Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Time. And Space.


And space.

That is what I have given myself this past month.

Time to spin.  Time to knit.  Time to read.  Time to sketch.  Time to catch up on movies.  Time to walk around and stare up at the trees.  Time to do nothing.

And space?  I've been a little more reclusive that usual lately.  I have stayed home instead of gallivanting around town.  I have retreated to my garden when family is home.  I have been lax about answering emails--even those from friends.  I have hermitted.

And you know what?  It felt GREAT!

I had no idea how overwhelmed I had become with all the going and the doing and the people and the emails and the Twitter.  I thought I was living the dream.  A busy career, and active family life, a big circle of friends and acquaintances.  And I was right, to a certain extent.  It was really good.

But I had no idea how much time and energy all of that was taking away from me until I walked away from it.  Don't get me wrong.  I wasn't miserable.  Oh, I was getting a little testy.  I was letting little things stress me out.  I wasn't sleeping.  But I didn't feel that bad.   Really.  I was loving it.

Truth be told, at first, I found it stressful to be doing "nothing".  I was constantly leaping up with the feeling that I should be doing Something Important.  I felt anxious and fidgety.  So I made myself sit.  I set knitting targets:  "You can't do anything else until you knit 6 rows of lace."  I would not allow myself to go to the grocery store until I had filled a bobbin with singles.  I learned to sit and be quiet.

I spent three weeks thinking that way, and I found that I could sit and do nothing.  I could feel "busy" when all I was doing was spinning.  I found a pace that worked for me.  A balance.

Now, I am starting to ease myself back into being busy.  This week is the deadline for Fibre Week proposals and I'm checking the emails--and answering them!-- three or four times a day.  I invited a friend over for dinner.  I am going out for lunch with my daughter.  I am getting out of my pyjamas before 3:00.  But I am also saying no.  And taking time, every day, to do small, quiet things that make me happy.

And now I see why I had to stop and rest for a bit.  I was am a stress junkie.  I like to have too many things going on at once.  I like to be the one running around doing ALL the things.  It makes me feel good to solve all the world's problems, then go home and cook a gourmet meal while answering emails and knitting a little bit of lace.  I feel powerful and capable when I do those things.

Not so much when I was sitting, alone, in my garden, making up a mitten pattern.

And WHY NOT?  Making up a knitting pattern is a good thing.  It's something that not just anybody can do.  I am still powerful and capable.  But it didn't feel the same.  The rush wasn't there.

That's when I realized that I had a problem.  Like a heroin addict,  I had started out with the thrill of a small dose of stress--a gram of paperwork here, a gram of travel there, a spoonful of committee.  But after a while, the thrill got harder to find, so I needed larger fixes to feed my habit.  I had to add a couple of grams of curriculum review,  then a spoonful of article writing, and a couple of big parties.   And another four grams of travel.  And pretty soon, that wasn't even enough to get me high.

So I quit.  Cold Turkey.

Now here I sit.  I have survived the withdrawal, and I can look back and see where I was.  And how far I have come.  I can find a thrill in answering one or two emails.  I feel like I have Accomplished Big Things when I get 6 rows of lace knit in an afternoon.  I'm happy with making hot dogs for dinner while I listen to my husband talk about his day.  I feel powerful and capable, without the constant go-go-go.  I'm good.

For now.


  1. Anonymous6:03 PM

    I am glad you know where you are in life!! Sooooo many people do not. I hope you can find the centre spot and be happy there! You are truly a gifted artist and a wonderful person!! Take care of your self and the rest will follow!!

  2. I agree with Anonymous! You need to learn to pace yourself better and find your proper balance. It gets more important the older one gets, let me tell you from experience! My DH retired recently and we're still working on the New Normal.