Flatware Musings

You have to respect your limits.
Keep track of your spoons so you don't run out.
Take care of yourself first, otherwise there won't be any energy left over for other things.

I tell other people do this all the time and I'm sure I sound very reasonable and at peace with the whole thing when I do so, but it's time I came out with my little secret: I hate my limits. Not so much a secret, you say? Dang. I thought I'd been all circumspect about the whole thing…

Sometime late Tuesday afternoon, I ran into my limits and it's more like a brick wall. But I get ahead of myself.

There are times where I am pretty astonished at my energy level. Sure, I get up pretty late, have a Mandatory Rest Period in the late afternoon, but throughout the day and around those times where I rest, I move pretty quickly. It amuses me to no end when The Boy says that he can't keep up with me, but underneath that amusement is astonishment. I look at my plate, heaped with activities, responsibilities and people, like a pile of delicious, shining fruit or maybe glittering jewels or maybe, for the knitters out there, a mass of soft yarn in glowing colors, calling your name. This is my treasure. This collection of what I do is about so much more. It is about who I am now, how far I've come. It is a life rebuilt, it is my delight and each and every piece is precious to me.

Until now, I've managed to not let go of any of it, even when I found something new that I couldn't resist. Somehow, I added the ball to everything I was already juggling and somehow, I managed to keep all the balls in the air. Every new thing added more energy than it took away, each ball accompanied by another spoon to add to the store of energy and I kept going. And it was intoxicating.

And then came The Book. Or rather, then came editing The Book. I set what seemed to be a completely reasonable deadline to finish that part. Sometime around my birthday, but everyone - including myself - knew that that was a pipe dream. Middle of September, maybe the third week, was much more reasonable. So I settled in and began. And that's when I discovered just how much space it takes up, both in terms of time and in terms of what happens in my head.

The plan had been to carve out more time, add a bit here and there, perhaps subtract a little from this and that and use it for Book purposes. And then last weekend happened and I realized what I should do is to take a one month sabbatical from everything else and just focus. Because it's all-consuming and you might as well give in to the force of it voluntarily, stop kicking and screaming and just get sucked into Book Land. But because I haven't taken a sabbatical, I went back to work on Monday and by Tuesday around dinnertime there was a rather abrupt encounter with the brick wall of my limits. It's possible that the rather intense stress from last week - and the past month, come to think of it - may have contributed, but still… To continue the (somewhat tortured) flatware metaphor, stick a fork in me, I’m done.

It turns out that my ability to stuff more things into my life is finite. Who knew?

So now comes the really difficult thing. Because if I want to finish The Book - and I really, really do - something has to give. The time has come to take a look at my plate, at my treasure and decide what gets taken away, hopefully just temporarily, to make room for this immense and all-consuming job that is in front of me. And I have no idea how to make that choice. Every time I consider one particular aspect of my life, my inner Gollum pops up, whispering about my preciousss and I'm stuck again.

I'll keep you posted.