I once was lost, but now I’m found

The past few months have been trying. It seems like I’ve barely been able to breathe. Work again snowballed out of control, leaving me little to no weekend and evening free time. (They do it in such an insidiously nice, cheerful way that you don’t even notice until you’re overloaded and in the middle of the vortex.)  My art-a-day project died sometime around Halloween. My writing project for NANO crapped out after about 3 days. My mom seems to be showing her age. A friend was here from out of town for two weeks and I didn’t even get to see him. My dog died. Two weeks later my cat died. And it was starting to feel like everyone in my work and home life wanted something from me and like I’d never get five minutes of time alone. I lost 10 pounds on accident, not because I was dieting but because I was so stressed I wasn’t eating. Last Saturday I had a full blown meltdown after spending nine hours working on my first day of “vacation”. I was so overwhelmed, I swear I would have called and quit my job on the spot had it not been the weekend. Only the fact that there was nobody around to tell saved me from unemployment. It wasn’t pretty, but a person can only keep it together for so long.

It was at that point that I decided that I was taking vacation the way it’s supposed to be taken and cutting work off. No checking email, no worrying about what would or wouldn’t get done if I wasn’t working on it, only worrying about myself, my friends, my family, my pets (whom I probably don’t need to list seperately, since I consider them family anyway). Frankly, it was the best decision of my recent life and one I hope I will remember next time I feel compelled to work overtime.

After almost a week off, I realize how short tempered, resentful and not at all fun I’ve been. I haven’t even liked myself and heaven knows I haven’t been having a lot of fun either. I know that it is all part of life’s cycles, but sometimes life just weighs heavily. I KNOW that I shouldn’t let work overtake my being. I KNOW that people get old. I KNOW that no matter how much I love them, all things that live eventually die. I KNOW that I don’t need to be perfect. I KNOW balance is important. But…

Sometimes no matter how much we KNOW, we still get lost.

After some time away, things feel better. I feel more myself.  I am almost afraid to go back to work on Monday, so I don’t get lost again. I worry that my focus on what is really important will blur, especially as we move into the holiday season. I have such mixed feelings about the holidays. I love the music (especially the music!), decorations, food and friends, but always feel a little bit of lack at this time of year too, because I don’t have the kind of traditional family I’m “supposed” to have. Most of the time, I feel like my self-created family is better than just being stuck with the blood ones genetics gives us, but there are times when that difference is difficult too. 

Still, I’m trying. I am trying to be thankful for the many many things I have for which to be thankful and I’m trying to create more of those things in my life. I guess on this day after Thanksgiving that in addition to being thankful for the great family-friends I have, I am thankful that even if I forget it sometimes, I DO have the capacity to change things and shape my life into what I want it to be.

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