“Ok,” he said, “I don’t like to disturb you at what I know must be a difficult and distressing time for you, but I need to know first of all if you actually realize that this is a difficult and distressing time for you.”
― Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
This year has required a lot of gumption. Wrapping up my PD job and training a very unexpected replacement, packing up and storing a household, living out of a suitcase for nearly four months, helping my family out for a summer, moving to London, setting up a new household, and starting a job hunt…all of this has made 2013 a hell of a year. And there’s still two and half months left – the thought is equal parts exhilarating and daunting!
But when I came down with that cold a few weeks ago, it was as if something had reached up and yanked me by my immune system to force me to sit down and take a mental break. And I’ve been a bit slow in getting back up again in some ways because I realized how tired I was. It was as if the universe conspired to say, “Look, you’ve got a place to live, everything’s set up and arranged, you’re back in a work schedule and actually way ahead of schedule in some assignments, there is nothing immediately pressing to angst over. You have done good. Now what you need is a nap, and so help me you’re going to get it.”
Sitting down is a sort of symbol for me. During the move, for example, I’d start packing, sorting, or cleaning first thing in the morning. When I plopped on the sofa in the late afternoon or early evening, I was not going to be moved unless lives were at stake. I tend to keep working at full strength until the job is done, I’ve accomplished the portion I’ve scheduled for that day, or I’m not capable of going further. And when I reach that point, I’ll allow myself to physically or mentally rest.
The problem with a mental rest is that once I slow down (or in this case am forced to by a cold), just as my batteries are recharged and I’m about to stand up again and get back to work, occasionally swarms of nagging doubts and insecurities fly up to try and dissuade me from expending the effort. I can’t tell if it’s fear, wannabe laziness, or something else altogether but it’s annoying; they’re so demotivating. A few persistent ones have been buzzing around as I’ve kicked the job hunt and a couple of personal projects into high gear. Luckily, I’ve swatted most of them away.
The reason standing up after a break is so important to me though is the critical change of view. Things look so much bigger than they really are when you have to look up at them, I’ve often been surprised at how small they get once I change my vantage point. Quite often new challenges are eye level at best, and sometimes it’s been shocking how tiny they actually were.
So. I took a mental break. I’ve allowed myself a brief wallow in intimidation. I’ve admitted I was tired and tried to get better rest and self care. I’ve actually taken a few days where I practically never leave the house so I can work at a slower, more measured pace instead of trying to cram in additional stimuli. It’s been much needed. But (just so I can say it somewhere so the universe can hold me accountable), I’m officially standing back up now.