Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Finding My Equilibrium

Lately I have been tempted to start avoiding people I know. Instead of a friendly wave or a chat with an acquaintance, I can just picture myself ducking behind pool toy displays and darting around corners in the local Wal-Mart. My reason for this crazy longing? Everyone I know keeps asking me, "So what are you doing with yourself this summer?"

Picture me scratching my head. What have I been doing this summer? Hmmm. Um.... Nothing?

I do know that the question I dread is not pointed, nor does it carry expectations with it. People are just making conversation. The problem is me. I'll explain with an email I wrote this afternoon. This is what I said,

I can relate to your "returning to equilibrium." That is how I've felt this summer. On the one hand, I struggle with feeling guilty for squandering all this precious, precious time I've been given this summer. Every day I have a niggling feeling at the back of my mind that I should be DOING something - accomplishing something. But, my more protective inner-self rears up and yells, "Back off! She needs a break!"

I know we all feel this way at times. Overwhelmed. Exhausted. Frustrated. Not yourself. That's how I felt at the end of the school year. Tired. So very tired. I love teaching. I really do. But, to do it well takes a lot of time, a lot of passion, a huge commitment not only of energy, but of heart. By June, I was just plain beat.

I'm better now. I feel refreshed. Energized. Excited. Myself.

Here's why:

This summer, I've been

cloud watching
taking family walks after dinner
waiting anxiously for the tomatoes to grow
enjoying weekly girl-friend dates

crafting with Sloane

visiting our home away from home

doing lots of movie watching

playing with my new toy

treasuring a special treat from Jeffrey

Oh what a summer!

My plan this week is to remember that taking care of myself is not wasting time. I am trying to remember that every day does not have to end with a completed to do list in order to have been a productive day. I am really trying to remember that every day doesn't need to be productive; it just needs to be lived.

So now I have my answer to the dreaded question. And, I am going to share it with you. Play along, won't you?

"Hi, Relyn. How are you? What have you been up to this summer?"

"Hi, __________. It's good to see you. What have I been doing this summer? Well, I've been taking care of myself. I've been reading, writing, blogging, and just being. I've been enjoying my family and my friends. And, I plan to travel a little before it's over. I've had a terrific summer. What about you? Tell me about your summer."

Much better.

What about you? How are you taking care of yourself this summer?


One Crabapple said...

oh my gosh. It sounds like you have been doing exactly what you are SUPPOSED to be doing ! You are a T E A C H E R ! you have Summer Vacay for a Reason. I dont think you need explain yourself to anyone. You earned every lovely minute of taking good care of yourself and doing what you want and need to do to nourish yourself. Oh the fall/winter ( I hate to remind you!) and all that hurry work work work - will be here soon enough. The wonderful time you gave yourself and the things you learned will be the very energy that gets you through !

I say !


Just keep relaxing and following your nose

Love, s.

tangobaby said...

Good for you, Relyn. If you don't take care of yourself, who is going to?

I'm glad you're taking a break. That's what summer vacations are for!

patti said...

Oh my gosh! After reading your post I feel sooo much better! I, too, am a teacher and excitedly look forward to the summer thinking I will get so much accomplished. But here it is the middle of July with a little more than a month left of my freedom and I am feeling very guilty about everything I have NOT done. You made me take stock of and reflect on all the good things I HAVE done and realize it's ok sometimes to sit and daydream, cloud watch, and savor the fact that I have the time to do so!

Laura said...

Okay, first of all some whining from me, I don't feel like I have a summer per se. I work all year round, so there is really never a time when I have the time to really unwind (except for weekends and trips to see my Dad)......so that is why every Sunday is like a summer day to me...

On Sundays, I just am...I read, I nap, hang with husband or friends, and lately I have decided NOT to feel guilty about it anymore. I am a low energy person. I need lots of downtime. I need to recharge my batteries. I do not like a ton of social interaction and that is why I need my Sundays to just be.

So I think your summer of low key activity is JUST FINE! Very necessary for the sake of sanity and well-being!

So, ENJOY!!!

p.s. I like the picture of your library. It looks like a big good library!

Jaime said...

Wow...I could have written these very same words. And as each day in July drifts by, I get a little more comfortable with all of this wide open space.
I love how you worded this...
Every day doesn't need to be productive, it just needs to be lived.
So here's to living...relaxing, resting, spending time in solitude, reading, etc...self care...it's a beautiful thing.

robin-bird said...

you could have a pocket full of postcards using these very awesome pictures you have captured and hand them out to the people you meet in person. it is a wonderful visual journey of your well earned, well used summertime moments :)

Beth said...

OMG....how did I completely miss this post of yours??? and how it sooooo fits with the one I just wrote today....

I think we need to get together and do nothing and then do a happy dance to celebrate that we're doing nothing, just to show everyone how proud we are of ourselves !!!

Summer is for nothing....no schedules, no time issues, sleeping whenever....ah yes, that is summer to me!!!

And so far your summmer looks absolutely perfect to me !!!!

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