It shouldn’t surprise me that now that I’ve finally got time to work (baby sleeping, Topi at school), I’m indisposed. The snails in our neighborhood have more energy than me right now, using it to bravely cross trecherous sidewalks, of which there are plenty (snails and trecherous sidewalks). The same snails that I adore and point out excitedly to my husband or kids or to passers-by and then accidentally step on with a horrible crunch, usually at night, after a rainfall. If I’ve mentioned this before, I’m sorry. I still swear I can hear the tiny snail scream as it suffers below my hoof. My husband, when he really wants to touch a nerve, calls me affectionately, “Snail Killer.”
I suppose that if I have enough energy to muse about dying snails, I should have enough to work on one of many things that make my desk look like mini-pilgrimages up the Pyramids. Neatly stacked things does not mean organization, though. It means orderly disfunction, in my world. It means that in the process of trying to arrange my life and control it that I make little piles of things, group things together in platonic relationships so that I feel better.
The lack of energy does come from something legit, though. It started with a few unhappy grumbles of my stomach three days ago (could have been the excessive amount of chocolate milk I was drinking with my children, just like Topi likes it: milk in a glass with two scoops of chocolate milk power on top, not mixed, so he can scoop out the chocolate and ask for more. I protested this until I tried it out myself, realizing it was delicious.) and has turned into my late-summer-early-fall stomach flu. Without fail this time of year for the last three years I have to eat salted potatoes and rice with yogurt (and butter, because I can’t live without the butter) and wave goodbye to my family as I cloister myself in the bathroom for a week. Sorry.
I chalk it up to the seasons changing, or that my life tends to change in some way in the fall, mimicking the start of the school year like it used to. Either way, despite the unpleasantness, forced rest is usually just what I need because most of the time I am either really excited about something or panicking about it. Both can happen in the same five minutes.
I’m reading a book that everyone else is reading right now about another 30-year old who’s personal experiment (this time, in the kitchen) turned into literary fame while I rest, and waiting for feedback on some work I’ve done so I can do revision #210. The calm right now, the illusion of calm, I should say, is only because I’ve gone through my Gmail and labeled everything so they are in neat little subcategories. Look, no mail! But my TO DO label in bright red still haunts me from the left-hand side of the screen and I meekly look at it and hope it doesn’t start flashing.
Does anybody really listen to their body when they are worn down, tired, anxious and overdoing it? If you do, pray tell. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve cut back, made changes, etc, to slow down the pace, and I pretty much always end up right where I started. In the most pleasant way, I am grateful for this because I always find things that captivate me that I want to do, make, learn about. On the other hand, over-committment and exhaustion go hand in hand. Even reading becomes a sporting event, hurtling through pages so I can start another one because I just don’t know when I’ll have the time again. But regardless, this time I’m listening to the clanging bell of my body telling me to take a break and only moving my fingers about the keyboard because the idea struck me that you, too, might relate to that. And if so, I’d like to know about it.