Many moons ago, I was gainfully employed. I had an office to be found in, staff to support, clients to visit and a lot of driving to do. I was organised and cleared my desk. Gradually, the desk stuff expanded. I was spending Saturday afternoons in work just to try and keep on top of the paperwork. I was writing reports into the night. There were stacks of papers beside, behind and all around me. A blind man on a dark night could have seen what was happening, but I missed it. I was overwhelmed. I kept on going. I didn’t have time to take leave I’d booked. I got sick. I kept on going. Eventually my body decided that drastic action was required, and it ground to a halt. I woke up one day feeling like I’d been run over by a bus, and my brain replaced with cotton wool.
Years later, I’m still missing signs. After Herself died I finally went to Weight Watchers. My mind wasn’t totally occupied with her health. I had a bit of space to manage my own health. I lost about 3 stone, and I was a happy bunny.
I paced myself. I didn’t do all the things I wanted to do, but I threw myself at things with enthusiasm. I began to notice that it was taking me even longer than normal to do things, and that I was worrying away about everything. I didn’t notice that I was gaining weight again. I knew it, but it didn’t strike me as significant. The pounds added up, and now I have to pay Weight Watchers again. I have put on about 10lb. Bad words. But why? How has that happened?
I haven’t been paying attention. I’ve been overwhelmed. It’s possible to be doing too much, even when I’m only doing a fraction of what I want to. I’m like a phone that needs charging for ages before it even has the energy to show the warning red sign. I’m taking a break. Gardening leave, without the gardening. Volunteer retirement, if you will. Yes, of course, there are bits I have to finish up and things I still want to be involved in, but I’m taking a huge (hopefully temporary) step back.
Blogging has been sporadic for the last few months, and will stay that way. I may cobble together an assignment for my writing class (I’ve missed the last two; one because of the Dublin trip and one because of sleeping), then again I may not. I may spend the next month lying on the sofa watching box sets of great dramas or working my way through what’s been recorded. I have no expectations.
The volunteering and the writing class aren’t the sole causes of my brain being full, but they’re the things I can manage. Little steps.