Tuesday, January 04, 2005

That Other Resolution

I nearly forgot that I made a resolution in November to try to slow down and not schedule every waking minute of my life in this new year. Today is Tuesday, January 4. My husband is at work. The kids just left for school. The dog and the cat are snoozing and I have a day off. That's a good start! I had a few hours of banked OT left so I decided to postpone my return to work by one day.

So here I am thinking about how well I've been doing with this resolution to de-celerate...

November and December were mostly very busy. I did find some quiet moments, and I didn't volunteer for anything extra, and I let the housework go for the most part. Usually work tapers off in the late fall, but it didn't. So this season felt even busier than usual. However, I had zero sick days and very few moments of actual panic about getting things done. That's a good sign. I wonder if my exercising is helping. I know it gives me energy and clarity.

Winter break was an excellent time to practise slowing down. I am proud to say that I did very little on my two-week break. In fact, I neglected to do the major things that I had planned during this time. I had intended to help my son paint his bedroom, and to get rid of his old bunkbed and replace it something more suitable for a teenage boy. The bed's bought, but still in the box, and we didn't paint after all. About the first day of vacation, he told me, "I think a colour change will be too stressful for me right now. Can we do it during the summer?" He even decided not to switch beds, wanting to keep things just as they are. I respect his choice, and not just because it excused me from a lot of work. He has successfully made the transition from middle to secondary school this fall, joined a couple of new activities at school and kept his grades high enough for the first half of the semester to qualify for the honour roll. This has taken a lot of energy and concentration. I think he's smart to insist on a break from change over the holiday, even if it's just a change from Grizzly to Canuck blue and from a red metal bunkbed to a sleek IKEA double bed with beechwood frame.

The first thought I had after accepting his choice was, "Okay, I can paint the entryway instead." (It's in sad shape, having last been painted about 10 years ago.) Then I took a breath and said, "Or may I can not paint anything." Hmmmm that felt okay.

I also planned to read a lot of books over the holiday. Instead I listened to music and read newspaper and magazines. Okay. I did read half a volume of short stories and I finished Stephen King's On Writing. But the pile of good stuff I got from the library is ready to go back, unread.

I worked on two poems and one short story. Both are at the "hide the thing in a drawer for a while and look at it in a couple of weeks" stage, so I've set them down for a while.

I did not bake Christmas cookies of any kind, except for 16 shortbread cookies made from frozen pucks of dough bought for a drama school fundraiser.

I decorated and undecorated for Christmas, but I did not clean my side of the bedroom, nor did I wade in and help the kids clean up their rooms.

I walked miles and worked out at the gym in the mornings, but I took a break from weightlifting.

I did not bottle the wine that I made in November. It can age in the carboy until I'm ready. I did drink wine and sit on the couch and look at the Christmas tree and talk with my husband and children.

We ate the last jar of pickled garlic. I did not make some more. Life will go on.

I wrote Christmas letters on December 31. I haven't mailed them yet.

I have not gone to any "Boxing Week Sales." I have gone to the video store once, and to once to Extra Foods, but no shopping otherwise.

I have watched little tv, except for some DVDs. I have listened to the radio, and to CDs.

I did not floss.

I did not type minutes for the Poetry House meeting that I did not attend in December.

I have not made my Sunday School lesson plan for the classes that I will begin to teach this weekend.

I have cooked really nice, but easy suppers for the family pretty much every night.

Tomorrow at work I will hit the ground running, with back-to-back meetings from 9am-3:30pm. My first step to less push-push in my life will be to come home at 5:30. I know that means I will leave phone messages and emails (from today and from Wednesday) unanswered. I know that means I will have a stack of work on Thursday. Life will go on. I will hang onto this feeling of "stop is okay" as best I can in the weeks to come.

Question: Is working hard to do less a contradiction in terms?

mompoet - rehearsing neutral

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