I’ve been staring at this blank screen for a good ten minutes now – occasionally stopping to refresh facebook or talk to a child about the merits/demerits of pringles, but mostly I’m just revelling in waking with a good mood. Despite a headache, stuffed sinuses and continuing exhaustion, I’m actually feeling fine.

It’s such a turn around from a week or so ago that I’m nearly inclined to worry, but it’s pretty hard to worry about a good mood. I prefer to conclude that the tools I’m using are working, and that I’m getting used to being back at work, and yeah, probably the most of it is that bubble is wiggling more and more giving me the more regular reassurance that I crave about his continued existence.

The laundry pile (including uniforms which *must* be cleaned and dried this weekend) seems like an insurmountable wall, and yet even that’s not bothering me. Oh! I’m really looking forward to going shopping for a dining room table. What a small thing! I mean, not literally, as it’ll be kind of large and expensive, but you know, in those lists of life goals that people make sometimes, no one ever writes “buy a nice dining room table”.

I think they don’t anyway.

Anyway, I don’t think it’s even the *buying* of the table I’m excited about. I love shopping for things like this. I get filled with a sense of potential and future.

It’s also nice, after so long, to feel like we’re doing something about our intolerable living situation. We’re likely to be here for a good long while longer, so making it a more pleasant environment feels good and positive. We’ve sort of been ignoring all the niggly annoying not-working stuff for so long, and even though there’s no one thing that we can’t live with, it all adds up and had definitely been contributing to a feeling of weight and drudgery on me.

I’ve also realised that having a string of appointments and plans ahead of me – even if they’re just routine things, can actually give me a sense of reassurance. For instance, I know I’m seeing my GP this coming Wednesday and my therapist the Wednesday after that. I’ve got a day off coming up on the calendar and parent-teacher meetings and open nights and a cluster meet up for Leaving Cert Computer Science – all of which will be pretty exhausting, but they’re also way-markers on the road to midterm break and when they’ve passed I’m on the countdown to leave.

I want to take my leave – I always want to have less time working. I mean, I enjoy my job, I think I’m pretty good at it and I give it everything I have when I’m doing it. But it’s not really everything of who I want to be. To be honest, it’s a bit too intense during the months we’re on, and it’s not really a sustainable type of work without pulling back a lot and I do struggle with pulling back. If I could afford it, I’d go for the “job sharing” option where you work fewer hours. But then you’re selling your pension short too. Hence “if I could afford it”.

Hell, if I could afford it, I’d stop working altogether.

I really don’t understand the many many people who feel as though they wouldn’t know what to do if they weren’t working. Sleep! first and foremost I’d get way more sleep. And then when that was all caught up on I’d take walks, and I’d keep a nice decluttered house and I’d cook things that interest me.

It’s the small stuff, it’s all the small parts of life that intense work sort of steals, like it’s cutting the thinnest slivers of cake from the sides of the life you want, but suddenly all you’re left with is the crumbs. Each drop of a priority, each compromise seems unimportant on it’s own – it’s the adult and responsible thing to do after all, to not make a big deal of it – but goddamnit, it adds up.

And then you’re worn down and blue and you don’t quite know why.

Well, for today I’m reclaiming a small thing – not all the small things, I don’t quite have the wherewithal for that – but table shopping is going to make me feel alive today. And the corrections that are burning a hole in my satchel and in the back of my mind can wait. If they wait a whole week it’s fine with me. I’m looking at my priorities a bit differently.

 

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