Somewhere in Between | Finding A Moment Of Rest

Saturday, February 2, 2019

I woke up having a hankering to do nothing but watch  Gilmore Girls all morning coupled with  a desire to write three  blog posts then finish a cozy mystery. I wanted to do all of these all at the same time. No, I am not in a state of hypomania. I have just been tired but would like to do something pleasurable for me alone and no one else's. I am so tired that I feel that tiredness in my bones and muscles. It is the type that even penetrates the soul.

Life lately has actually been great. There is nothing in particular that brings this fatigue except the busyness that is everyday life. Last week I was in Seattle from Thursday to Sunday. I did not fly back into San Francisco until Sunday afternoon. The flight was short, the trip was enjoyable although it was a packed work trip schedule. When I got home I needed to clean the house because I would not feel good until I did my  chores despite the house  still being pretty tidy. Needless to say, I really did not have a weekend.

The work week started with a new staff that I began training on Monday morning. All throughout the week I dealt with  joining my colleagues in fighting for social justice which always  takes a big emotional toll. I would not have it any other way. 

The weekday continues and includes having to stop at the grocery store mid-week to buy cat food after work because Mr Sweetie forgot to do so. The work week concludes with a Friday night Trader Joe's stop to buy breakfast and snacks. I actually enjoy this Friday evening tradition but having to do it while feeling dead tired was not as fun. Then Mr Sweetie got home around the same time that I got home from work and Trader Joe's stop at past 9 pm which did not leave me even a few minutes of much needed  alone time. I made him pizza for dinner after a short shower while I dined on cold leftover chicken and  glass of wine while we watched TV. He is not a reader while I am so TV is the default nightly activity before hitting the sack. Oh, and while at the shower, I remembered that I might have forgotten to unplug my mini-grill in my office. I had to call security fearing that I might burn the building down. Luckily, I got someone to check and confirm that it was indeed unplugged.

In between all of the above were supporting my sister after she experienced a traumatic incident at work, and all the demands of my staff and people who need something from me.

These might sound like a laundry list of complaints and dissatisfaction when in reality  I really enjoy every crazy packed minute of my days, as well the people I work with and my loved ones.

What makes me bone-tired is the lack of personal time from when I wake up in the morning up until my head hits the pillow at night. My work continues on at home in the form of house chores. I have been fortunate enough to attend some of the keynote speeches of powerful women like Michelle Obama and Melinda Gates. What was compelling was that despite these strong women's financial wealth and impactful contributions to feminism -- they still struggle with what possibly every woman in this day and age no matter from which part of the world is saddled with -- the unequal division of house chores between men and women ranging from childcare to house work. I learned from these speeches that a woman works extra 90 minutes each day at home in comparison to a man's share of house chores.

My life and career are nowhere like these two powerful women's but it was an eye opener to know that we still all struggle with the same issues that  women from all over the world and across generations continue to deal with. 

I have a good man at home. I have been blessed with his humor and playfulness. I will never doubt how much he loves me. It just so happened that my man does not do any house chores. He is not lazy. He was just not built that way. Or maybe it was my fault for spoiling him by taking on the work to give him rest while I am  as tired as a work horse at the end of the day.  

During our family gatherings, he works hard in helping out which endeared him to my family. This makes me very proud of him. He cleans the bathroom with "elbow grease" when he feels that deep-cleaning is needed. He fixes big things like when the roof had a little leak after a big storm. And I really do appreciate that he takes his shoes off when he gets home (a very important Filipino tradition even though he is not Filipino). He also makes the bed if he gets up after I do. And he goes grocery shopping but we will subsist on nothing but cookies, cakes and cheeses if we rely on what he buys. The daily chores, though, from laundry to cooking to washing the dishes to cleaning the house -- they're all mine. And truly, on many days, I enjoy doing these things because they allow me to "escape" through these chores. However, weeks like this week, they take a big toll on me. This is when I start to fantasize -- "I wonder what would it feel like if I got home and do not have to lift a finger to do any chores, a nice hot dinner is waiting for me and I do not have to do the dishes afterwards?" I know that there are men out there who are capable of this. What I have learned, though, is to not compare. Every relationship has its struggles. I can deal with what I have been dealt with. With his shortcomings, he is a great guy  and spoils me in many ways.

Sleep does not offer much rest as well because as Mr Sweetie said, he is doomed. He cannot sleep with me, he cannot sleep without me. I guess, we are both just not good sleepers. Lately, I feel that I am in a perpetual state of unsleep.

Anyway, it is Saturday morning. I got a little reprieve as he is working today. I got to go back to sleep for an extra hour until 10 am after he left but not before he woke me up walking all over the house. I just decided to get up  to feed the cat and clean the litter box until he left. (Oh yeah, these are items on my chores, too, twice a day -- glory!).  Then I went back to bed. I got  to enjoy coffee and a piece of toast with cream cheese and fig spread when I got up. It might be a long day for him so I might just get to watch Gilmore Girls and read.

And I got to write my heart out on this post. I usually like to keep my posts light and fluffy because this space is where I like to escape from the harshness of real life, not mine but others that I have been privileged to help make a little better. 

Writing this, I still do not have a solution. I will not ask him to start cleaning the house or cook. First because I really do love to cook at the end of the day. And second, while I know that he will do anything I ask him to do, he will do them in his own time which I do not have the patience to wait for.  I will just end up doing those chores anyway. 

I really need to carve out little moments in my everyday just like the taking an hour lunch at a cafe one day this week where I enjoyed a hot bowl of  vegan potato leek soup while starting  a new book. There were some great moments, too, this week such as the fabulous Restaurant Week lunch with BFF.  And her little Chinese New Year gifts of a "pig" mug, moon cake and cute card.

I also know that when life feels difficult, a moment of rest comes unexpectedly like today. I believe that God knows when are approaching our breaking point and He gives us that much needed break at the most perfect moment. I think, though,  the key to not reaching  burnout is in  "everyday" and not just we already reached the threshold of exhaustion. I still continue to struggle with finding those little moments or setting aside an hour of break. 

So next week, here are my intentions:
  • Close my office door during lunch time to read or write. No working while eating.
  • Go back to that quiet cafe and have the bowl of soup again once or twice a week. 
  • Bring my extra laptop to work so I can write. 
  • No more drinking extra cup of coffee in the afternoon even though my thoughtful co-worker gives me half of his coffee. 
  • I will take a day off. 
And what we really need? A vacation. In the last two and half years, I have been traveling all over the US for work every three months. As enjoyable as they were, I am exhausted. Mr Sweetie and I need to unplug somewhere warm with plenty of fresh food and margaritas or exquisite wines.

I do feel better after writing this post. Thank you for reading if you ever stumble upon my musings. Have a great weekend ahead.

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