And now for something entirely different

Life is so weird, right? 3 months ago I was on track for a promotion to Director of Operations at the startup grocery store I’ve been working at for 2 years. I was working over 50 hours a week and missed my kids like crazy. There wasn’t enough time in a day to get everything done. I was struggling in every aspect of the word, to make ends meet and to do all of the things. This summer was so difficult. If only I could get a raise that brought my pay up to where I needed it. If only I could get enough people at work trained to take over the more mundane tasks. If only my kids would magically remember to cycle through the laundry or take out the trash on Wednesday night. If only I had more time, more energy or more resources to manage all of life’s unpredictable speedbumps.

Every year we go to the Life Is Good Conference over Memorial Day. Only this year, our conference outgrew the Vancouver, WA hotel that we’ve been using and had to be moved to Portland, OR. Not only did the conference move, but it also switched weekends, so instead of 12 months from one conference to the next, we had to wait 15 months.

I’m actually really glad about this because at the 12 month mark I was way more optimistic about my employment situation and far less exhausted. I’ve been tired lately, but I didn’t realize how tired I was until halfway through the conference when I realized that I’d been sleeping through everything.

No matter how much sleep I got, I just couldn’t seem to stop being tired. I knew I had a sleep debt to repay but I didn’t know that this was the beginning of an entire month of bedridden agony. At some point, I realized that there was a persistent lump in my throat that just wouldn’t go away.

I’d worked myself into a place of sickness. I was happy, of course, because my life was free from the daily torture and emotional drama that my bad marriage contained, but I missed my kids fiercely and felt like a stranger in my own home at times.

My favorite part of conference is visiting with my soul sisters- other moms whose beliefs about parenting and world views are so closely aligned with mine that we can have the deepest and most engaging discussions on topics that are important to us. Or not, we can just be silly together and that’s not something I have a lot of in my daily life. I don’t go out much, I don’t have local friends that I “hang out” with and I don’t do much of anything except work and hang out with my kids, so conference time is a priceless opportunity to see my very favorite people in the world and my kids agree, their favorite friends are there too. But this year was different, I was sick. I only made it to one workshop during the entire conference and instead of staying up til 1 in the morning kicking ass at Bananagrams and laughing with friends, I was in bed early every night. Thank goodness for sleepovers and the moms who helped wrangle my kids so I could rest.

Only it wasn’t enough. I came home just as exhausted as I was when I left and decided to take a wee bit more time off of work in order to recover.

Except I didn’t recover. I used up all of my sick pay and had to start writing from home again in order to make sure my bills were covered.

I only made it to one of the conference workshops and it was about self-publishing. I knew that some of the people in our group had self-published recently and while I’d tried my hand at it in the past, I never considered seriously doing it full time. Until now.

Being home with my kids, even thought I was so sick that I could barely climb the stairs to eat, was heaven. I was able to get back in touch with the side of me that always wanted to stay home. After my divorce, I sort of assumed I’d just HAVE to work outside the house because what kind of single mom can stay home? Nevermind that when I wasn’t single, I was still the only person actually taking responsibility for our kids, so I might as well have been single.

But I digress.

Here it is the end of September and I’m still not feeling much better. I’m not sure where this will land, except that returning to work sounds unlikely, learning to take care of myself is important and when the conference rolls back around in May of 2017, life will be much different, in ways I can’t predict and need to trust right now. Wish me luck.

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