were there at the same moment we were, I suppose we might rush them away, but it has never happened that way.

 

After a long winter in my part of the land, it is beginning to be warm, quite encouraging. I thought this day, as many people are feeling relief, harmonious. This is the idea behind my photo.

 

1/160 sec. f/4.2 18.3 mm
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Though the colors of the photo are sedated and muted, we have a wonderful little creek there, a hint of solace and it spoke to me the idea harmony.


Many times we seek harmony and want it as something other than sweet music, or the power, however fleeting it can be, of a prayer.


Do you take photos?  Do you see this photo and agree and disagree that it hints at harmony? Feel free to let me know with a “like” or a “comment.”

animals #WorldAnimalDay

Dimensions: 3456 x 4320
Photographer: Thijs van der Weide

rodent’s burrow there beneath, walnuts.
nothing
i would eat, nothing fit for one such as i
but i wonder
where it has gone
blizzard’s escape, but too
safety the critter returned, its store
undisturbed.
until today, when we open its retreat to the air
above, that both we and it
breathe.  it will have to live elsewhere, i think, cold or

otherwise

Updated October 4: World Animal Day

Verbal Confirmation: Assigning a Speech Label

Louth United Church

Looking back to the early reaches of my blog, I saw I wrote a post for the Oct 1, 2014, Daily Post, Verbal Confirmation

The Daily Post
To be, to have, to think, to move

 

I like to delineate.

VERB
describe
indicate

 

I belong to a small not-for-profit which consists of a small cemetery in our care.  Once in a while, at the cemetery, I assist with burials.  https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited

We have a ledger outlining in orderly fashion who rests where in the cemetery.  It does delineate how those departed rest.

Louth United Church
Maple Lawn Cemetery

I delineate other aspects of my life as well.  I like to delineate.  In social media, people are delineated.

When I wrote this, the first of October, 2014, I put it in language that would ultimately become true of Twitter several months later–I had insight into what would be on the platform.  I was already thinking of Twitter users you follow being like lists of accounts you can define and utilize.

https://help.twitter.com/en/using-twitter/twitter-lists

I simply look at random intervals of time and glance over what people are tweeting.  The different declarations of this and that is lively and that is how it is remarkable.  When a great recommendation to go to an article is posted, it is good fun.

There is more in life that can be delineated, of course.  It goes without saying that compartmentalizing tasks on an ongoing basis is very much delineation.  You can change gears from one objective to another by delineating them.

However you proceed, you can find yourself rapidly delineating your day so that things work in your favor.

I don’t play cards, but an instance where you can delineate is a hand of Solitaire.  If you do play one of the varieties of Solitaire, you know you delineate a deck of cards into piles.  The pleasure of the game, I imagine, is how chance itself can be delineated within the rules that bind the cards into a game.

I like to delineate, but I simply don’t play because I am too interested in how chance changes without the limit of rules on a deck of cards if it is possible to notice and observe such a thing.

Points of interest in a travel situation can also be delineated.  When somewhere new or far from home, you can explore a little and many do by delineating a number of spots where you can go.

With only a little time and energy, you can enjoy many sights and sounds having delineated what is now near to you.  I wish I’d traveled more.

The idea of here and there, once delineated, becomes accomplished.  To many people, that is a rewarding feeling, and you will have stories to tell back home.

I would like to feel I am characterized by the verb to delineate.  If I get the chance for advice, my favorite kind of advice is how to organize and make the most of your time.  Both productivity and efficiency interest me.

Every Monday morning I try to spend an hour on YouTube watching videos with the message to be motivated.  It may not immediately sound like the most constructive activity to perform.  It is a habit I have for starting the work week off with a positive mindset.

Ironically, I don’t place a lot of importance on spending time in full force or with efficacy and that kind of thing.  I just like to think about it!  I like to delineate.

Thought and action may well be the name of the game for delineation.

That is why I choose, as my favorite verb, to delineate.

NOUN

portraying something precisely

the exact position

19 August is World Humanitarian Day.  Supporters join the rallying cry to protect all civilians