I have been blessed to have this time off work. I was good at what I did — too good, and so I was usually the workhorse of every team I worked with. I kind of liked it that way, because I enjoy the role of “go-to girl”. I set policy, I determined workflow, I set standards. But it was exhausting and stressful, and towards the end, not terribly rewarding and completely demoralizing. So this time off has been a blessing. I am happier than I have been in years. I am feeling the coiled spring of my psyche start to relax. I am starting to feel some self-worth and fulfillment again. I am beginning to like me again.
In my 15 years on the fast track, there were so many things that I had forgotten made me so happy. It’s probably because I did not have the time or the mental “space” to enjoy and appreciate them. So I am taking moments of each day and remembering just how wonderful they can be.
I never realized how much I enjoyed silence. That was the first thing I noticed when I was off work. The silence of my house mid-day, the quiet of my neighbourhood in the morning, the wind in the trees in the conservation area behind the house, have all been delicious and calming. There’s such peace here for me. No phones ringing, no stupid people hanging over my desk, no need to talk to anyone if I don’t want to… it’s been so calming. Just now, sitting on my porch, it is quiet enough to hear the flap of a robin’s wings as it lands on the lawn 10 feet in front of me, the swish of the grass as he hops around looking for food. The only quiet more delicious than this is at the cottage, mid-week, when there’s no one around for miles.
I am also enjoying my time as a “housewife”. It is so foreign to me — my mom was dead, my dad was never home. And growing up, doing things around the house was a chore, an obligation, a punishment. Now, it’s quite different. Yes, it is still work, but it’s often joyous work. I still have routines and tasks and lists like I did when I was working, but completing these tasks and jobs are so much more fulfilling. I can enjoy the fruits of my labour, instead of handing it off to endless criticism and underappreciation. My husband gets to come home to a healthy meal instead of the eating out we did because we were too tired to cook. He can relax in the evening or on weekends, or putter around, or tackle jobs that have been sitting for months and years because we had no time or energy, knowing that the house is clean and the laundry is done and the groceries are bought for the week. My house is (for the most part) clean — with much thanks to my husband, who has tackles some pretty heavy jobs recently. I get to cook every day. I often get to bake. I garden. I paint. I take so much pleasure in a clean bathroom, dishes always done, fresh sheets on the bed. Things I never really had time or energy for before.
My morning walk has also been such a positive time for me. A few mornings a week, I drag my sorry butt out of bed, I put on my headphones and go. Sometimes BDH comes along, and sometimes I am alone. I get absorbed in the music, whatever it is, and put my legs on autopilot for an hour. I don’t think of anything, really. Thoughts come and go and it’s really relaxing. I look at gardens. I see people’s cats in windows. I enjoy breezes and smells and colours. And the workout has brought my weight down to pre-fertility treatment levels, before the drugs made me blow up like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. I have energy and feel fit (and apart from the new probable stress fracture in my foot, I hurt less than I have in awhile). I appreciate mornings again. And it helps me keep some structure in my day.
The smallest things make me happy now. I love the smell of my flowers when the breeze blows. I watch the birds play and peek out of the eavestroughs and hop around in the garden. I am writing a little bit again, trying to get that feel for words and language and turns of phrase back again. I could spend hours sitting in the back watching the deer just do their thing — which is NOT the Charleston, as Kelly would have you believe 😀 . I plant flowers in the planters on the porch while my husband works on his laptop and we enjoy the evening sun and the beautiful weather. I see rabbits in the grass in the early mornings. I read the posts of my friends online, and I marvel at their kindnesses to me in recent weeks. I listen to Kerrigan burble on about Teletubbies and blow kisses on the phone. I try a new recipe, something that ends up being really tasty. I sit and read with my husband in the evening.
I feel peace and contentment for the first time in years.