I am exhausted.
I most definitely should not be: I’m sleeping literally more than I ever have, and doing oh my god, so much less – on the work side, at least; the parenting side is obviously, ah…intense. But even on the days when Kendrick has the kids, it’s like I can barely keep my eyes open. I sleep for 10 hours, at least. Nap for two hours, at least. A walk around the block feels like the equivalent of running a marathon: I cannot do it, which is fine, because I also do not want to do it.
Lest all this sound like perhaps somebody has come down with a case of The Depressions, though: I really don’t think so. I’m anxious about money and the health of my family and, you know, THE STATE OF THE WORLD, for sure. But I’m also smiling more easily, and more often.
I am someone who has spent half a lifetime struggling with crippling anxiety, and yet somehow, in the middle of all this chaos, I’ve found myself living in a more peaceful place than ever before. I have never taken the time to sit down with my son to play MarioKart in the middle of the day, just because. I’ve never Facetimed with my parents each morning when I wake up, and let myself stay on for as long as we all want to. I’ve never let myself lounge in bed on a Monday, reading a book, because the emails can wait. I’ve never played classical music from the moment I open my eyes until the moment they close, or made a fancy meal just for myself, then eaten it slowly.
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I’m not sure what happened, because it’s not that I *stopped caring* about the hustle to which I’ve become accustomed, exactly – although that feels uncomfortably close to the truth. It’s just that the answer to all the questions that are always (and I do mean always) running through my head has turned out to be, “Eh.”
If you miss a day of posting, you’ll lose readers! (Maybe, probably not, either way: Eh.) If you skip a day of working on your book, you’ll miss your deadline! (Maybe, probably not, either way: Eh.) If you stop generating concepts and following leads and going going going for even one second you’ll fall behind and you’ll lose clients and your life will collapse and you won’t be able to provide for your children and GAHHH!
Guess what? My income just got halved, like many of yours (and we are the lucky ones). I’m working at half of my former rate, if that. I will likely have to ask for an extension on my next book. I’ve lost several clients due to their own economic hardships. My real estate business has been put more or less on hold; a deal that would have been the biggest I’d ever been part of fell through sometime around mid-March, for obvious reasons. Many of the things that I thought were absolutely necessary for my ongoing existence – not to mention happiness – have gone away, and yet here I am. I have my children. I have my health. I have pasta, and my ridiculous cats. I’m reading one great book after the next, so voraciously that I often wake up in the middle of the night with my glasses still on and the bedside light still blazing and a novel laying open on my chest. I’ve been so hungry for all this reading, it seems, that I can’t stop until my body makes me.
I am worried, as are we all. But underneath all that worry, I am happy.
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These past few years have been high-anxiety ones for us all. The world tilted far off its axis, wobbling crazily towards some not-too-far-off place that was weird and unfamiliar and definitely bad. Climate change, Trump, the endless screaming of the news cycle, healthcare, education, unemployment, the ping-ponging economy, wellness gurus saying we’re all doing it wrong, fears about our parenting, about our parents, about our aging bodies and minds and the looming, unknowable future – all of it broadcast 24/7 in high-def, straight into our hands and minds and hearts. It was too much. And it broke.
I feel that way, too. Like whatever had been happening in my head these past few years: It was too much. And when the world broke, so did I. Except what broke for me was the high wire I’d been forcing myself to balance on for so many years, one made up of expectations created by nobody save for myself. Expectations that told me I had to keep moving forward all the time, do not stop, not ever, or I’d come crashing down.
It broke. I came crashing down. And now, when I am tired, I sleep.