Thursday, October 08, 2009

Just relax

You have a job (almost). The weather is perfect. In this enforced break in the action, can’t you really take a break? Relax.

Easier said than done. After two years of pushing hard to figure out the financial world as it shattered and reformed itself into unrecognizable shapes, after a year of attempting not only a new business but a new way of relating to the world of commerce, I seem to be hooked on anxiety.

Last week, I went to a movie for the first time in….well, in years. I’ve been on the treadmill every other day. Two or three, sometimes four dog walks a day. Bubble baths and reading in front of the fire. A couple of days ago, my shoulders lost their accustomed tension. I could breathe. I notice that even when I play solitaire, I play more slowly, no longer driven to top red with black with red, to strive for an outcome.

Back in the era when I had regular vacations, I went to Deer Isle for three weeks for pottery camp. What a wonderful break that was! All that was on my schedule was sitting at the kickwheel, making pots, occasionally glancing up to see whales spouting out beyond the firs on a rocky shore. Other people to share projects and meals, all cooked for us, and nightly meteor showers for our delight. And still, it took me a good two weeks to unwind. The third week was restoration.

It’s been a long time since I had a real vacation. I have had adventures and expeditions sandwiched in between work trips and, more recently, shorter breaks to enjoy a day trip to Canada or New Hampshire, or just to contemplate Vermont. There is a lot to contemplate in Vermont!

So when last week I was informed that I should expect a job offer in a week or so, to be followed by a couple weeks (or so) for background checks, my brain informed me that this was a good time for a break. It is always possible that this job offer could evaporate, but if it does, I’ll only have lost a few anxious weeks of job hunting. And I will be better for the break, of that I am sure.

Now if only I can continue to slow down my brain, tune up my muscles, and open up to a new life.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Limbo spa

Well, this is a strange turn of events. I think I have a new job, but there are hurdles. Steps to go through. It is working for the Federal government, so everything has to go to Washington for approval. I didn’t know that Washington even knew about me, much less cared, but it appears that they (whoever they are) do.

In this intervening time, I’m declaring a spa month. Lots of walks with dogs, some serious exercise every day, good food, green tea. The kids are excited, and so am I. How often do we get a chance to relax and rejuvenate while looking forward to a new life? This back-to-school time has always seemed to me like a new beginning.

It couldn’t be a more beautiful time to take a break. Foliage is peaking: great washes of color light up the horizon. All across Vermont, people are picking apples, carving pumpkins and reveling in beautiful, crisp days. Even a rainy day like yesterday appeals, as the bright colors shine through the mist.

I have some goals for this period, but one of them is to work hard at not being so goal-directed. Yesterday I drove down to the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival, almost. It seemed that as I got closer to the festival, it rained harder and harder. And I was getting tired, so when only a few miles from my goal I made a wrong turn, I surrendered and came home.

Actually, I stopped at the mall, another rare experience. For the first time in many months, I was able to buy something frivolous in the fabric store and something necessary (pantyhose and a new calendar) without worry. It is nice to contemplate a regular paycheck. I’m unlikely to go too crazy, but I did consider buying spring bulbs, a luxury that I have not been able to afford for some time. I still might do that, but not until the Federal Government makes up its Washingtonian mind whether to bring me into the fold.

Meanwhile, let’s just relax! I have to go now. There seems to be a pressing need for the morning walk to the pond.