June 22, 2007


Waterfall, La Tigre National Park, HondurasWaterfall, La Tigre National Park, Honduras
Photo with permission: Aaron Ortiz, Penseive

I feel cleansed!

I've been complaining (as usual, sorry to say) to a few friends (and even a few strangers) about how overwhelmed I've been feeling lately. It's one thing to have tons to do and accomplish things bit by bit, and quite another to be "busy" all the time and seem to accomplish nothing. That's what I've been doing lately.

Panamanian expat Don Ray at Chiquirí Chatter is going through a similar slump that he calls "The don't wantas." He even wrote a poem about it.

Dominican expat Jen at Living Dominica says, "To keep a blog well fed, watered, bathed and groomed takes a lot of time! And I don't even take my blog out for regular exercise like most of you do." She also thinks that blogging may lead to sloth. El Jefe will tell you that La Gringa is a testament to that!

I wasn't always this way. In fact, I would say that organization and efficiency were among my best traits, along with "stick-to-it-iveness." Has the laid back Honduran culture corrupted me? No, that would be too easy to place the blame there.

The problem lies with the computer and the fact that I have allowed it to consume my life. Besides my blog, answering comments there, our Honduras Living discussion group, and having an insatiable desire to learn more about everything that interests me, I get tons of email every day, both La Gringa and the real me − yes, she gets tons of email, too, although she isn't quite as popular and her email is much more boring.

Lots of people write asking questions about Honduras, Honduran girlfriends, gardening, health care, hotels, hairdressers, and those are only the 'g' and 'h' topics. I've always tried to help when I can, but it was really draining me, especially when the questions are hard and people ask for advice about life-changing decisions. I don't want that responsibility.

Yesterday, someone sent a picture of a palm tree with a beautiful bright orange bloom and asked if I knew what it was. I didn't. After 30 minutes of research, all of sudden I thought "WHY AM I DOING THIS?" So I sent her a nice email suggesting that she send her photo in to one of the forums on GardenWeb.

Swedish Carina from the Dominican Republic at Steps and Stories has this little announcement in her "About" section:

Note before sending emails:
I get many emails, and time is always an issue. Please do not send me emails about moving here, about meeting me, about becoming a penpal etc. I simply have no time. For any other matter, just go ahead and email me!

It made me chuckle because I thought of Greta Garbo, saying "I vant to be alone," but I admire Carina's honesty. There just isn't time for everything.

What I've done over the past few days is unsubscribe from many of the numerous newsletters, discussion groups, alerts, and so forth that I was subscribed to. Honestly, I was spending more time deleting those things than I was reading them and feeling guilty about not reading them. I finally just admitted to myself that I don't have time to keep up with everything that I thought I needed to keep up with.

La Gringa has been maintaining an inventory of about 80 emails which need (need?) attention even though I read,
reply and/or delete new messages several times a day. No matter how many emails I attended to in a day, the inventory never seemed to go down. Yesterday, I went through La Gringa's email and ruthlessly deleted messages that I've been meaning to read in more detail, some as old as December!

The messages that I might reply to someday or have links that I might read or pictures or information that I might post, or whatever − I put all of those in one folder, so I'll be able to find them if and when I have the time. I couldn't bring myself to delete those.
My inbox went from almost 90 messages (half of them starred as important!) to 16.

Wow, I feel cleansed.

P.S. If you've written me in the past and we've exchanged emails, please don't take this personally. I'm not talking about you! ;-D

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