Take Time Off? But I Gotta Get Sh!T Done!

Photo by Gratisography from Pexels

Today, as I’m putting these words on this page, is a provincial holiday. It’s Family Day, which sounds like a made-up holiday. Aren’t all holidays made up? Sure, but this one feels like an arbitrary day off. It was thrown in to bridge the gap between Christmas and whatever comes next. Spring break? Is that it? Christmas, New Years’, Family day and then? Uh, sure, let’s go with spring. 

Most people know when the next holiday is scheduled, and I used to know that information too. When I worked a “normal” job, and the only thing I had to look forward to was a day off? You bet I had those days marked off on the calendar and a dozen reminders set to go off with an obnoxious alarm. Oh, I love a good countdown. 

Now? I work from home, and I set my own schedule. Also, there’s this pesky pandemic, and I have an immune system that’s pretty useless. I’m at home, stuck inside my safety bubble, for an inordinate amount of time, doing whatever I can to fill the days with something the resembles meaning or purpose.

Holidays? Days off? They’re meaningless when you don’t work for a big corporation that has to abide by labour laws. Those pesky rules and regulations! I’m picturing a cartoon duck going off on some union rep. He’s foaming at the beak. Sweat flying off of his feathers. He’s trying to look menacing, but who can take a duck in a suit seriously? No one, that’s who.

Why I outta…

I’m all by my lonesome, so taking a day off for a made-up holiday? Buddy, I’ve gotta get shit done or else, uh, it won’t get done. That sounds lame! I was going for dramatic, I had a strong musical score rolling through my brain, but it fizzled. It sounds more like wah-wah than a pow-bang-pop. But it’s true! If I don’t do things, they don’t get done, and I can’t just sit here, doing nothing.

We’ve already talked about this! I’m a complete failure at the whole rest and relax thingy. Can’t do it. Nope. Uh uh, it makes me itchy.

Besides, if I don’t do it now, I’m setting myself up for a panic tomorrow. I don’t want to panic, but now that I’ve written panic twice, three times, I’m actually starting to panic. That makes it four.

Wow, I just whipped myself up into a frenzy over what? This random, meaningless holiday? I suppose, if I had a family, then this would be a lovely day. We could take time away from the grind and spend the day together. Enjoy all of the small moments and make some memories. You know, paint our own Orwellian portraits on stones we found on a hike or whatever.

That was a tad bit cynical. You okay?

No, it’s just me sitting in front of a computer, trying to put words on a page. I’m trying to say something meaningful and helpful. If it’s uplifting then, yay, even better. If you read my words and feel inspired? Well, aren’t you sweet, kind, and totally amazing? Bless you and everyone you care about.

But that’s not going to happen today, and it’s not because it’s a random holiday. I’m in a mood that’s slightly dark and twisted. Never fear, I’m not in a full-blown spiral. I’m restless and off-kilter. I could throw in a dash of bitter disappointment for a little more flavour, but that might be too salty. Nah, let’s just give it a stir and let it simmer for a while. Who knows, maybe the concoction will blend, and it’ll turn out to be a balanced meal.

I should probably eat breakfast before I sit down to write. Snack break!

Now that I have a cuppa tea balanced precariously on the armrest, perhaps these words will come out of hiding. Or, I could close my computer and embrace this random holiday. We all need rest, don’t we? A day, week, month…I really want to say a year, but that would be way too long and wildly inappropriate. Right? Unless you’re recovering from a major life hit, and that’s how long it takes to heal.

When I had my kidney transplant, the doctors told me that it would take a year to recover, and I thought they were out of their minds. I felt amazing, like I could leap over mountains and lift buildings with my pinky finger. A year? Ha! There was no way it was going to take me that long. 

Except, I should’ve taken the time to recover.

I pushed myself too hard, too fast because I just wanted my life back. I tried to go back to my “normal” job after a few months of recovery, but that bombed. Seriously, just shattered my work life into a million pieces because I wanted my normal back. In the end, I had to step back and eventually, I had to hand in my resignation.

Physically, I forced my body to do things it wasn’t ready to do, and I nearly broke myself. It’s not the surgery that’s the problem. A transplant is a major operation, don’t get me wrong, but the recovery time is about six weeks. The incision closes, the stitches come out, and there you go. Surgically, you’re all good.

What I forgot to take into account? I’d spent a few years fighting to stay alive, while toxic waste ate away at my body. Waste that’s usually removed by the kidneys but mine were gone, and dialysis never really worked for me. All of this takes a tremendous toll on the body. I had no muscle mass to speak of, and my stamina was non-existent. I couldn’t walk up a couple of stairs without stopping to catch my breath. I felt strong, but when I went for a walk or tried to work out? I just fell apart.

My body needed time to heal, create new muscles, and get used to functioning with a working kidney. It took time to get the toxins out that had accumulated over the years of illness. It took time for my body to fix the damage left behind. It took time to recover.

Oh, and then there’s the mental recovery, and that’s a whole other mess. I’ve talked about it before so, I’ll spare you the repeat, but it’s the part of the recovery process that takes the longest. It’s also the part that few people talk about. That year the doctors mentioned? That was the physical recovery time. There’s no timeline for the mental recovery. That takes as long as it takes, and hopefully, you have access to good help.

So, yeah, if you need a year to recovery and rest? I can’t argue with that, and you need to take time for yourself. Me? I’m having a hard time taking one day off. A few hours seems like a waste of time. Oh, the guilt and the loud internal criticism. Words like lazy, pathetic, and my personal favourite, you’ll never get anywhere if you stop now. I keep pushing myself to do more. Now, I’m sitting here writing whatever nonsense this is because, heaven forbid, I take a breath.

A couple of days ago, a friend reminded me that the Family Day holiday was coming up, and she told me to take the day off. I can’t do that! Take a day? If I don’t show up, shit won’t get done. How will I ever achieve my goals if I don’t get shit done? I can’t. Impossible! Oh, there’s the panic again.

Now, I’m wondering if I should heed the advice and take a few days off. Would it kill me if I didn’t post this week? Nope, not at all, and I’m sure it will be more than okay. And I’ve been feeling depleted lately. I’m running out of stamina, inspiration, motivation, and words.

What do you do when you feel like your tank is running on empty, but you can’t bring yourself to pull over? There’s a gas station just up ahead, and they have a lovely rest area. You can get out, stretch your legs, and get some snacks. Hey, take a picture with the world’s largest ball of yarn! 

If you’re anything like me, you drive on past and white knuckle it. I know, that’s an incredibly healthy thing to do. Exercise, eat right, get enough sleep, and force yourself to keep going even though every cell in your body is crying. That’s the secret to a long life, that is.

Please tell me you picked up on the sarcasm. I’d hate for anyone to think that I’m seriously advocating such a self-destructive lifestyle. I’m saying that I need to make a change, or I’m going to end up stranded on the side of the road, in the middle of the desert, wishing I’d taken that selfie with a giant ball of yarn.

But then the voice in the back of my head screams, you’ve got shit to do, and now I feel like crying, or screaming or taking my friend’s advice, and taking a day off. Maybe I should even take a week? Could I manage one whole week of rest, not writing a word, and focusing on refilling my tank?

Hard work and perseverance are the keys to success, or so I’ve heard. But no one ever tells you what to do when brain fog rolls in, and your motivation takes a nosedive. These days will happen to all of us at some point. They seem to be happening to me a lot lately. Do I know why? If I were to guess, I’d say it’s the lack of human connection, the stress of the pandemic, and the inability to leave my safety bubble. 

This is my one outlet to the world, and I don’t want to let it go or let anyone down. But I need to find a way to balance this out with something else, or I’ll lose my passion. I love writing and finding new words. Nothing makes me happier than coming up with a really decent alliteration. But when the thing that makes you so happy makes you want to cry?

Maybe it is time to take a break and get my head together, refill my tank, and find my inspiration again. I just don’t feel it right now. I’m clogged. Stuck. Numb to a process that’s usually fuelled by an uncontrollable need to connect. 

I don’t know what to do , and I’m taking suggestions. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller. Bueller. Oo, I love the sound of crickets. 

If I don’t post for a bit, then you’ll know why. I need some time to recenter myself and rediscover my inspiration again. It’s out there somewhere. I know it is. I just have to figure out a safe way to go and find it.

But I will be back! Probably sooner than I should because I just can’t help myself.


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