All in good time, my pretty, all in good time.
Remember when Dorothy faces The Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz? Well, that’s exactly how I felt when I finally got up the courage to ask my boss if I could take a day off.
By the way, I am my own boss –– my own Wicked Witch.
I pleaded with the Wicked Witch in me, “I need to take some Fridays off. I’m tired and under a lot of pressure.”
Demanding that I sit down for a spell, the Wicked Witch became unhitched.
“You call that long? Why, you’ve just begun! Starting construction of the Golden Inn & Village is just the beginning! There’s still so much to do! You’ve got to raise more funds for senior programs, and so affordable assisted living and memory care will become a reality in our community. And you want a day off?”
What I’m feeling, and you, too– – if you can relate to my lament –– is experienced by many general good-deed-doers, anyone who cares about caring for others more than we do ourselves.
Call it “burnout” or “compassion fatigue,” it’s common and renders us “inoperative” –– a clinician’s term for a mix of moderate depression, mild anxiety, emotional and physical exhaustion, and disrupted private lives.
I’m not a therapist or clinician, just Rona the meek and mild. So I’ll just call it the “enough is NEVER enough” syndrome.
Not at all trying to equate what I’m going through with the movie Schindler’s List, but that heart-wrenching “I could have done more” final scene continues to haunt me. But I do take comfort when his assistant quotes from the Talmud: “Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.”
But honestly, for my own sanity, I needed some time off.
So I dumped a bucket of water on the Wicked Witch and turned to my other inner voice: Glinda the Good Witch.
“Glinda,” I asked, “if happy little bluebirds can fly on Fridays, why oh why, can’t I?”
Glinda soothed, “You should Rona. You’re the boss.”
I said, “But I have such guilty feelings. So many people depend on me.”
Glinda crooned, “Well, if you want to stay depend-ABLE, you must take some time off.”
I mused, “There are a few friends I really want to see, but I feel so guilty leaving the office.”
She gently admonished, “How guilty will you feel if you don’t take time to see them?”
“But then a senior told me, ‘Rona, in two years I’ll have absolutely no money and no place to live.’”
Understanding she said, “But you’ve got to think about yourself once in awhile.”
So I decided. All in good time isn’t good enough. I am clicking my heels three times and taking a Friday off … or two … or three to take care of myself.
Glinda smiled serenely, “You’ve always had the power, my dear.”
So let the joyous news be spread, the Wicked Old Witch at last is dead –– until Monday, that is.
Until next time … keep thinking the good thoughts.
— For more than 30 years, Rona Barrett was a pioneering entertainment reporter, commentator and producer. Since 2000, she has focused her attention and career on the growing crisis of housing and support for our aging population. She is the founder and CEO of the Rona Barrett Foundation, the catalyst behind Santa Ynez Valley’s first affordable senior housing, the Golden Inn & Village. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed are her own.