Life isn’t all about tears, or romance, or menopause, or drama, or change; sometimes life is about managing all the other things.

A lovely day built on ordinary moments.

A lovely day built on ordinary moments.

I worked later than I planned to. I didn’t have to; I was genuinely caught up in my work, and it being a good day for that sort of thing, I finished a task I was committed to without considering the clock. I took the longer walk home, and enjoyed the last of the afternoon sunshine filtered through autumn leaves. I paused once or twice to exchange messages with my traveling partner, also tired at the end of a long work day. I arrived home quite fatigued, just at the edge of being too stupid to operate a stove, but my mind is still busy – even now, minutes later, here in the stillness.

I sit for some minutes fighting the impulse to go or do, before realizing that the feeling would likely persist as long as I still had my hiking boots on. I take them off, astonished to find that I am moving so slowly, brain still buzzing. My impulse is to flip on a movie, or documentary, or favorite animated series; I stop myself when I realize that doing so simply continues to feed my tired brain with additional stimulus. Dinner would be better…

…I careen around the small apartment bumping into things rather awkwardly, but without any particular stress over it; I’m clumsy when I am tired. That’s not so uncommon. I find myself struggling awkwardly (there’s that word again) to get from street clothes into comfy clothes – and chuckle out loud at the thought of doing yoga in this fatigued state. (It’s humorous that my constant correction of spelling mistakes as I type this now won’t be evident in the finished product – though no doubt I’ll miss one or two – there are more mistakes than words tonight.) I turn on the oven to pre-heat, and notice on the way that I’ve strewn clothes, boots, coat, house keys, and mail literally all over the apartment, here and there, without any sense to it at all. I sigh to myself and back track…clothes into the laundry basket…keys on the carabiner attached my handbag, mail to the side, on my desk, to be opened, reviewed, and acted upon. I stall for a moment looking at my coat with some confusion before remembering that I’d had it hanging on the back of my easel this morning. I hang it carefully in the closet with a reminder to ‘put away my things’. Reminders help. I stumble on my shoes, in the middle of the floor, forgotten – again, already.

I sit down, to write, content that dinner will be ready shortly… and just as I get to this spot… well… that spot just over/up there, where it says “I sit down…” I notice that although I most definitely did turn the oven on to preheat, the pot pie remains as it was, sitting on the baking sheet, waiting to go into the oven.  When I’m tired the self-care piece is both more difficult to manage well, and more important to manage reliably. I keep practicing. Living alone is very… educational. I have relied on so many hidden cues and reminders hidden in the context of shared daily experiences without understanding how much I would not know – or remember – to do for myself without them. It takes practice, so I keep practicing.

I am stiff and having been still for a few minutes it is now hard to move easily, and I feel slow, but I’ve actually started dinner. I am too tired for the sort of cooking that might put me at significant risk of injury – I almost reconsidered the oven, too, but chips and salsa isn’t the sort of ‘dinner’ that meets my nutritional needs, and the oven was hot by the time I thought to reconsider it. Dinner is the easy part. I set a series of alarms on my phone as task reminders hoping to avoid overlooking important self-care basics – including one that will tell me ‘go to bed’ at a preselected ‘no later than this’ hour. I hope to remember to turn it off before I go to bed earlier…but there’s the chance it will wake me from a sound sleep later.  🙂

I suddenly don’t recall where I was going with this at all… I guess simply that the practicing is an ongoing thing, and it’s evenings like this when it matters most that I have been practicing so much; I take steps to take care of me that actually support my needs. My results vary – your’s probably will too.

It’s a good evening to take care of me…I don’t think I have much more to offer this moment than a best effort. It’ll be enough.

tomorrow I can begin again

tomorrow I can begin again