Sometimes, life gets to be too much. I’ve never liked to admit that before. Actually, I couldn’t really admit it because I didn’t believe there was a limit to what I could handle. Growing up, I watched my dad work 12 hour days regularly. On weekends, he’d pop into the office and then come home to do work around the house. If he wasn’t visiting clients at their homes, he was putting up new walls in our basement or planning a second bathroom for the house (although, for years the closest we got to the project being finished was an outline of a toilet in sharpie on the cement floor).
Instead of seeing this drive as unhealthy, I admired it and held myself up against my dad. If I grew up to be any less hardworking than him, I knew I’d be disappointed in myself. When I decided to become a freelance writer, I realized I could take productivity to a whole new level. No wasted time commuting to an office, working on evenings and weekends would be easy and I could take trips whenever I wanted without having to book an actual holiday and put an auto-response on my email. That was sort of the dream, for me—travel a lot without being lazy while doing so. Why take time off for vacations when I can take work with me?
There are a few good reasons to step away from the office and leave it behind. For one, because my entire life is an overwhelming swirl of work and helping others and caring for others and struggling to pay bills. Or because “self-care” and “relaxing” are words I use but not actions I take. Mostly because sometimes I’m just going to fucking crack and I need to get my head somewhere else.
Last week, I skipped blogging because work and life was just too much. I was in Montana with a couple of friends from high school and I had every intention of spending the mornings working, afternoons having fun and evenings relaxing. I’d even picked what I was going to blog about and had a work to-do list for every day of the trip.
And then I just became so fucking weighed down by drama that followed me from home, emails from people I work for who I hadn’t let know I was going away and pressure to try to stay active on social media after my phone went missing. I broke down and stopped doing anything, instead becoming the self-destructive and wild woman I was before I tried to get my life in order.
Old habits die hard. Especially when you’re with the people who you formed them around initially (Love you ladies! Sorry I’m still such a bad influence 😉).
The trip turned into a drunken mess for me and my lungs are still recovering from the cigarettes and cackling. But it also served as a reminder that I need to just stop and chill more often. Maybe if I hadn’t left for Montana so wound up, it would have been easier to turn down drinks and spend a quiet, relaxing and sober week away from home taking in the scenery and finding inspiration.
With that lesson learned for the 5,000th time, I’m off to go for a walk through Assiniboine Forest with a good friend and then I think I’ll see if my new two-year-old roomie wants to craft with me. And maybe then I’ll plan a do-over trip, which will include no plans to work.