There have been times this year when I have felt overwhelmed. Not that I have broadcast it. Even typing it here makes me feel skittish. Admitting that I am less than supremely in control is terrifying, all that trying to be perfect takes its toll on a girl, sets your teeth right on edge.
But I’ve recognised the signs – skating rink thinking, soggy bottom memory, sensitive teeth. Not to mention the unending battle with my sinsues: “They’ve replaced the pneumonia episodes of old”, pointed out camparigirl tartly…“Hmm …I wonder why that is?” She knows perfectly well ….
That there have been days, weeks when I have gone to bed berating myself for “Not getting everything done”. The two lists – work and home (with one either side of the week in view page in my diary), never seemed to get shorter. I would plan things and they would derail. Some of it was through trying to make up extra income. Some of it was trying to whack too many hippos. The rest just was … life.
The year never fell into a rhythm, things were coming at me from all sides and I spent most of it catching wide balls. I haven’t had a holiday for a few years…. the kind where I head off for a few weeks and hang out with myself. Getting a groove going that suited me completely and not having to deliver a damn thing to anyone else. Or even speak if I didn’t want to. As a result I am ridiculously excited about the festive break, far more than I can remember having been for, god I don’t know, decades probably. And it’s not like I am doing anything special. Only I am. The idea of heading to a village, a house, a garden, a pool with people I like a lot is thrilling. Not because we are going to race around and do a million things – but because we aren’t.
I was thinking about all this as I was walking Jack today. Wondering what I had learned this year. A friend has challenged me to try ‘an affirmation a day for a month’ (I have raised an eyebrow or two at her over this the past – I think one had to do more than just believe that something will come to pass) … and today’s was: “I am ready for change”. The idea is to repeat the phrase, like a mantra, as you go through the day – and the walk was ideal. “Do’t resist the thought”, she wrote to me: “it doesn’t happen until the resistance is gone”.
The truth though I didn’t tell her as much, is I am not ready for change right now. I want samey same, I want familiar. I want calm and set. I want to go back to yoga. I want to create working times that are fixed, but gently flexible. I want to get organised, know where everything is. Look for things that are lost. Fix up the house. Make slow plans and supper and bread. That’s the change I am ready for.
I realised Jack wasn’t at my side and turned to find him sitting under a tree a half a block back. It has been incredibly hot and still. And he was battling. So my dog had oriented himself nose first into slight breeze, ears up and aerating, tongue out, panting to cool himself. He watched as I came back for him, then lay down. We weren’t going anywhere until he had gathered himself. He knew what he needed and he was going to make sure he got it.
As I sat in the shade watching him, I realised that I’ve learned to take the long view. Not to try and do everything that’s on the list. Not to push and rush and force. Not to get overheated. But rather to let things play out and deal with them when they’re due. When they’re ready. Jack nudged me with his wet-again nose. He was refreshed, chilled and ready to move on. And you know what, I am too.