That has got to be one of my favourite four-letter words.
To me rest looks like this:
This the lounge of the holiday house we occasionally stay in (it belongs to old friends of D’s family). The house is in a quiet beachside settlement where I have no cellphone coverage. The house is a WWII prefab, cobbled together over the intervening years with quirk, charm and a little bootpolish. In this bookcase there are treasures to behold. I never fail to find something great to read – anything from Buchan to Guareschi. On this particular weekend I had nothing on my agenda other than to rest, so I read a doorstop-of-a-book, interrupted only by walks along the beach. I got lost for hours in a complex detective story with a clever and satisfying conclusion. Bliss.
Rest also looks like this:
The weather was perfect. Warm, with a gentle breeze, hardly a cloud in the sky. I scrambled up and down sand dunes, strolled through forest, and watched the waves lazily lapping on the shore.
As I mentioned last week, I have suffered from rather severe burnout in the past, and after a stressful couple of weeks wrangling two sick toddlers some burn-out symptoms were rearing their ugly heads. Burnout is a b*tch like that. One of the first things to go for me is sleep. My body overreacts to stress and I end up unable to fall asleep for hours as my mind races from one thought to the next. I could tolerate this (albeit barely) when I was single and childfree, but now I have children who wake me up at 6:30am I cannot survive on 3-4 hours sleep.
I slept badly on my retreat, but I was at least able to sleep in, so I returned home with my batteries showing signs of life.
While there I noticed that my primary emotion was…sadness.
I missed my family. I knew I would enjoy myself more if they were with me, and yet I desperately needed some respite from my demanding toddlers so I could get on an even keel again.
On the first day I had fun, and it felt like my single days when I could do whatever I wanted. I stopped at a small town along the way and looked in every single op-shop. I bought what I wanted for dinner (steak and salad, followed by Greek yoghurt and fresh blackberries, yum!). I watched two movies that I wanted to watch (‘Inside Out’ and ‘Pitch Perfect 2’).
But the next day, the gloss had worn off. Because I am not the same person that I was when I was single and childfree. I have three ginormous (and exceptionally cute) blessings in the forms of D, Chip and Sausage, and life really is more fun when they are with me. It’s certainly louder, gigglier and messier. I sat with Sadness and Guilt (very ‘Inside Out’ of me), knowing that even though I loved and missed my family I was doing the very best thing for them and for me. Taking a break.
My little sojourn has hopefully shored me up for the next wee while (please tell me no one gets sick over summer okay? Lying is fine.). Bring on Christmas!