Friday, February 13, 2009

bad case of the SHOULDS

so yesterday, I decided to close up the laptop and take a break from the computer - why? Because I can sit down and tell myself - I'm just gonna check my email, and then I look up and an hour has gone by and the Joker has coloured the cat with permanent marker and there is water running somewhere and I smell something funny (it's like I slip into some crack in the space/time continuum).
Therefore, I have determined that I need to
The world will not fall apart without my input, without my witty comments on Facebook pictures. I will not fall out of the social loop if I do not read some one's 25 Things About Me note, and the blogosphere will not disappear if I do not update my posts for one day - or two.
It was funny....I actually closed my laptop lid - which is something I NEVER do...and then periodically throughout the day I would come over to the computer to sit down, look at the strange contraption on my desk (it is so rare to see it closed that it looks like it doesn't belong any more) and then say, OH, right.....I'm not going on the computer today.
It's amazing how as soon as you say you are not going to use it, that is when you think of a million things to blog about, or 4 people you ABSOLUTELY MUST send an email to TODAY, or desperately need to look up an address or something. And yet here i am today, with full access, not remembering what it was that was so crucial about yesterday.
I did, by the way, dig out the trusty old phone book and actually look something up MANUALLY. I remember when my phone book was used so often we kept it directly UNDER the phone, and it was all worn and dogeared and labelled and marked up with pen....I think we got this one about a year ago and this was the first time I cracked the spine. It was one of those light-bulb know? How you realize that in this age of the computer we put in as little effort as possible?
You may be saying - DUH....and I would be too if I read that last statement, but its one of those things you don't fully realize is possible and normal until it happens to you - like your kids getting headlice....which I am entirely certain WILL happen to me in my lifetime.
(now my head is itchy - nothing like the power of suggestion to wake you up in the morning).
So going back to the not using the computer rule. I realized (another DUH moment) that I enforce a lot of rules on myself. Some people think it is great self determination....I say, its just odd. I set rules up for myself ALL the time - like - I MUST wake up at 2:00 every day from my nap, regardless of when I laid down, I MUST get THESE chores done before I am allowed to do this fun thing...
I wonder if it is a firstborn thing (born into the land of rules...and never even thinking to break them) or if it is an OCD thing. I tend to do things the exact same way every time - and if I don't, it just feels...uncomfortable. I follow the rules to a fault - the speeding limit, the 1-8 items in the grocery lane, etc etc.
The problem is that once you set your mind on following the rules, you realize that there are rules and warnings on EVERYTHING. Did you know that there is a warning on all buckets that tells you about how much water it takes for a baby to drown, should the baby fall headfirst into it? Did you know that I have a warning tag on my curling iron that say not to use it while sleeping? Did you know that my plant food says - not for human consumption? First I ask myself - do we really need to be warned of these things...then I realize that if there is a warning, that means that someone has probably tried just those things and has sued the company due to the results. (I would like to meet the person who thought it a good idea to curl their hair while sleeping though).
Being the little rule follower that I am does have major setbacks. I think when I was growing up, I took cues from things my mom was saying and made them into rules. For example: if she said, "you should have made your bed this morning", I turned it into, "you MUST make your bed every morning". This led to a little problem I like to call the SHOULDS. I SHOULD myself all the time. I should do this, I should do that. And if I ever here someone tell me I should do something, my brain automatically hears : you MUST do that thing.
Every day I am adding more and more to the list of things I MUST do. By the time I am 35, I will have no time to sleep because of all the SHOULDS and MUSTS. And getting all psychological here, I believe this all goes back to an insane need to please my mom. Which I never seem to do. Which I never will, I believe. Okay, enough about that.
I will share one more little problem before I sign off, being that I SHOULD have been off the computer 10 minutes ago: I am currently reading through the Bible (probably because somewhere along the line I heard that I should....sigh). My Bible reading plan requires that I start in the Old Testament. That's okay, I can handle that, in fact I kinda like the history lesson and the tabernacle stuff.....but, if anyone has ever read the OT, they know that this is where God says lots of things like"If you agree to keep my commands....I will bless you and keep you".
Now here is a nation that got a LOT of shoulds from the most important Should-er ever. And even though I am not bound to all their laws, that does not stop me from questioning - should I be abstaining from eating pork (ack! please don't make me give up bacon!) or celebrating Passover, or bringing 10 shekels of grain to my local temple (not that I have the faintest idea of where the local temple is, or what on earth a shekel might be). Maybe God led me to read the OT so that I would see that this whole nation of people who should have done this, or should have done that, was never able to keep up. That is why God sent his Son. He was the only way we would ever be good enough.....through His sacrifice on our behalf. Hmmmm....something to chew on.
Well, that's it, time is REALLY up now. In case you have been in a closet for the last month or so, this is a reminder that tomorrow is Valentines Day. Hug someone you love. Tell your kids that they are great, just the way they are, and no matter whether they do keep up with all the rules or NOT, you still love them. And for goodness sake, stop SHOULDING all over yourself.

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