My hormones get blamed for pretty much anything that is not right with me these days: irritability, low energy or a bad mood are, in my unfair mind, all by products of peri-menopause. A couple of week-ends ago I was lying on the couch, unable to summon any of my muscles to put me upright, and wondering what could have caused such tiredness – then I mentally reviewed everything I had done over the previous three weeks, relentlessly, and my friend Luisa, who happened to call in the middle of my inventory, reminded me that, in the midst of everything else, I had also decided it was time to reorganize the pantry.
I conceded defeat. The pantry project was indeed unnecessary; I was not expecting a surprise visit by the pantry police which, in any case, would have been hard pressed to find expired food or chipped plates. I do this to myself as a lifelong habit of constantly keeping busy, establishing goals and losing track of what is really important. I will be sitting on the couch, reading a book and I will suddenly notice that the slipcover needs washing so I will get up and do it. And on and on, compounded with work, family responsibilities and the remnants of a social life, it all adds up to too much.
This is a problem entirely of my own doing. A few days ago I wrote about the perils of multitasking – it’s not as if I haven’t lived with myself for over 50 years and haven’t previously analyzed my penchant for over-organization or unattainable perfection. But what I have found of late is that it becomes harder to be selfish as we get older. As our life priorities change, and our world becomes less egocentric, my tendency to keep on running, doing or giving of myself, no matter in which area, has increased exponentially.
The upside is that my body is not able to run on fumes, cereal bowls or love, the way it used to and, on occasion, it intimates me to stop. And I have grown wise enough to listen. Which is how I started what I have come to call the “Me Project”: there will be time set aside every week, once a week, for something to do entirely with me, something that gives me pleasure and that is utterly purposeless. And selfish. And it will happen even it means rearranging or canceling an obligation.
Last week I met with my friend Kim, in front of coffee and a slice of pie (at 4 pm! before dinner!) to kvetch about books, writing, husbands and travel. This week I am taking myself to an art outing, and I really haven’t planned anything further because planning is counter to the point of the exercise. I am interested to see how long it takes me to come up with excuses of why I should be doing something else, and how I will deal with it.
Essentially, I am trying to recreate that feeling of disappearing from view for a little why that is so easily achieved as a child, or in college, before real life takes over – although, that happens to be real life too, enjoyed in smaller chunks perhaps, but not to be obliterated altogether. It’s never to late to reclaim our personal rabbit hole.
Photo C&S – Image of Alice down the rabbit hole found on a photo tag site with no attribution