Hocus, Pocus, Focus

I don’t know if it’s that I’m moving ever nearer to that psychologically significant boundary line between my forties and my fifties (I’ll turn 50 in November), or that summer is upon us here in the Northeast, or that I am on circuit overload, but this week I just haven’t been able to get up a good head of steam for a substantial blog post, and thus have stayed silent.

It’s been quite a while since a whole five days have gone by without my posting a single word.

It’s not that I’m not thinking.  And I am certainly keeping abreast of events out in the wide world.

But instead of the steady churning of thoughts and the relentless input of news raising my hackles and prompting me to send another blog-post-bottle out into the high internet seas, I just feel like pulling the covers over my head and rolling over for another hour of sleep.

I find myself longing for a silent weekend retreat, in which I had no access to the internet or phone, and no one around who expected me to speak or respond.

If I could have some good quiet time, maybe I could focus my thoughts, ideas and projects, and figure out which of them are worth carrying with me, and which can be jettisoned.

Perhaps that goes with the time of life I’m in, where every moment seems precious and limited, and you know that you really don’t have that much time to accomplish everything you came here to do in this lifetime.

If I could just figure out where to pour my energies and talents, I have no doubt that I could be very successful—with my success measured not necessarily in money or goods, but in positive impact on the planet.

That is what I am most trying to figure out right now.  Where should I be funneling my limited time and energy?

Generally speaking, there seem to be four spheres in which I am operating at all times, simultaneously:

  • the very up-close-and-personal realm, where my thoughts revolve around such mundane but important matters as my responsibilities to my two sons and the rest of my family, endless house and garden maintenance issues, and how I’d like to reconnect with such-and-such friend next week;
  •  the professional realm, where I am wondering what the outcome will be of my current contract review, feeling guilty because I am months behind in the essay I promised an anthology editor a year ago, pondering how to teach my classes scheduled for the fall, and wishing that I had the drive to get up at 5 a.m. and work on my book project;
  • the broader community, regional and national realm, where I am thinking about how to encourage the adoption of solar panels in my town, wondering about the impact of the new immigration legislation on friends and students, and concerned about the prospect of rabid Republicans gaining control of all three centers of power in Washington, and wondering how I can support both the Democrats and their more radical critics, whose platform is much closer to my heart;
  •  and then there’s the planetary realm, where I see with such pain the big picture of how destructive human beings are to every other life form on Earth, and ask myself how long it will be before the planet gives a big methane burp and sends us all to over-heated hell.

Is it any wonder, with all this (and much more!) churning through my mind day after day, that I end up just wanting to tune out and sit on my porch with a glass of wine on a summer evening and CHILL OUT?

I envy people who can focus all their energy in any one of these spheres.

I seem to be an incorrigible multitasker, and I know it’s not particularly healthy for me, or productive for my goals.

If there is one thing I really want to work on in the coming decade of my fifties, it’s learning how to prioritize tasks, concentrate my energy and GO!

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