It has been months since I last wrote here about how things are going with me. Last fall, as I prepared to return to work and then slowly reintegrated, I had been concerned that I would lose sight of all the self-improvement work I had done during my time off and that I would have difficulties balancing work, family and writing. I also worried I would slowly slip back into the panicky, stressed person I was prior to what ended up being 15 months of stress leave.
So. Now that I am fully re-immersed in work life, how am I doing?
Well, at this very moment, my brain is completely drained. I have no space left to create, no energy to worry about word placement, no time to replenish what has been quickly drained. But there is hope. I was doing well – really well – up until about two weeks ago. And I know I can get back there. I just need to get my routine back, and some sense of normalcy.
And I also know that before I can write anything creative, I need to write about how I got here.
By January, I was doing so well at keeping issues at work and at home in perspective that I stopped seeing my psychologist and reporting in to my doctor. I was sleeping and eating well, running weekly, writing at least twice a week, and had a good balance between work, family and myself. And I was enjoying my job.
Things started to unravel a bit when my husband had to take a 6 week trip for work (and the injustice of it all was that he went back to Cape Town – you might remember from last year just how much I love it there!).
It’s difficult trying to do the housework and cover the family responsibilities of 2 people, while also being out of the house for most of the day. Running is always the first thing to go; there’s something to be said for staying put at lunch instead of heading out to expend energy in sub-zero temperatures. I also became a little more edgy. But I kept writing. And I figured I’d settle into the new rhythm and would relax again.
Two weeks ago, though, things got a bit crazier. My son had four big activities, four days in a row, so that was something to focus on, and my grandmother passed away. She was almost 100 and had been suffering from dementia for a number of years, so it wasn’t a huge surprise, but still, it was something to reflect on, to come to terms with. Flooded with memories of people and places long gone, I realized she had been to some extent the last anchor to the care-free aspects of my childhood.
The funeral was last week in Toronto, so I organized my work, notified my son’s school, and started packing and preparing for the 4 hour drive. In the midst of that, I had car issues and had to take the car into the dealership, garage issues which meant I had to organize a repairman, and my son had a huge cadet competition the day after the funeral, in a different town, meaning I also had to organize his uniform and prepare to leave Toronto at 6am the following morning.
Somehow, we did it all. Like clockwork.
It. Was. Just. Too. Much.
Still, here we are on the other side of it all. I feel pretty proud of myself for shepherding us through everything. And I’m proud of him for keeping up, too. He even read at the funeral – beautifully – and his cadet drill team placed second. We pulled through.
But I still don’t have the brain space to even think about creative, focused writing.
I am, however, reassured to think that I generally managed to keep things in perspective. To mostly bite my lip, pause, and avoid replying when it was better to say nothing. To focus on the positive. To be in the moment. To recognize my strengths and successes. To realize that things, overall, are going to be ok. That I am still ok.