I wake in the morning and normally I would, within seconds, be assessing whether it was a work day, who was going where, what I had in my schedule. Every decision would stem from that; how much time I had to do any given thing. I see now how time-obsessed I have been for so many years. Not unlike many, many women, I have worked since the day I finished University until now, punctuated only by two episodes of maternity leave, both lasting 8 months. Looking back, of course the time I was not working when I had my babies could hardly be described as 'not working'. Those early months were amongst the hardest work ever!
|via sailboats and seersucker|
Yet - my mind is not still or passive with the relief of not working for a while. Not working is almost not natural to me. It's all I have ever done and I find my mind wandering to what my colleagues are doing, who is doing my work, what projects are slipping, what decisions are faltering. Then of course I remind myself that life goes on in the corporate world and not for one second would I presume that they can't live without me, be it temporarily or permanently.
This leads me as well to the working mother vs stay at home mother conundrum. I feel like I can now look at both sides. Much like childbirth, which I experienced on one occasion with all the drugs and on the other with none. I can honestly say neither was better or worse, the experiences were just different. I see now how attached I have been for so long to the working mother crusade, as if I single-handedly had to champion the fact that women can work and be good mothers. I find this fascinating now that I can see it more objectively.
All the advice I have had to slow down in recent weeks does ring true now and I see that I was going too fast; dare I say dangerously so. My body and the pain I have been feeling (read: trying to ignore for over a year) have been telling me; it's time to stop. I spend my days now just trying to 'be' and when I write that, I really mean it this time. I have purported to just 'be' before on this blog, and I see that I was tricking myself in the belief that I was. Now - this time - is different.
I am left with the unnerving realisation that the pain is linked to the life I have been leading; in some way the stress and honestly, I had never thought of this, but the ergonomics of how I live have contributed to all of my muscles just seizing up. I try now to notice that my shoulders are hunched all of the time. I consciously have to drop them when I sit typing this or when I drive the kids to school. The tension is gradually seeping away but my goodness it's a slow progress. I tell myself: it took years to get this way, it won't stop in 4 weeks.
I don't really know what tomorrow holds, let alone the future. It is completely alien to me to be in this sort of free-fall; decisions unmade, life choices unknown. But isn't that the thing with well being? You can't rush it...
|...dawn in the Isle of Wight...taken by my husband on his iphone...|