Can we just all agree, unanimously, to put a pause on January? Wouldn’t that be nice – just to have a couple of weeks of zero time, an empty space with neither Christmas nor New Year Resolutions – so we can all catch up with ourselves before the year begins?
I don’t think I can be the only one to feel that January is causing me to feel – well, overwhelmed is something of a euphemism – frazzled is probably more like it.
You’ve felt it, too – haven’t you? That this year there were definitely fewer days in December than normal. January came more quickly than ever. That’s how it has felt, and now the New Year treadmill has started and I’m left scrambling to adjust the speed setting.
It’s the 13th of January, and I have a list the length of my elbow of thank you letters that need to be written, and emails that need a reply that are so far down my inbox they are in danger of being lost forever.
I was ill over the holidays, which gave me lots of time to think and dream up some dreams, but not to actually DO. I started January with more things than ever that I wanted to accomplish this year. I watched the hundreds of One Word 2015 blog posts fly past me in the final days of December, and wished I could be that organised, or decisive so as to know what I should be focusing on. I don’t have my One Word for 2015 – instead, I have a thousand words, swirling round my head like a cloud of bees.
This is how it goes when I have an ME relapse: I stay in denial for about the first two weeks, when I am in pain and exhausted, but not quite ill enough to be completely stopped in my tracks. Then – as happened just before Christmas – the illness gets bad enough that I have no choice – my concentration goes, and my legs become too weak to stand, and I know that I’m in trouble. This is when I am a Good Girl and rest aggressively and stoically.
Subconsciously, though, I have set a limit on the time that I am prepared to be super-ill. It’s bad enough to miss Christmas and the majority of December, but I’m not prepared for it to wipe out another month. This tends to coincide with feeling slightly, but not completely better, and it is the time when I am most in danger of overdoing it, because I am still very ill, but well enough to feel utterly BORED, and to feel the pressure of all the uncompleted tasks.
I then start gradually filling my diary, bit by bit. I am not too ill to cancel everything, but ill enough to cancel most things.
It must be very confusing for onlookers who do get to see me, because at this time I explain that I am quite ill, and resting lots, but when they see me, I look the picture of health, and I’m buzzing with the adrenaline of finally seeing and talking to people after several weeks of being more isolated. This is the reality of most people with chronic illness – it’s sprint and collapse – but friends rarely witness the collapse.
Basically, right now I’m Punxsutawney Phil, sticking my head out of my hole periodically for everyone to see and cheer, and then ducking inside for another few weeks to recover. (It’s going to be a long winter.)
I’m determined, this month, in defiance of the relapse, to launch my Secret Surprise project (look out for it later this week!).
I’m really excited, and it’s a project that I hope you’re going to be excited about too. (No clues. Except that this week I have discovered that while Scrivener is great for drafting and planning, when it comes to compiling and printing it is an unintuitive nightmare. I do so hate it when computers just flat out refuse to be reasonable.)
It has been a while in the making, and I am ready for it to be launched. But this means I have a plethora of people I haven’t voxed, emails I haven’t written, and thank you letters that are well overdue. I’m trying to be professional and smooth, whilst being utterly un-smooth. I’ve tried on my superhero cape, and much to my annoyance, it doesn’t fit.
Perhaps this is just what life looks like at times.
Perhaps we all need a buffer, some breathing space between the feast and the sprint, some time to digest 2014 before another year begins.
I find myself wishing everything in my life were more streamlined, that I were more streamlined, like all my newly January-Inspired-Dieting-And-Exercising-And-Keenly-Honed focused and efficient friends are. But we are not robots on a production line, and there are times when things get dropped.
I think of Jesus, who didn’t seem to have a smooth schedule, but who was often tired, even exhausted by his schedule. He took himself off for times of quiet and prayer – inefficiently.
I wonder if perhaps the cure for feeling overwhelmed and inefficient, is – counterintuitively – not to be more efficient, but to be even less efficient at such times. To retreat, to pray, to rest, to plan, even while you feel that you are falling further behind.
So – join me: I’m declaring my own January buffer zone, and I hereby resolve to be less efficient, and to pray more, and to worry less*. It’s a plan so crazy it might just work.
(*Just as soon as I’ve done the Super Secret Project. Hey – I can’t change overnight…!)
[tweetit]”Can we just all agree, unanimously, to put a pause on January?” – @Tanya_Marlow on feeling overwhelmed by January: [/tweetit]
[tweetit]”I don’t have my One Word for 2015 – instead, I have a thousand words, swirling round my head like a cloud of bees.”[/tweetit]
[tweetit]”I’ve tried on my superhero cape, and much to my annoyance, it doesn’t fit.” NEW post by @Tanya_Marlow:[/tweetit]
[tweetit]”The New Year treadmill has started and I’m left scrambling to adjust the speed setting” NEW by @Tanya_Marlow:[/tweetit]
[tweetit]”Right now I’m Punxsutawney Phil…(It’s going to be a long winter).” @Tanya_Marlow – feeling overwhelmed by January:[/tweetit]
Over to you:
- What do you do when you feel overwhelmed?
- When it comes to scheduling, are you a solid jogger, or a sprint-and-collapser?
P.S **Do look out for my Super Secret Surprise later on in the week, won’t you?**
P.P.S **God and Suffering: Our Story returns next week – with an amazing line-up!**