Speaking Professionally, Going to Mass, and Dancing in Heels (Why I’m Tired)

by Judy Stone-Goldman on February 2, 2012

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A family photo before the wedding and the big party

A family photo at the big event

I have been sitting looking blankly at the screen. I have written a few words and deleted them. I have stared out the window. I have wondered where my motivation is. Then I realize: I’m tired. Flat out tired.

I’m tired from a whirlwind few days that began last Thursday with a presentation to staff from Evergreen Speech & Hearing Clinic. Great group! Committed to improving patients’ experiences and reflective about how to get there. I talked, we wrote, we talked as a group, and we repeated that until the time was up. Two hours went by in a flash (at least for me), and I came away impressed with both their genuine concern for good service and the grittiness that is real-world work.

I concentrate very deeply while preparing for and then giving a presentation, and I always requires some time afterwards to rejoin my life and the outside world. It is not unlike reentry after a trip, where I have to reestablish my footing and remember the rhythms of ordinary life. It’s a combination of “wow!,” “whew!,” “where am I?,” and “what’s next?”

Only this time, when I reentered the post-presentation space, I was jettisoned fast into another reality: family had already arrived for the weekend wedding of my step-son Tom and his financée, Michelle.

The wedding was a clear-cut joyous occasion, but the speed of the turnaround and the absence of a day for regrouping posed a challenge for my self-regulation and balance. It was a busy, family-centric weekend. Playing with my grandchild (and turning a careful ear to his language development), going to the wedding rehearsal (which was complicated enough to cause more than one person to wonder if we’d be able to get it right), and then—of course—getting to the church on time.

Yes, church. Tom and Michelle are practicing Catholics, part of our culturally, ethnically, and religiously diverse family (we have family heritages from Korea, China, Europe, Haiti, and now the Philippines). The wedding service was a Catholic Mass, definitely a first for me. I was nervous—would I feel comfortable? Would I feel like an outsider? This seemed a bigger challenge than being Jewish at Christmas.

Bride and groom have their first glimpse of each other before wedding ceremony

Bride and groom have first glimpse of each other

In the end, we all did our parts well and the ceremony was beautiful. I listened with interest, bowed where I was supposed to, and was blessed by the priest (admittedly, that felt odd), seeing every action as a statement of the love and honor we were bringing to Tom and Michelle. The truth is I love ritual and was intrigued to be part of something so new to me.

Judy and Allan enjoy the reception for Tom and Michelle's wedding

Enjoying the reception - no one's tired yet!

From there we went to an outstanding wedding party (in my vast experience with formal weddings, this was an exceptionally fun reception!) and I danced enough in dress shoes that my knees reproached me for two days. I did all this while a head cold (brought to me by my grandson) blossomed.

So here I am: tired. Why do I act surprised? I love the bursts of energy that come before the fatigue–can I learn to embrace the fatigue as well?

I do not have immediate answers, but as always, writing takes me to questions I need to ask myself. This is the purpose of reflective writing: to help us connect with ourselves, to regroup, to surprise ourselves with what we learn, and to stumble upon the next questions we need to ask.

Questions for Reflection: What different energy and mood states do you experience around intense professional and personal events? How do you transition out of these events or move from one event to another? How hard or easy is it for you to rest and recuperate after you’ve expended energy?

Writing Prompts: “When I work very hard, I get into a state that is ______” (then keep writing); “Transitioning from one intense activity to another works best for me when ______” (then keep writing); “This post reminded me of my own family experience of ______” (then keep writing); “I give myself a chance to rest and recuperate by ______” (then keep writing).

 

 

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Cory Zacker
Twitter:
February 3, 2012 at 6:27 am

Sounds like a wonderful, albeit exhausting few days, Judy. Congratulations to you and your family. Now get some rest and enjoy the memories you created!

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
February 3, 2012 at 8:18 am

Thanks, Cory–you’ve just given another motivation for resting–to enjoy the memories!

Reply

Heidi & Atticus
Twitter:
February 3, 2012 at 8:27 am

Ah Judy — first of all, I LOVE the pictures!! You look pawsitively radiant and beautiful!! (the bride & groom look nice too :) )

Mama was raised Catholic and although she long ago left the restrictions of that particular faith, we do love the ceremonial rituals — the history and pageantry moves us.

We can understand how you would feel dog-tired after all your social activity. I prescribe a quiet a weekend with a good book peppered by catnaps (with your kitty, of course!).

Rest well!

Atticus (& mama)
http://www.atticusuncensored.com
“commentary to give you paws…”

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Imogen Ragone
Twitter:
February 3, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Judy – absolutely not a surprise you are tired. Even the most enjoyable occasions can really take it out of us, especially anything out of our routine. Like you, I prefer to have space between events to give myself time to “regroup,” rest and restore. Sometimes that just is not possible. Finding internal, mental space helps me, and even carving out a half our here and there for myself if possible (Alexander Technique lie down time!). It seems to me your writing is part of your way of regrouping and re-balancing mentally the fast shifts of life. Time to let your body regroup and restore too. Hope you’ve had some good rest by now! :)

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June Sockol February 5, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Congrats to you and your family! I can see why you would be tired.

I try to space out my events if I can. If I have them right on top of each other, I try to be prepared as much as possible a few days before hand and then go to bed early so I can be well rested the next day. Depending on what’s going on, sometimes the adrenaline keeps me going til the end of day.

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Julieanne Case
Twitter:
February 5, 2012 at 10:49 pm

All great questions. I felt I could have written this post except I’d need to change the wedding to a funeral and Catholic to Jewish and me not being Jewish and worrying if I did everything right! We really are so much more alike than different. I was emotionally drained after a full day of being with the family for the funeral. And in 3 days I got a headcold that still wants to linger and is zapping my normal energy. I hear you, Missy! Loud and clear.

Julieanne Case
Always from the heart!

Reconnecting you to your Original Blueprint, Your Essence, Your Joy| Healing you from the Inside Out |Reconnective Healing | The Reconnection| Reconnective Art |

http://thereconnectivehighway.com

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
February 6, 2012 at 10:16 am

Julieanne! Our life paths are shaking from their parallel paths! So you were at a Jewish funeral? Did you go to the burial–and did you scoop dirt onto the grave? So sorry you had to get the headcold part, too, but I guess there’s meaning in that as well. Rest up!

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Julieanne Case
Twitter:
February 6, 2012 at 10:44 am

I did go the gravesite. The whole thing took place at the memorial place. It was our grandsons’ maternal grandfather who passed. I did the 3 scoops but I used the shovel they provided. You had a choice. I hugged both grandsons after the burial ceremony and each one hugged me tight, burying their head in my neck. I just held them and said nothing. I think I must have absorbed a lot of grief from so many that day and it brought up some of my own as well over past losses. We also attended the memorial service at the house later that day and our grandsons led the service.

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
February 6, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Hi again Julieanne, You mention a choice about the shovel, but I’ve never seen anything but a shovel. In fact, there’s a certain way to use the shovel for the first dirt thrown on (I can’t quite remember). What else was being done? Hands? No doubt you were immersed in grief and taking a lot in. Your grandsons are lucky you were there with them and for them.

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Julieanne Case
Twitter:
February 6, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Yes, it was the shovel or the hands. The shovel was placed upside down. So I used it that way getting the dirt on the back of the shovel. It was all a new experience. I really don’t believe the person is in the casket. Had I been younger, I might have been very upset. Now I wonder why people go to the gravesite. They aren’t there. It’s just the body. Talk to them any time you want. They will hear you. Ok, letting go of judgment. That little bugger creeps in everywhere!

Dennis Salvatier
Twitter:
February 7, 2012 at 1:10 pm

This looks like it was a lot of fun, even with all the activity going on. I felt the same way going to my first Catholic mass, and I’m Christian, so I can imagine how you must have felt. I think that in social settings I excel, and in professional settings I stay professional but with a touch of my humor, because I’d hate to come off phoney.

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
February 7, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Yes, it was a fun series of events. I consider it a very positive experience to be at something like a Catholic Mass, which was so different for me. Definitely something out of what I would consider my comfort zone but ending up being very interesting and not uncomfortable.

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
February 6, 2012 at 9:26 pm

That’s it – the back of the shovel. That’s what I was trying to remember.

You know, even with it being only the body remaining, I find the graveside experience very moving. Something about saying goodbye to the body itself.

Thanks for this exchange, Julieanne!

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