Hamster on a Wheel

hamster on a treadmillI tell myself I haven’t been posting here as often lately because I now spend three or four hours a day working for this great volunteer organization of which I am  currently the president…..But is that it really? I have to wonder.

Because like a great many women especially, I have always crowded my calendar: I worked with a church youth group, served as a writing tutor, and looked after all our old people and used the kids’ naptimes to refinish large pieces of wooden furniture – all in addition to meeting the deadline for this column that I have been writing since Ronald Reagan first smiled his way onto the Presidential stage.

I had the energy, all right!

For a while there, I also spent my nights marketing the three column collections I had put together, sending out review copies to the radio and TV stations I had called during the day –  and never mind that I often fell dead asleep at my desk at midnight. Five hours later, I was good to go again, vaulting in practically one leap from my bed to my keyboard, before the children woke and life intervened.

The year I decided to post on my blog every day was just the most recent chapter of my life as an overfunctioner.

Back in ’99, a mere month after David’s lovely mother died her timid and undemanding death, I decided there must be more I could to comfort people and so added massage school to my list of activities – once again without letting anything else go.

For two years, I studied that art, undergoing countless hours of interning and then renting a room from this great chiropractor, where, two days a week, I kneaded out the knots in people’s necks and backs and helped opened the tissues of their poor tired feet.

I worked that job for four whole years, not stopping until the day I had my first sudden awareness that there might be an ending to this thing called ‘Life’.

“What am I DOING?” I asked myself one day. “I’m in my 50s! What about that family history I was always going to write? Didn’t God make me a writer first?“

I gave my notice to the chiropractor that same week – and the very next month started the blog, which, as the word suggests, is supposed to be a log, like a ship’s log, something you contribute to every daily.

Maybe I only ever wanted to see if I could do it.

And I could.

For a while.

Now, though, I can’t keep posting every day. I just can’t.

And so I don’t.

I still write the column each week. Thirty-four years and counting!

I still work with young people in that great non-profit I mentioned, which is no burden at all because I love them. 

I spend time lying around with my husband as he peers into his i-Pad doing the New York Times crossword. I spend time with our kids and take such joy in them still.

There’s no more choir though, and the church youth group seems to be doing just fine without me.

There are no new books I’m trying to write. Alas, there are no more old people to look after. And frankly right now I think I’d rather set fire to one of my beloved old wooden chests than to refinish it.

A certain quiet has grown in me and I don’t know what to call it. A return to the serenity I last knew in childhood maybe? If so, I say “Welcome back!” and “Where ya been so long?”

Author: Terry Marotta

I am syndicated columnist, blogger and author who loves any chance to give talks about the ease of first-person writing.

7 thoughts on “Hamster on a Wheel”

  1. Isnt it wonderful that you know it is time to change, to slow down, to stop over achieving, to revel in your accomplishments and to sit back and enjoy everyone and everything in your life. You will love the slower place. I guarantee it. Hugs mdj

  2. Awesome Lady. Am slowly learning to let go myself and become a facilitator and encourager for those with more youth, energy and; often; more wisdom. Peace, peace, sweet peace the gift of God’s love.

  3. Hey kiddo, I join your 65+ age category soon myself and find the hampster cage less appealing as well. There are more than enough crosses to pick up and carry and thankfully, the vast majority of those crosses are easy to bear for it is Love that inspires us to reach down and lift, just as He did.
    For the really heavy ones, I know that there will always be help, from Him and people a lot like you!!

    Keep smiling and writing, what you do best.

  4. life on the other side of insanity has been calling,,,,and boy is that grass a lot more relaxed…. now i need to find my way more regularly… you inspire me. even though i know your hamster hell rarely rests. xo

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