I woke up yesterday morning at 3:00 bathed in sweat, a headache playing in minor key at the back of my neck. But worse than the headache or the drenched nightshirt was the sense of obligation that crushed me from the moment I got conscious.
The sweat dried. The headache quickly faded. But the feeling of unmeetable obligations oppressed me for hours and left me tired all day.
I get this way once in a while, even though I realize that by the usual measures my life contains fewer obligations than most — no heavy-duty job, no kids, no doddering parents to care for, no monster schedule of appointments, no nasty commute. But I acutely feel obligations to you guys — to people who’ve given me much. I feel tremendous obligation to meet your expectations, to respond to what you need from me, or live up to what you give me. Add to that things like deadlines and the drive to get the house in order for fall … and yesterday morning it was all too much.
I knew something was coming on earlier this week when a friend invited me to a tiny birthday celebration and I felt as overwhelmed as if I’d been asked to plan the next inaugural ball. I knew it was coming on when my dogs, poking for attention with their noses or dropping tennis balls at my feet, made me want to cry from the weight of their needs.
Ah well. Life gets that way sometimes. I expect we’ve all been there, one way or another. Unlike many, I have the luxury of taking a step back now and then.
And I must, because creativity goes south when I get into this kind of a frazzle.
So taking a step back is what I’m going to do for the next week.
I may or may not be posting for the next seven days. Chances are that once I feel free of the obligation of thinking up something brilliant … I’ll think up something and post it. But if I don’t, I don’t.
I need to disengage briefly.
I need to re-balance.
To remind myself of my priorities.
To re-set some of those priorities.
To slip out of traps I’ve set for myself.
To stop trying to multi-task.
To restore inner silence.
To generate more productive time.
To consider that I’ve got only a finite number of sunsets and moonrises — and dog days — left to cherish.