Time on my hands
May 2, 2012
For sure, it was only a sore throat that lingered and turned into a persistent cough that started keeping me up at night. I stayed home one day only because I couldn’t talk. I don’t like anything that holds me back.
For the next two weeks, I laboured on through meetings, deadlines, writing, seemingly endless emails and what felt like a mountain of work. But with each passing day, my energy faltered; my patience grew short. My back ached from coughing and it seemed that people talked and talked and talked and said nothing.
Go to the doctor, friends said one day at lunch. You’re sick, they said, kindly not mentioning that I was grumpy, too.
I gave in. Soon, everyone would know how hard I had worked despite having what felt like pneumonia.
Darn it, I thought to myself after emerging from the doctor’s office with a prescription for three nasal sprays. No quick fix.
On the up side, he did offer to write me a note for my boss. I needed time off, he said.
When you’re sick, you have to rest, suggested the young doctor.
At home for a few days, I felt the time grow long on my idle hands. Even though I kept in touch with everyone at work, I didn’t have the energy to complete outstanding projects or catch up on other work at home.
I realized that it might be an opportunity to just wallow in time, as it were . . . to take a cue from my yoga classes and just be. Live in the moment. And think.
I listened to lots of awareness-building programming on line, as I stared out of the window at the leaf buds opening a little more each day. If you want to know anything about the Oprah Network, just ask me.
Time passed, I felt better each day and have to say that I have learned yet again: it is okay to look after myself. Interestingly, many of the strings I had to let go of got picked up by co-workers. But perhaps the most important change was: I let go of most of my responsibilties for a day or two.
Many can sympathize with having pushed oneself too hard and having to hit the wall before knowing when to stop. Stepping out of the busiest part of my world for a few days allowed me to consider how so many of us rush headlong through our days and feel that we haven’t accomplished anything if we have not filled every second of every day. Living that way doesn’t leave much room for reflection, down-time or evaluating where we are at and where we are going.
I think we will look back on these times and wonder why our pace of life was so hectic. And then we will ask ourselves this: did we accomplish those things which were valuable and fulfilling to us, to our families, to our friends and to our community?
In the weeks to come, I hope I will retain the perspective acquired by taking a few days off to rest and think.
Back on the job now, I realize I don’t have to work harder to make up for “lost time”.
Fortunately, productive days once again lie ahead of me as opportunities for accomplishment, new ideas and perhaps most important: connection with others in my community. But there I go, thinking about tomorrow, when now is really all the time we have.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012