Enough!

by Janis Patterson

I have gone into full rebellion mode. Yesterday afternoon I hadn’t gotten anywhere near my daily word count and that upset me, as I am very serious about my writing. But I couldn’t write. Actually, I was doing pretty good to breathe and sit upright. All I could do was sit at the computer, staring fixedly at the screen and moving around the puzzle pieces on my favorite jigsaw site. Usually I restrict myself to one jigsaw a day, two if The Husband is watching something on TV in which I have absolutely no interest. (For reasons I won’t go into right now my work computer is in the family room…)

Yesterday, though, I went from one puzzle to another, mindlessly putting the pieces together, all the while telling myself I’d get to work right after I finished this one… I lied. Finally I knew if I didn’t lie down I’d fall over, so I left the computer and laid down on the couch and watched a little mindless TV until it was time to get up and fix supper.

And had an epiphany. I was exhausted, pure and simple. Between the holidays, getting ready for the holidays, cleaning up for the holidays, shopping for the holidays, wrapping gifts for the holidays, baking for the holidays, holiday parties, plus some family issues, and writing my regular group blogs, starting a newsletter for the first time, doing a couple of promotional appearances and arrange more, and – oh, yes – working on my new book, all on top of regular life, including cooking, cleaning up, laundry, looking after our furbabies and keeping The Husband happy… I was forgetting something.

Me. In the rush to get everything done, I was forgetting that I am no longer a spring chicken with boundless energy and stamina. I was forgetting that if I go down, pretty much everything else goes down with me and probably won’t get done. I was forgetting that this is my life too, and while there are things that must be done, I deserve to have a little fun as well.

So – learn from my mistakes and don’t pummel yourself into the ground like I did. The things that are essential will get done. Learn to enjoy again. Take your time. Prioritize. I’m not going to freak out if the wreath doesn’t get hung or if we have sandwiches for supper two nights in a row. This selectiveness is not only good for your heart and your stamina, it is good for your soul. You will learn what is important – family, friends, the joy of the season, a good day’s work. You can’t do it all (at least for any length of time or with any quality of life) so enjoy what you can do.

Life is short – make the best of it. And, most importantly of all, be good to yourself, for you are the best gift you can give to yourself and your loved ones.

Merry Christmas! Or, if you don’t celebrate Christmas, may you have the happiest of holiday seasons.

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7 Responses to Enough!

  1. skyecaitlin says:

    Janis; thank you so much for posting this; it really gave me a lovely moment of ‘calm, peace, and serenity.” I do celebrate Christmas, and I find myself steeped in work, thinking about what to write and many other commitments; therefore, this made me stop, think and just BE.

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  2. pamelasthibodeaux says:

    Such a timely post! I’ve worked 33 hrs in the last 3 days due to Medicare Open Enrollment – EXHAUSTING… add to that the stress from home life and….

    Thanks for the reminder to take care of PAM

    Good luck and God’s blessings
    PamT

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  3. I find myself in the same situation very often and realize how important it is to walk away from the writing at times–otherwise we are overwhelmed. We are not just writers but have families to think about and responsibilities. Walks help me relax and refocus whether outdoors which I prefer in good weather or on the treadmill.

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  4. Anni Fife says:

    Janis, thanks for your kind reminder that we have to take care of ourselves if we want to be able to take care of others. I’ve been feeling much like yourself, so your post came at a perfect time. Happy holidays. Anni xx

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  5. marissoule says:

    An excellent topic, especially at this time of the year. We women seem to feel we must take on the role of superwomen. We can do it all. We MUST do it all. But as you said, if we break down, then nothing gets done. We need to prioritize and delegate. And what I’ve discovered is when I’m out of commission others (my husband, in most cases) can do some of the tasks I’ve taken on. In fact, he often finds he enjoys the work, and/or has more respect for what I do..

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  6. patyjag says:

    I agree! A timely post for many.

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  7. I identify. I have a strong work ethic and the belief I can “just push through” and complete any project. But I find lately that I’m not doing myself – or the projects – any favors by doing that. So I’m taking advantage of freezing rain here in the Pacific Northwest to slow down, read, and nibble some dark chocolate.

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