Every once in a while, we have to take a step back and ask ourselves: am I spinning my wheels?
Am I running on empty?
Is something burning me out?
Two things happened last night – besides that whole food thing I wrote about earlier today – that contributed to me sitting on my ass for the majority of today. I think it was about ten hours, in total.
1. My daughter broke my heart and told me, completely out of the random and for no reason at all, that she sometimes thinks of me as a birthday candle that tries too hard to stay lit, but as a result has very little left because it’s all burned away.
She’s very wise for her ten years.
2. My old friend Period Pants showed up, and not in the subtle way she normally does. There was no taking her sweet fucking time to get going, giving me a day or so to prepare myself for the carnage of her monthly hormonal fluctuations. I had no opportunity to “pre-med” (take plenty of Ibuprofen the night before shit gets real so as to minimize the pain.)
Nope, this time she just came stomping in the door, around 11:30 at night.
When I’m really stressed out, she does this. First I get sick, then in about 45 seconds I develop cramps no amount of over the counter painkillers could fix. Then I get really hot and headachy until my brain catches up with my body, realizing that I need to slow the fuck down and relax while Period Pants resets my body.
It’s all in good fun, and yes I’m sure you all didn’t want to hear that much detail. But it’s not like I’m talking about freebleeding under my dress, or knitting sweaters with fallen pubic hairs or anything; so just get over it and understand my point. This happened, forcing me to slow down and calm down and remember that my body is going to tell me when I’m going too far on the stress-o-meter.
Needless to say, when I got up this morning I had – again – remembered the point of this all. I asked myself those questions: am I spinning my wheels? Absolutely. I’m cleaning and yet nothing is really getting clean. I’m cooking food that isn’t being eaten. I’m making efforts when I know the effortlessness of others will make it all moot anyway.
Am I running on empty? You bet I am. It isn’t that I’m physically tired, it’s that I’m mentally exhausted. I can’t think straight most of the time, and I’m so scattered I have a hard time even paying attention to the book I’m reading, the painting I’m painting, and the blanket I’m knitting. And then there is that simple fact that – for the fifth time in a day – I put my keys in the freezer. My brain is trying so hard to escape this situation, it’s become almost nonfunctional.
Is something burning me out? Yes. Activity is burning me out. Constantly having plans and activities and errands and projects and expectations from others and of myself is burning me out. Life is burning me out.
So today I decided I was going to take a break. I mean I’ve really tried to make an effort to cut back on activities and giving a fuck for some time now. I wear yoga pants and comfortable sweaters most days of the week, now. I’m worrying less about things like the placement of the towels in the bathroom as well.
But this overwhelming sense that I need to justify my Stay At Home existence with constant movement and nonstop commitments has me occasionally heading down this path of bodily pain, and metaphorical burn out, that tells me I haven’t done enough to have a healthier balance in life.
I started out planning – intending – to spend the majority of my day on Pinterest and in front of Netflix. As I started to destress, though, I thought that what I’d really like to do is write. (So I wrote 20 pages of good, solid fiction.) Then I destressed even more, and decided I would get up and bake some Valentine’s Day cupcakes for my husband to take to work later in the week. And as I calmed down more and more, feeling Period Pants calm her ass down as well in the process, I decided to write a blog, do some marketing, and I even did a Fiverr gig I had waiting to be done.
So what I’m saying here is that I got more work done today while I sat on my ass than I have probably gotten done in the past couple of weeks.
What I didn’t do was run errands or return phone calls I had no interest in returning. I also didn’t worry about making a fancy dinner; and – for once – I just let the laundry from the last two days continue to pile up.
The moral of the story is – I think – that when we force ourselves to slow down, we realize the path to do more meaningful, balanced things.