Confession: lately when my friends with colds, the flu, or Lyme disease comment on Facebook that they are spending the day in bed with cats, television, and hot tea, I think to myself, “Oh, that sounds so nice.”
I’m tired. So tired that I am, bizarrely, jealous of my friends who are sick. And I feel guilty about feeling tired. I’m still relatively young, I don’t have children, I don’t work more than 40-45 hours a week. I should be able to find time to go to the gym, cook nice dinners, and go out and be social a couple of times a week. I should be able to keep my house cleaner. It’s not too bad, but sometimes it smells like dog, and my desk drawers are a mess. And there’s that one lightbulb in the kitchen that we’ve never gotten around to replacing. Don’t even mention the back yard.
Compared to other people in academia, I always thought I was pretty good at “taking care of myself” – I refuse to work 80 hour weeks, I don’t take work home with me, I take lots of bubble baths and insist on having time for myself on the weekends. But many weekends lately have either involved traveling, or parties, or having a visitor in our home. These are all great things, but I find myself longing for a weekend with nothing to do but sit on the couch with a bottle of wine, my spouse, a pizza, and the remote control. And I feel really lame for wanting this.
I have learned over the years that I’m happiest if I don’t go out two nights in a row—that I just start to fall apart when I’m out in the world too much, without recovery time. When I am putting out socially, or on behalf of my job, I need an almost equal amount of time to recompose myself… I imagine myself like ball of string, and going out into the world unravels the string, and then I need time to wrap the string back around the ball. Otherwise I keep unraveling and end up as just a mess of string, rather than something solid. I wish I didn’t need life recovery time or so much sleep or that I were more competent in certain areas in which I am hopelessly deficient, but it’s such a lovely relief to know and to accept these things and deal with yourself as you are.
Perhaps that’s just it. I’ve been putting more effort into my life lately – trying to do a great job at work, learning to cook new cuisines, getting involved with roller derby, having more of a social life. It’s been really great, and I do feel like my life is richer and fuller as a result. But maybe I haven’t fully acknowledged the fact that I am coming unraveled and I need time to roll the string back up.