It’s not as bad as it used to be. I used to wake up every day as if someone had shot a starter's pistol in my ear – GO! Like it was a life-or-death contest to see how much I could get done in the day. Then I burned out pretty majorly and felt overwhelmed at the idea of taking a shower for a while. These days it feels more like life-or-death to stay the eff away from overdoing it. Or underdoing it. So I take the nap, the daydream, the float in the tub, the long-ish walk, the lunch with a friend. I put my phone in a drawer from time to time.
And I make sure to do enough of the in real life social stuff, and the taking care of business stuff, to feel part of the world and keep it all going. It’s a delicate daily balance of doing and not doing. For me, it really matters.
Sometimes it helps to make a list of what’s bubbling to the surface as urgent and then look at it through the lens of, “What on this list really needs to be done today?” It’s fun to find old lists of stuff that never got done and life ambled on anyway. The should files.
So I met a young woman recently who moved here a few months ago with her 10-month-old and her newish husband. They moved here from New York, where she did commercial real estate, but now she’s got a product she’s developing for launch later this year.
She asked me what I did for a living. I told her I spent a lot of time taking care of myself so that I could be better at showing up for my child, my husband, and other people in my life the way I wanted to: present, soft, and loving.
Her jaw dropped, just a little bit, and her eyes widened, just a little bit. “How is that? Does it work?” she asked, somewhat incredulous.
“Yes,” I said. “It’s really good.” And I smiled at her with what I hoped looked like compassion rather than judgment. And we had a moment and there was so much to say but we didn’t say anything and then some other lady came up and started talking about a women’s group she’s putting together which was somewhat serendipitous and we all exchanged phone numbers and maybe we will become friends and maybe we will just be fellow travelers all trying our best at this living thing. Either way I wish them well being them and I’m so glad to be me, being me. Today is the perfect day for it.