If my eyes aren’t burning and my butt isn’t numb, if the pain in my forearms almost disappears and my neck doesn’t ache, it feels like something’s wrong. If I have time to prepare a meal and take an hour break to eat it, it feels like something’s wrong. If I have time to gather my thoughts, or reach out to friends, or read for pleasure, then there’s really something wrong.
Or, if I can orchestrate a sleepover with Grady, including pick up and return, something’s amiss. If I have time to make a necklace, watch three movies in a row, or play hooky in Edmonton, something’s wrong.
If I have time to do my banking, get a massage, and keep medical appointments?in other words, put me first?there’s assuredly something wrong.
And, of course, by wrong I mean out of the ordinary, unusual, and foreign. we’re talking once-in-a-blue-moon territory.
But up until the last few days That’s exactly what was happening. I was the one pacing, visiting the fridge, feeling a little lost. Because, you see, I didn’t have umpteen projects on the go. I wasn’t sitting at my desk for butt-cramping hours on end. I wasn’t making and taking dozens of calls. Or writing a million e-mails, or prepping for important meetings.
I was in that limbo, black-hole state of suspended animation. I was “between projects.” Of course, there was the post-festival paperwork required to prepare a final report and to justify the grant money received. But the adrenalin pumping, crazy-making, deadline driven activity had skid to an abrupt halt. The Festival had been a success. Harvest was over. The municipal elections were over.
Stuff was happening. Just not at the frenetic pace I was used to. A bucket-list trip to New York was booked. A one-day job of assisting at a big Edmonton event was landed. The odd meeting took place. I even chaired a meeting with the Premier, for heaven’s sake.
So, in classic “watch what you pray for” irony, I didn’t quite know what to do with myself. Even though my less busy state looks hyper compared to how some people live, I couldn’t quite enjoy it. It felt like something was wrong?was missing. It seemed I should be doing something. How could I just veg out? Or take time to visit my mom? Make Thanksgiving dinner for twelve? Visit my sister in Hinton? Watch movies with Grady?
Am I an adrenalin junkie who enjoys the ?rush? of doing exciting, challenging stuff even if it affects my health? Did I miss the life lesson that says It’s enough to simply be? How do I avoid the wild swinging pendulum of extremes? Should I be saying “no” more often? Will life be easier the second year of the festival? Do I grab life with both hands while I can because there’s time to rest when I’m dead?
Great questions, these. Now I just need to focus on the answers, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.