I got a taste for it now. A taste for living with no obligations and responsibilities. No work, no phone calls, e-mail, no news (except for Jon Stewart), no plans to make, no dinner to cook or shop for, no arranging my life to fit within scheduled visits of attendants every 3-4 hours. No committees, no meetings, no planning 17 steps ahead, considering all permutations and scenarios possible. No constant thinking, no always being available, no being 'on’ all day.
Six days of sleeping, eating yummy food, reading, watching excellent TV/movies, with only the responsibility of managing my pain (not bad, as I was no longer doing much), providing input regarding dinner choices and being a relatively amusing guest had managed to slow me down from multitasking madly at 120 km/hr to doing one thing at the time, thinking about one thing at a time and, to be honest, not really thinking all that much. I gained some weight (yay!), stopped twitching, stopped worrying. It was wonderful.
That is, until a few hours after I returned home when the stress wrapped itself around me, cloying and oppressive, making me pace, speeding up the thought processes and in general making me feel as if I hadn't left at all. Clearly, something has to change.
I've always liked being busy. When I was little, my uncle Poul gave me a nickname - he called me Krudtirøv, which essentially means 'gunpowder-in-arse'. Apparently, I moved a lot and that's only gotten worse in the last several years, when I discovered that one of the best ways of coping with fibromyalgia pain, is to never sit still for long. Essentially, I'm a nightmare to be around, what with the pacing when I'm on the phone, leaving the livingroom in every single commercial (or every 20-30 minutes when there are no ads), always making tea or getting water or snacks, checking email, googling things and in general buzzing around. However, being away from it for the first time in over a decade has made me realize that although I get a lot done (which in and of itself is a wonderfully satisfying, although I keep it at a lower level than Delores Herbig from Dead Like Me – rent it, you won’t regret it), it’s really hard to achieve peace and clarity of mind if you're always doing three things at the same time, while thinking of another two.
The solution, I think, is to stop - or at least reduce - multitasking. Incorporating balance and mindfulness in my daily routine, focusing on one thing at a time. This seemed like a really good idea until I realized that if I stop multitasking, less things get done. I already spend much of my life running really fast in an (often futile) attempt to catch up with everything. An alarming amount of time is taken up with disability/pain management, which doesn't leave nearly enough hours for the rest of life. Or so I tell myself. I'm pretty sure that I'm right, but if I'm committed to reducing the stress (and the pain resulting from doing a lot), perhaps it is time to take a very close look at how I spend my days, deciding what is necessary and what isn't and being pretty ruthless about the latter. I can imagine that on the first go-around I'll be convinced that everything is absolutely essential, in which case Plan B involves chipping away at individual things, reducing my involvement rather than eliminating it.
Sounds like a great idea, doesn't it? The practice of said idea, however, might be another kettle of fish entirely...