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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

One Hour at a Time

By early May, my colleagues and I had been working several weeks in a row. A friend and colleague of mine called to check in on mine. I told her I was fine. She advised that I begin taking one hour back at a time. This was great advice, but I got greedy and was determined to take the ENTIRE, glorious weekend off. It didn’t work out. Calls droned on. I dragged my cat to the vet and waited outside an hour and a half while they gave her a very thorough examination. Then I grudgingly wrote a proposal. By late afternoon, I was very crabby. An hour. Right. All or nothing. That’s me.

By the following weekend, I got my wish. An entire glorious weekend free of calls. It was soon apparent that I needed more than a weekend. My company had hosted a town hall for us. Physicians were on the call, one of whom specializes in mental health. He addressed the maladaptive behaviors that can creep in. You know - like being irritable, eating crap, drinking more. Stuff like that. Hm. So last Friday, Andrea and I took the day off. And before that, we booked a vacation for late July. I know – COVID is still raging and I don’t anticipate it being wrapped up by the end of July. And I do hope that Clorox wipes can be purchased prior to vacation. We’ve rented a home on a private lake in North Carolina. We can bring the dogs. There’s a kayak and canoe.

I’m not waiting until vacation to get my maladaptive shit together. I climbed back on the eating healthy wagon. I finally put the NOBULL running shoes that I’d purchased months ago and ran. I’ve been running – 3 days a week. This week, I’ve been running in the rain since we haven’t gone a day without rain. I feel better. Wet, but better. After today's run, Andrea peeled the jacket off of me. "I guess it wasn't waterproof." She said.

"No. It's more of a windbreaker." I said, dripping in the entryway of the house.

I have more work to do but this is a start. It's a step (or two) in the right direction. It’s taking one hour back at a time.

On Monday night, I went to bed angry. Pushed over the edge by technology not working and my inability to fix it. I was already at the edge though – after 3 months of living in Virginia, I thought I would be in a routine. And, I am (see above) getting there. I even signed up to attend outdoor yoga over the weekend (well, Andrea signed me up. See “technology not working”).

But I anticipated the routine including local acquaintances – who would maybe, in time, become friends. I’m good at meeting people, dammit. I was fortunate to happen upon what became our tribe back in Hudson, Massachusetts. And I thought I would have seen these people on trips back to Massachusetts. Only, there haven’t been any of those due to COVID. I realize these are luxury problems and one day, things will reopen and book clubs and writing groups and HR groups will reconvene. Until then, I'll keep finding ways to take back one hour at a time.

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