Sitting on my ten minute break at the coffee warehouse, I’m indulging in the excitement that my first cup of coffee in three days is bringing me. In theory, today is my last day here (though I volunteered to work on Monday, due to scheduling conflicts, if they need me), and my manager asked me what it is I plan to do during the summer now that I’ll actually have days off.
I’ll still be working my farmers market gig, and putting in a very few hours in the Writing Center, but over all, my plan is to learn how to be still again.
A few weeks ago, I was attacked by anxiety. I couldn’t sleep, I was in pain from my warehouse job, and I knew I had to go in the next morning at 5 a.m.. I ended up taking the day off, though I was still riddled with anxiety of not being productive. I was hurting, couldn’t walk very well, and yet I scolded myself vigorously for not utilizing my time off in a productive manner. It prompted further anxiety until I was in a full blown panic, from which my boyfriend had to calm me down (and did a remarkable job, I might add). After talking for a long time, we came to the conclusion that I have been so stressed for so long that I don’t know how to be still any more.
So this is my goal for the summer: stillness, though still meeting my productivity standards.
I want to do yoga in the morning, to strengthen my core, help my hip and back whose pain has been brought on (again) by the repetitive motions of my warehouse job, read two fiction books (at least), finish writing my novel and editing it. Also, go dancing least once every other week.
It’s shocking to me that I can’t get through fiction any more. The only time I’ve completed a book has been if it was assigned to me. The last fiction book I read on my own was The Exorcist, two summers ago. I’m currently reading Watership Down with my boyfriend, but I’ve already read it. I think that allowing myself to read fiction has gone against my definition of productive, and thus hasn’t been done. If it’s homework, the I have to read it. Butts it’s lesurely, then I could be doing something that needs to be done.
As a writer, I need to remember that reading fiction needs to be done! It is productive! And it’s also important for me to allow myself that enjoyment as well.