Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Failure of Attitude

I'm in the process of trying to rearrange and revamp my mood and attitude at the moment. I have been finding myself overwhelmed and complaining, and I don't really like it, and I know it's wearing on Matt, which is not fair to him. I need to sort out my thoughts and redirect myself into doing things that make me feel good about myself, even if life is stressful at the moment. Let me vent and complain here for just a moment, and then I'll be done.

See, summer would be busy anyway, without preparing to leave the country and the chaos that is my job right now. But with those two things in addition, although I wouldn't trade them for anything, I am feeling absolutely swamped. My work, although there are only six weeks left of it, is taking on epic proportions. We have unprecedented numbers of refugees arriving to be resettled by our office (16 individuals scheduled in the next week alone, and now we just got word of a family of seven Cubans that will be coming as well), while at the same time we have two case managers on extended vacations, one leaving to have a baby at any time, and our program manager in Bosnia for two weeks for her father's funeral. The staff who would normally be second-in-command is on vacation for another two weeks, so in my boss's absence, myself and the two remaining case managers have been put in charge of the office and the resettlement program, and one of us must always be in the office during business hours. In addition, the three of us are taking on extra duties to cover until things return to normal at the end of the month (well, normal-ish- that's when we'll be hiring my replacement). So we're operating with about half the staff we normally have while handling unheard of numbers of arrivals, and all that is on top of me scrambling to complete all kinds of checks and paperwork surrounding the arrivals, coordinating volunteers to help our two remaining case managers set up apartments and take new arrivals to their orientation appointments, and receiving and sorting the applications for my soon-to-be-vacant position. I've received 80 so far, and the posting will be open for another week. So I have plenty to do, and while I love my job and am very very glad to be given extra responsibilities and to be involved in the hiring, I am having trouble keeping my head above water.

Just for a little extra stress, we are also still waiting on one last document (requested weeks ago) to arrive that we need to send in with our passports and visa applications, which have to be to the BUNAC office in Connecticut no later than Monday. Dealing with the bureaucracy of obtaining and submitting official documents in a pain in the $&#, and it is making us both edgy as we are only a few days from our application deadline and may have to shell out big time to overnight FedEx our applications to make the deadline.

I haven't seen much of my friends lately, as they are all just as busy as I am, and I want to get as much time with them as I can before leaving for NZ. So I think it's time for me to re-prioritize, figure out how to see my buddies (or at least talk to them on the phone), set something of a schedule for packing so my brain doesn't go into panic mode, and figure out some ways to make my brain and body relax a little, so I can do my work well without sapping all my resources. I know I've been stressing Matt out by my own being overwhelmed, which puts him a foul mood, which then puts me in a foul mood- it's a vicious cycle. So I am going to try and not let things overwhelm me, and realize that Matt is right when he says that we can pack and store and move out in the space of two days if we need to. I am such a planner that I wig myself out by anticipating how stressful things will be, and Matt goes the (possibly more sane) route of not planning things, and just cramming it all into as little time as possible, so that the stress is limited to a matter of days, not weeks. We're both exhausted and cranky already, so it's time for me to just let go and relax for awhile.

I don't like complaining or stressing myself out. I do it way more than I should, and it doesn't feel good. So I want to break out of that, and just do my work at the office and at home without complaining. I remember my father saying at my grandmother's wake a few years ago that he had no memories of her ever complaining. She was a fantastic woman who lived through the Great Depression and World War II, through her parents dying within 13 days of each other and leaving her in charge of three young sisters, and later she lived through my grandfather's death, spending 25 years without him before she passed away. If she, who I am named after, can go through all that without complaining, I really have very little right to complain about having too much paperwork to deal with and not finding time to pack for the trip of a lifetime.

I'm done now. I will go find my old optimistic self, wherever she is hidden under all my current grouchy wonkitude. I am going to let it all go, hopefully get my visa application in on time, and then relax and enjoy the upcoming weekend, which happens to include my 26th birthday! This should be a time of celebration and happiness, and I aim to make it so.


Anonymous said...

Dear Liz, just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. I learned of it from the Down to Earth blog several months ago and have been reading since then. I am 33 and a speech-language pathologist in the Boston area. I'm also interested in the simple life, the helping professions, and developing my dreams for the future. I don't have a blog. Wish we were in the same geographic area; I think we would really get along. I especially loved this post. It so well describes a type of 'blip' that I have experienced before. The fact that others also go through these and get out of them is inspiring to me. I appreciate your realness. I wish you the best on your time abroad!!
Anna from Boston

Liz said...

Thanks, Anna! I'm so glad you're here, and it's always good to hear from people of a similar mind. I experience "blips" like this all the time, so you are certainly not alone in that!
Thanks for the comment, and I hope you continue reading!