For the first time I can recall in my higher ed career, I have an extension for my semester. (I don’t count the one from summer freshling year; I took that one to be polite to my instructor.)
See, at the start of Thanksgiving week I came down with Something — all we can affirm is that it’s Not Strep — where I had a sore throat and a fever for a week, continuing with full malaise the next week, and dragging scraps of itself into this one. The doc-in-a-box folks gave me two rounds of antibiotics, one each week, in case it was strep or something else bacterial. I felt markedly better the day after the initial double-dose of each, so I think it may have been a bacteria-that’s-not-strep… but then again, maybe not?
Yesterday, I got the provisional okay and kept on writing my paper… I figured: I’ll finish this paper today (Wednesday), finish that book and write the next paper tomorrow (Thursday), and get going on the last project Friday. The extension will mean I can do Friday’s project properly and not skimp just to toss something over the transom by 5pm, I figured. Saturday ought to see it through, I figured. Three weeks of extension will be crazy-overkill, but in for a penny, in for a pound, I figured.
This morning, the alarm went off and I thought: I don’t have to get myself anywhere until 6:30pm. I stayed in bed. I wandered out for breakfast and coffee with My Sweetie (well, he was making his lunch because he’d already finished eating), and tested a thought of gearing up…
…you can hear the wind-up-wind-down whine over where you are, can’t you?
It was as if my extension had percolated from my intellect through all the fibers of my person, which communally said: oh thank God let’s just stop.
Each semester since I matriculated, I’ve said: It’s been an intense semester, but… .
I see that I can quit qualifying that statement. I’m not—four nearly five full-time semesters in—likely to do this school-thing differently. Yes, the first half of this particular semester had an odd concatenation of due-dates that felt like piggyback contractions. Yes, in the second half I had some wonderful non-school opportunities come into play that cramped my studying style. Yes, these are, more than likely, one-offs.
And I seem to be someone who is routinely one off.
So today I’ve read for pleasure. I’ve eaten along and along all day. I’ve napped. I’ve told a dear friend (who’s also a participant in the class I’m facilitating tonight) not to worry whether she’ll be able to stack class on top of the rest of the things she’s doing today, because today’s not for pushing.
That’s what my embodied self is saying: today is not for pushing.
Tuesday I glanced at my day-planner, and my eye caught my word for 2019: FALLOW.
I don’t think I paid it good attention.
It’s odd to realize I’ve lived half my life and am nevertheless still struggling mightily with how to live a fallow time.
Or how to honor both my multifaceted self and my energy limitations, without getting sucked into a worry-vortex: “is this acedia, and should I fight it?”.
I recently ran across a comic/blog post that resonates with that last fret—it’s given me some ways to tease apart self-care so that perhaps I can, in moments like these, reassure myself about what’s a nurturing-thing or what’s a stalling-thing.
Maybe you’d like to read it? “The Unspoken Complexity of ‘Self-Care'” by Deanna Zandt
Pinning down my thoughts in my own words? Definitely a nurturing-thing. A good thing to do on a nurturing-day, while I keep giving my whole-self space to recover.
Maybe I’ll not-push tomorrow, too-?