The Allure of Doing Absolutely Nothing
Last Saturday, Labor Day weekend, I sprained my ankle. I somehow missed the last step of the basement stairs, moving too quickly, and my ankle didn't appreciate it. It so happened that I was supposed to take the kids most of the day Saturday and Sunday so that Boris could finish the tiling in the kitchen and maybe even paint it. Instead, I ended up at urgent care and walked out with an aircast and doctor's orders to stay completely off my foot for the next two days and on it as little as possible for the next ten. Given my propensity for making and crossing things off my to-do lists, this kink in our plans did not sit well with me.
While I did some basic parenting and cooking on Saturday and Sunday, Boris took the lion's share of managing the kids and even got them out of the house for several hours a day so I could rest. This meant lots of Netflix binging and eating potato chips. In some ways, I was living the fantasy of every mother or father of young kids, who just wants 24 hours of freedom from "adulting." In another way though, it felt a lot like when you wish the flu upon yourself to lose 5 lbs but then actually get the flu and realize how awful it is. The worst part for me though, is that it wouldn't just be two days of rest, it was a prescription for at least a month of moving more slowly and doing less - and that felt like some type of death sentence.
I'm not sure how many other people feel this way, but every time I really slow down, be it from sickness, fatigue or just being kind to myself, there is a part of me that worries I may never get back to my ultra-productive, multi-tasking ways. Maybe its because part of me enjoys lounging on the couch and eating junk food a little too much, but maybe its because when I'm given time to really contemplate all that needs to be done in my life to have it the way I'd like it (or how I think I'd like it) I am completely overwhelmed by the enormity of that to do list. In some ways, working prevented me from looking at that list, basically ever, because anyone can tell you, managing a demanding career and parenting two small children, not to mention trying to keep a marriage together, leaves very little time for contemplation of what you really want your life to look like. You're just trying to keep your head above water and not drop the ball.
But I have chosen to step back from my career for a moment (or longer) and we have chosen to move to a place where we hope we can check off a few of the things on that "ideal life" to do list. The rest of that list, if up to me though. I can stop wearing my aircast full-time tomorrow, which means it's time for me to hoist myself off the couch and start checking things off one by one.