After the craziness of losing my dad last year, I gained a lot of perspective. I spent the last three months of the year feeling more relaxed and appropriately focused than I have been in a long time. I guess grief does that to you. Unfortunately something happened when I went back to work on January 4, 2016. It's like I flipped the switch, the perspective flew out the window, and just over two weeks into the new year I find that I'm reminding myself to breathe and wondering if I have any Xanax leftover anywhere.
I've already shared my unnecessary need to be perfect, and it can be a compulsion. Sometimes I can let it go, and sometimes it can control me. I schedule my life so rigidly that the tiniest thing can throw my day into a tailspin. I realize it's irrational, and I realize I have to prioritize. It can feel like a lot though.
Last week I went to Traverse City for work. Due to winter weather my colleague and I decided to leave a day earlier, and I don't do well with sudden changes in plans. It was a smart move, but it totally threw me off for the week. I had a routine flexible sigmoidoscopy (essentially a colonoscopy for the colon-less) on Thursday at the University of Michigan hospital in Ann Arbor. It was mostly fine other than resulting in a new course of antibiotics, but it's exhausting. On Friday morning I was off to Kalamazoo for work. My son had a rash on his face, and I knew I'd have to also take him to the pediatrician at some point on Friday. Trying to find time for everything (not to mention a few minutes to take a breath) was making me stressed. Something about going to the pediatrician (a process that always sucks) pushed me over the edge. While dropping my husband off at work I was near tears. Again it was irrational, but in my experience feeling overwhelmed is rarely rational.
Luckily I had a 3-day weekend stretching ahead of me, and I was looking forward to the time off. Unfortunately my husband ended up having to unexpectedly work every day. On Saturday my son woke up at 5:15, and by noon I was exhausted...feeling like I could barely keep my eyes open exhausted. The day was stretching out ahead of me, and I wasn't feeling well. In that moment I wanted to just be a Crohn's patient. I wanted to stay in bed all day and feel sick instead of sucking it up. I don't know that I've ever done that unless at my very sickest...but I desperately wanted to.
That's part of the problem with trying to be perfect - I don't let myself be a sick person. I need to relax more and take care of myself. I promise that I will. And then I don't. I had a couple of moments over the weekend where I broke down without having a specific reason. It's not that my life is unmanageably difficult; it's that Crohn's was winning in those moments and I felt sad. And I felt pissed off because nobody's got time for that.
I spent the entire weekend looking for my perspective and feeling frustrated. I continually reminded myself that I was getting to be home with my precious little guy, and that would work for a little while. I built in time every day for intense workouts, but that would only help temporarily.
Death always provides perspective, and yesterday I heard of the passing of the Eagles' Glenn Frey. I love the Eagles, and "Take it Easy" is my all-time favorite song. It reminds me of being in college and listening to their Hell Freezes Over album over and over again. My favorite line is "We may lose and we may win, but we will never be here again." Last night I was singing the song over and over again while making dinner. I was watching my husband play with our son, and I had a delicious glass of wine. It had taken a few days, but I finally got my perspective.
Sometimes days can feel so long in this very short life. I have to take care of myself. I know that rationally. The little things - household chores, those organizational projects I think I have to complete - can wait. My Type A mind may not think they can, but they can wait. Take a breath. Chill the f*ck out. Enjoy the moment. Repeat.
I like to pretend like I've got it all figured out, and that couldn't be further from the truth. Every now and then I feel overwhelmed by life even knowing rationally that I've got it pretty good. Today I have tons of perspective. Tomorrow I may not, but I'll keep trying. Thank God for cute babies, intense workouts, awesome husbands and The Eagles.