Down Time

Semi (Photo credit: justus.thane)

There are days when you can feel it barreling down the highway from behind, like a Mack truck loaded down, an unstoppable force just waiting to flatten you.

That’s how I was feeling last week. Don’t get me wrong; many good things happened last week. I got started querying my novel. I had a flash story published. My new flute collection came out and one of my friends spent the whole week selling it for me locally, because she’s just an awesome person. Christian and I were able to go into both Julianna’s and Alex’s schools to talk about Down syndrome–something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time.

And yet I could feel it coming up behind me, that sense of being overwhelmed, stretched too thin, my nerves drawn so tight they vibrated with every late-afternoon bicker and witching-hour whine.


I’ve been up early and up late a lot lately, wringing every productive moment out of the day. But it’s more than that. I was up early and up late every single day we were in Colorado this summer, and yet I felt energized and alive, awake. Spending the days outside makes you physically tired, but spiritually filled. By contrast, I’ve spent the last several weeks in the car criscrossing town, behind a computer screen, cleaning and cooking and doing all those necessary things that suck the spirit dry, like undergoing a long and futile search for a lost library book.

Then Christian home Thursday evening feeling achy, and I realized burnout wasn’t the only Mack truck barreling down on me. I recognized the faint itchy ache in the junction of my ears and my throat, the general physical sense of being run down. The virus was coming.

Christian spent the evening sitting on the couch with his robe wrapped around him and his fedora on his head for warmth. (He says that’s because Michael put it there, but he left it on until bedtime.) And so I decided to take a couple days off and recharge.

I’ve been pushing hard lately, not because I’m on top of deadlines but because I’m not, and I have the opportunity to work on other projects that have been patiently waiting for attention. But work was beginning to feel like a chore instead of a privilege–draining instead of energizing. And adding things to my “done” list wasn’t energizing me as it usually does.

So Friday afternoon I laid down with Nicholas and amazingly, we both dozed off. Then I went downstairs and turned on Netflix, and spent a relaxing afternoon scrapbooking and watching Mansfield Park and Roman Holiday. Saturday afternoon, when Christian took the three older kids to the basketball game and Michael was napping peacefully, I did it again. It felt a little surreal to spend that much time just relaxing…surreal and luxurious.

And Sunday we had a date: Thor, dinner, and Christmas shopping. One of those three inspired another blog post. You’ll have to wait till tomorrow to see which. 🙂

fire (Photo credit: matthewvenn)

So now, on the cusp of another week–a holiday week, no less–I feel refreshed. Ready to rumble. And it’s a good thing, because the schedule’s already full-up. Nose back to the grindstone.