Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pushing pause

"I'm so busy, I don't have time to breathe." How many of us have said or thought that? I know I do, quite often.

There are a lot of things in my life that are uncertain right now. Uncertainty and lack of control are not my favorite feelings, but many of my uncertainties are because of things I cannot control, or even affect. My response to this is to focus more on the things I can control, which sounds very healthy, until I sit back and realize that one of the few things I can control is my writing.

To put it more clearly, my coping strategy is to work. A lot.

This is, of course, a healthier coping strategy than drinking to excess, or trying various and sundry mind-altering substances, or sleeping with inappropriate people. But overwork still has consequences. The obvious ones are things like being sleep deprived and thus fuzzy brained and short tempered. But there are more subtle ones as well - I lose touch with my family and friends. I get tunnel vision. I forget to breathe - respirare - to take in spirit, to be inspired.

I spent time doing that this weekend. I worked, yes. But a dear friend was in town, and I spent time catching up with her - eating full meals and having long conversations, walking on the beach. I met another friend in person for the first time. She's also a writer, so some of the talk was business-related, but much wasn't.

And then I had time before my train, so I walked through the city. I watched dogs, and listened to conversations in four languages I recognized and two I didn't. I danced on a sidewalk with a man I did not know, and he gave me a rose, and never asked for my name.

I felt happy, and peaceful. I breathed, and was inspired.


  1. Kat, I know the feeling of coping by doing things. I do that, too.

    But reading about your weekend? That was rather magical, and it made me smile. I'm glad that you were able to recharge. I don't think there's a better way to do that, then a wonderful time with wonderful people. ~Ali

    PS. Dancing on the sidewalk and a rose? Straight out of a movie. Love it.

  2. Hey. Being in full control of your work means exactly that - sometimes you can just choose NOT to do it.

  3. As someone very familiar with (and fond of) the fetal position, I have to say how impressed I am that you can cope with uncertainty by working *more*. I know this blog is about the importance of pushing pause, but still. I hope the uncertainties resolve soon, and that you produced some good stuff as part of your, er, coping strategy.

    Meanwhile, I'll follow your example and finally go to town to drink public coffee and purchase overpriced cosmetics items, and stuff. Aaah, it's been so long! (And there's a new load of laundry waiting, too, and you know how happy this makes me. ;-))

  4. I have to admit, purchasing overpriced cosmetics items is sometimes a coping strategy, too. Thanks, Steffi, and have fun with the laundry. I think of you with happiness every time I use that lavender detergent.