The not-doing

I feel good today.

In fact, I’ve felt good for five days. Five whole days. Monday to Friday. A week’s worth of good.

I’ve been cringing, waiting every day for this freakish feeling to end. Hasn’t yet. Might not.

I don’t feel high, that manic-panic feeling of everything being too bright, too sharp, too fast.

I feel…


I haven’t felt anything near the definition of that term for longer than I care to consider, so perhaps you understand my hesitation in stating it.

I feel a regular amount of tired, the amount anyone with young children and a career and a house and a child’s 5th birthday to plan might feel. (Normal.)

I find myself amused by the little things in life, several times a day – at least as often as I am frustrated by them. (Normal.)

When I swear under my breath (as I am wont to do, rather frequently), that’s it. I’m done. I was mad, I swore, now I feel better. When the swearing was directed at someone, I barely even feel guilty for swearing at them. And then I swear at my guilt, tell it to go the bleep away, and I feel better again. (Normal.)

The gorgeous spring weather helps. It helps a lot. But, I’ve been through other gorgeous springs – and at times, it hasn’t helped. There are times when no amount of beauty gets to cut through the gray darkness. Those are the times when I see the beauty, I know it’s there, and I know that I should care deeply about it – but the most I can summon is a vague irritation with myself for not caring. It is the strangest kind of disassociation you can imagine.

I think what is helping more is that I am (slowly) learning not to exhaust myself. I am starting to understand that the most important thing I can do right now is to do all the things that I need to do in order to become as physically and mentally healthy as possible – and when I don’t understand it, I do them anyway. I’ve already learned how to prioritize exercise, healthy eating, and healthy sleeping, and I’ve made each into a (more or less) solid habit. What I’m learning now is to do, and not do, all the other stuff. The stuff that makes me feel emotionally good. Painting. Sewing. Reading. Walking. Having a latte. Doing jigsaw puzzles. Taking a lunch break. Writing. Making jewellery. Napping. Some of these are harder to do than others. Most of these are harder to stop than they are to start. Hardest of all is telling myself that it’s OK to not do any of them, and instead, just sit in the sunshine, or just watch TV, or just go to bed. It’s OK to read a book instead of running errands. It is OK – it really is OK – to just do nothing. In doing so, I am not doing nothing. I am investing in myself. I am not exhausting myself.

To do this, I’ve decided to approach it the same way I approached the physical health tasks. The only way to create habits is to just plain create them. So, I decided to commit to doing one creative thing a day. It could be two minutes worth of poetry, or fifteen minutes of clarinet practice, or a nice long session of crafting with the kids. The point is not the creative result, but the act itself. This has helped me with the guilt, and occasional panic, of the not-doing – because I know that I’ll do something creative again tomorrow.

As I get ready for a weekend of birthday parties, placing a rather enormous stuffed penguin in a special spot for a very excited birthday boy to find in the morning, I savour this feeling. Creaky, gritty-eyed, somewhat frazzled, with a bit of zen thrown in, and smiling.



1 comment so far

  1. allison on

    How lovely. I’ve had to learn a lot of the same things. And what’s frustrating is that, having learned them once, I do go on forgetting them and having to re-learn them. But it’s a shorter leap every time. I’m glad you’re feeling good.

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