Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Calendar Relationships

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on February 20, 2014

How much in advance do you know your calendar? How often do you double book or get confused? Do you use technology to assist your scheduling? On the one hand these are very practical questions of daily life, but on the other hand, they can represent one’s relationship to one’s life. How one reacts to looking at his calendar intrigues me. Some have joy. Some have dread. Some only focus on the non-work activities and vice versa. Mia, seventy-one, comes to mind. She lives in a constant state of confusion. She runs late. She double books and she tends to blame others for her failures. “Maybe you do not like what is on your calendar so you do not want to get to close to it, to avoid feeling like you are not happy with your life.” I say, thinking that Mia is a very intelligent, very focused person, who is perfectly capable of managing her time well. “That could be,” Mia says with anger and frustration. “I don’t like most of what I am doing, but I don’t know how to change that,” she says with a firm and angry tone. “Getting out of confusion and blame is a good first step,” I say, helping her see that sabotaging her life is not a good step towards change. “Yes, but I don’t think I will be able to change my life, at this late age,” Mia says, as if I do not know how old she is. “What makes you say that?” I challenge her. “I have had these habits for a very long time.” Mia says quietly. “Yes, I understand that. We have a long journey, but we can begin.” I say, both understanding that with age, changes are slow, but with patience, Mia can pivot to a place where she looks at her calendar with excitement instead of confusion.

2 Responses to “Calendar Relationships”

  1. Shelly said

    Does Mia have a problem saying “no?” Because double-booking at Mia’s age could only mean that she’d have a problem turning someone or something down. She’d have to look at her calendar to book the first appointment and then the second. Is Mia a people pleaser? Does she have a good heart and not want to disappoint someone? Does Mia, at 71, still work? If she does, at her age, she could choose to retire. It is the younger worker who still has several more working years stretched ahead of him/her who has the problem and looks at his calendar with dread.

    • I am afraid Shelly that many people look at their calendar with dread, even in the absence of a job, as doctor appointments, caretaking responsibilities and financial planning can all be a source of dread and despair. Mia is intended to illustrate this concept of agency, where she has not embraced her life as her own, and one manifestation of her lack of agency is her lack of attention to her own schedule. Thanks.

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