Rest and be thankful.
– William Wadsworth, English poet
We took down the Christmas decorations on Saturday and we were able to get everything boxed up and stored in the attic within a 24-hour period, with a few generous breaks taken, mostly by the kids. That meant our Sunday – the entire weekend was set aside for the take down, which historically is how long the task requires – was wide open. Oh, the possibilities, I told myself with excitement, as I put away the vacuum cleaner and got ready for bed.
Whereas Saturday I bustled with energy, with the mission to get the house clean again and returned to pre-holiday austerity, on Sunday morning I woke up completely spent. I managed to run a couple of errands with my family and did some pruning in the front yard. My form of procrastination – I still have a long list of tasks to accomplish – was to challenge Jacob to numerous games of Sequence. Jacob had gotten Sequence as a birthday present two years ago, and it’s one of our family’s favorite board games to play. He, of course, was up to the challenge – procrastinating and playing.
I went to bed early Sunday night, but I woke up at five in the morning on Monday. I was thinking of all the things I needed to do and all the things I could have done on Sunday. In my mind, I had squandered my “free” day. I sat up in bed after an hour of tossing and turning, and in doing so had awoken David. I told him I was upset that I hadn’t been more productive with my Sunday. His advice: Get over it. What’s done is done. He was right. I was wasting more time by crying over the proverbial spilled milk.
So I accepted that I rested on Sunday and I also accepted that it is okay to be at rest. In our conversation, I told David that a handful of friends had jokingly told me that reading our holiday e-greeting had worn them out because I had packed in so much information and had done so much. I told him that I look back on 2013 and honestly don’t know how I was able to write three blog posts a week, including conducting interviews and writing the profiles, and finish my novel on top of another busy year of work. I didn’t think I could do that now, given how tired I was feeling at the moment. David reminded me that I was getting over a cold, which had sapped my energy.
The more I thought about it as the day progressed, the more I understood that I got my cold because my immune system was shot trying to get the holiday e-greeting out before the end of the year, finishing the novel, continuing with the blogging, and working on a deadline in the month of December. I accomplished a lot but at a price. I hit a wall and fell flat on my behind. As Saturday Night Live’s Stuart Smalley would say, however, “And that’s okay.” Accepting that state of mind is something with which I struggle. Sometimes the body has to step in, scold the mind, and take over. Just to make us slow down. To rest is the first step. To be thankful for the time and ability to be at rest comes next. As I continue to catch my breath, I find myself still struggling but succumbing to gratitude. Soon enough, I’ll be on that next leg of the journey. But I need to regroup, gather my strength, regain my momentum – and do so with a smile on my face.