There wasn't any monumental event or breakdown that led to this epiphany. Like, I didn't lie down sobbing in the shower to eat a package of Oreos or run naked around the neighborhood screaming "MOMMY!" It just happened.
The weather got nice last week - really nice. I was working at home, so I was already relaxed, chillin in my burgundy velour track suit. By Wednesday it was hot, like 90° hot, so I decided I would take the morning off and enjoy it.
Not just sort-of off, where I check email then do some laundry then check email and go get groceries then work on content and then vacuum then scoop the cat boxes then check email and then run to the post office and the office supply store then come home and work on content... Totally off. No email, no phone (except for camera apps), no household chores - nada. Totally off.
I enjoyed a leisurely morning with Tori, Dave, Sal & Steve then tuned into Wendy with a delicious cup of decaf (good beans brewed in the Moccamaster with a teaspoon of coconut oil = scrumptious). I read some stuff. I did almost nothing. Then I decided I would go for a run. I got ready and drove over to the shoreline path on Bay Farm Island.
As luck would have it, my running watch battery was dead. I left the car and started running. I went as far as I felt like, which turned out to be a lot farther than I expected, then went to another part of the park to make a picture of a toy car. Then I went home and made fresh juice for a smoothie.
My morning off ended up lasting until early afternoon, although it was still morning in Hawaii. When I finally sat down at the computer I thought balls might be dropping. Only there weren't any emails. Not a one. Absolutely nothing happened while I was gone. WHY HAVEN'T I DONE THIS SOONER? Evidently, the world keeps turning whether or not I'm checking email.
I've trapped myself in the freelancer mindset of thinking I can never be unavailable. I might lose work. But I'm about to lose what's left of my mind if I don't get some real downtime, very soon. I had forgotten what burnout feels like.
I've not taken a true vacation in so long, it's hard to remember the last one. A vacation where you're actually on vacation - not just out of town and still working. Really off - everything. Spending time with family doesn't usually count.
There was an awesome weekend in Arizona a couple of years ago for my nephew's college graduation. That was amazing, even though I had to work while I was there. My brother was surprised that I burst into tears at the airport when it was time to leave. I wasn't. I wanted that weekend to last at least a month.
On top of job burnout, there's life burnout. I have to believe most women deal with this - burnout from constantly taking care of everything - everything we typically do for others, never taking time for ourselves. That needs to stop. Easier said than done, I know, and my heart goes out to single mothers who don't get much downtime for many years.
But that one morning last week was wonderful and needs to happen more often. The best part about it was not having to be anywhere at any particular time. No schedule = no anxiety. Like a kid on summer vacation.
I'm already looking forward to the next time. Could be tomorrow. Could be next week... but it needs to be soon. Then I need to plan a nice long vacation. And buy a lottery ticket. Or vice versa.