30 Mar

“I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?”- Chastity from 10 Things I Hate About You

It’s how I live my life. I’m either underwhelmed, searching for things to do, worrying over every little detail of my life or crazy overwhelmed, mind racing 100 miles a minute, always moving to the next thing, the next task, the next thought. There are things I can’t give up: work, friends, family, the elusive Nora time, but other things are extras, bonuses.

Times like these- the overwhelmed times- I force myself to step back and remember why I’m doing this in the first place.

Why I’m going to graduate school with full force? Someday I plan to take over the family business and that someday is fast approaching. I’ll be just shy of 29 when that day comes. The industry I work in is predominantly men; rude, snide, doubting women kind of men. I’ve had experience (five years and counting), I have my bachelors degree and I decided about two years ago that an MBA would be the way to go. I want to be able to point the naysayers to my experience and my degree, letting them know I’ve rounded out my knowledge with an actual degree. Will it work? I have no idea, but at least I’ll feel a bit more prepared.  

Why am I training for this 10 mile race? To say that I can. To say that I did. Because running makes me feel amazing and free. The stress melts away, the music pumps through my ears and into my veins and I become one with the pavement. I’ve always thought about running a long race and now that I’m 26, why the heck shouldn’t I just go for it? Nothing to lose by trying, nothing to gain by waiting. Everything that comes with it: the commradery from other runners, the weight loss, the feel-goodness, those are all just extra perks.

Some days it’s admittedly too much. Some days I can’t be the Superwoman I want to be at work, on the track, in the online discussion boards for school, as a friend and daughter/sister or mom to my darling dog Jack. Some days I have to choose which one gets my full attention and which will have to fall by the wayside. It feels like a race agains the clock, the daylight hours, the number of minutes before my eyes give up for the evening.

Other days it’s like a gust of wind is carrying me through the day, allowing me to multitask and smile, check things off the list and even leave some time to spare. Nothing stands in my way and nothing can’t be done.


I know myself; I hate not being busy. I thrive on time management and adding things to my calendar. To-do lists and Post-Its. It fulfills me. Reminds me that I can do anything. Is ultimately part of who I am.  But sometimes, I wonder what it’s like to just be whelmed. Or, furthermore to give myself permission to just be whelmed. It’s probably more of the latter. Maybe someday I’ll get there.


17 Responses to “Whelmed”

  1. mandy March 30, 2010 at 10:41 am #

    I think I spend a lot of time whelmed. I do occasionally feel overwhelmed, but very really feel underwhelmed. Just feeling whelmed is my happy medium. I am so proud of you for tackling all these things you’ve undertaken. You should definitely give yourself permission to just be. It does wonders for the soul.

  2. SSG March 30, 2010 at 12:15 pm #

    I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes I wish I could pause time, and just have a breather, but I know in the end I don’t like to have time with nothing to do, I like to fill my time, get the most out of it, be busy: I like to fill that spare hour. I am a planner, I don’t like not having an idea of what i’m going to be doing that day. Maybe I’m a control freak, and sometimes I would like to do nothing, but even that would be planned :) I guess sometimes it’s good to be whelmed, be content and not feel like there’s always something more I could be doing. Hmm, good post, thanks!

  3. Lisa from Lisa's Yarns March 30, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

    Oh we are so similar. i am also overwhelmed much of the time.. But i honestly do it to myself. I take on alot, but i like to be challenged.

    I am so proud of you for almost being done with your MBA! It will be the best feeling when it’s done. I hope you throw yourself a huge party (like I did for myself when I got mine last May!).

    And taking over the family business at 29 is HUGE. :) If you need a finance gal, you know where to look! ;)

  4. Amy --- Just A Titch March 30, 2010 at 5:52 pm #

    I am like you—I need deadlines and lots going on to feel productive and happy, but sometimes, I wish I could be better about just being. I’ve been working on it, little by little, and man, it feels good.

  5. Ashley March 30, 2010 at 6:33 pm #

    I’ve finally realized this same thing for myself. I’ve always been so protective of my Ashley time that I can’t believe how much I enjoy being incredibly busy. It’s hard to balance; I more often find myself leaning too far one way. But, I’m happy.

    And I totally know what you mean by entering a male dominated field. Business is probably the worst of it, and I really admire you for getting into it. The study of religion and philosophy is still totally dominated by men, too, so that this semester I’m outnumbered by a huge majority in all of my classes. We’re all supposed to be so enlightened. We’re always talking about feminist critiques. But, still, I’m always aware of it.

  6. Margarita March 30, 2010 at 8:35 pm #

    I loved this post. I think everyone can get like this, we’re running a race against time, and I think running your 10k will actually help you. You’re going to do amazing.

    And as a ps: Some men will never fully respect a 20-something experienced lady. Never.

  7. Amber from Girl with the Red Hair March 30, 2010 at 8:47 pm #

    I *think* I’ve been just plain Whelmed before but I hardly remember it I’ve been overwhelmed for so long!!

    Like you, I thrive on deadlines, to-do lists and busy schedules BUT sometimes it can just be plain overwhelming and annoying. Taking a step back and looking at the big picture is a must!!

  8. Jessica March 30, 2010 at 8:50 pm #

    Oh my gosh I totally know this feeling. I am either going 90 mph or I’m asleep. I can’t seem to find the balance. If you figure out how to be whelmed, let me know because we’ll do it together :)

  9. OG March 30, 2010 at 10:19 pm #

    I’m right there with you. It’s nice to have things in your life that are both productive and stress reducers, like the gym or running. And, I think the important thing is that you have a goal that you’re working toward. So many people go to through school, work, or life with no goal or direction. It’s nice that you can remind yourself why you’re doing something. This was a very well written post.

  10. Her March 30, 2010 at 10:55 pm #

    I am guessing that whelmed means having some sense of balance. If so, then, damn, I’m craving some whelmned-ness (wow, what a distortion of a non-word!) myself. I allow myself to get flustered so easily–I just need to slow down and remember that there is a whole lot more to life than the niggling things.

  11. Kyla Roma March 30, 2010 at 11:01 pm #

    Lady, I so know what you mean. I just bought a new planner and I have THREE separate calendars posted now because I can’t keep track of all of my different projects under all of these different banners straight any more.

    What I’m counting on is Sundays. Sundays are baking in the morning & reading/napping in the afternoon. I figure by building that in I can just about take over the world.

    Also, please remember that you are so loved and so inspiring. You are doing amazing things and I can’t wait to see you be able to enjoy all of the benefits of your hard work =)

  12. Ally March 31, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    Oh, that is a great quote! I am kind of craving the whelmed state. I tend to oscillate between feeling underwhelmed and feeling overwhelmed and I really just want to be on an even keel for a while.

  13. kilax March 31, 2010 at 5:53 pm #

    I love that movie.

    And I love this post! I can relate TOO much. I feel like I always have to be doing a million things and hate being “bored” but when do I allow myself to relax.

    Your description of your industry reminds me of when I worked on construction sites (as the architect). They didn’t like taking direction from a much younger woman.

  14. Suburban Sweetheart March 31, 2010 at 8:22 pm #

    Love this post. I’m often an underwhelmed, not doing much – and even though this post was all about you being overwhelmed, it was a good reminder to me to step it up. But take it easy when you need to – life will wait while you catch your breath for a day or two!

  15. Sarah April 1, 2010 at 1:09 pm #

    I love that quote! I’m gonna be brutally honest: most of my life, to date, I’ve been underwhelmed with a few weeks of overwhelmed every now and then. And it worked pretty well for me, until I realised that I wasn’t getting anywhere. So, I’ve stepped things up which means that I’m leaning a lot more towards overwhelmed these days than usual, but I feel that if I don’t push myself, I’ll never know what I’m truly capable of. So whelmed is all well and good, but it’s when I’m overwhelmed that I find out who I am and what I’m made of.

  16. Jessica April 4, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

    What a great post! I wish I could ever just be whelmed or satisfied. I am like you, always overwhelmed or underwhelmed. I think it’s so amazing that you are going to take over the family business though!

  17. Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks April 7, 2010 at 12:11 pm #

    I was like you in my 20’s. And then I hit my 30’s. And got tired. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally. And that’s when I’m pretty sure I gave myself permission (by force) to be whelmed. In other words, you’ll figure out the balance … when you’re ready.

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