It keeps on keeping on. More staff turnover at work. I struggle to stay calm. I struggle to carry on. I start to panic–it feels like a mutiny, and why am I still standing? Where’s my raft? Everyone who is familiar, no one who is familiar, pretty soon I will be among strangers. Anyone who expects me to pick up all the pieces is wrong. I am not an EMT, although sometime it feels like I work in an ER. I can pick up some pieces, as I should, but I can’t/won’t pick up all of them. Once I convince myself beyond a doubt, I can communicate it to others.
I know all too well how self-destructive it is to be the Savior, the Caretaker. If I don’t care for myself, then I won’t be able to pick up any pieces. If I am not for me, who will be for me? I will take time to care for myself because there is no other real option. My own mother cared for four kids, a troubled spouse, an ill mother, an ill daughter. Neglecting her own health and suffering from depression and anxiety, she passed away from gastric cancer at 56. This year I turn 51 and there’s so much life I still need to live. I want to go to Australia and Italy. I want to see Paris again. I’d like to have a groovy boyfriend who makes me laugh. I want to go hiking. I want to see Vancouver, Canada. I want to go to a writing workshop for several days on Martha’s Vineyard.
I saw a friend over the weekend who was recently in France. She remarked how good Parisians look, what a nice lifestyle they enjoy, their health benefits and pensions, their not-so-manic work schedules, their food and wine, their books and intellect, their delicious cafe creme. Last weekend I spoke to a friend who returned to the Midwest after several years in NYC. She said she was relieved to be back in the Midwest, that the rat race in NY had taken its toll. Her quality of life is much better now. She is close to family.
My quality of life matters. Work/life balance is essential. Work is work but I need to be happy and laugh. I need a Valium.