I have always been something of a workaholic, and while working half-time for less than minimum wage might not seem to be workaholic material the effect on my life, on our lives, was devastating. I bought into the idea that a steady job (ie. A steady income) was worth sacrificing my freedom.
I allowed another person to place a value on my time. Then, for that amount of money I gave her access to all my hours with as little notice as she cared to give. This affected my friendships, my eating habits and my riding habits. My home life revolved around someone else's needs. I didn't really recognize what was happening until I noticed that all these things were starting to affect me physically as well.
That's when I put a stop to everything. It helped that we had a trip to Sweden planned, which allowed me to walk away completely without second guessing myself. I consider it my Christmas present to myself.
Getting the balance back will probably be a journey much longer than the one that brought me to the point of physical collapse but it will be a pleasurable journey. After fourteen days here in Sweden I'm finally feeling healthy again. Nothing hurts and the “cold of the century” has been downgraded to the sniffles. I no longer spend every waking moment feeling anxious and unsure about where I should be and what I should be doing. With this post I'm reclaiming my creative life. I'm excited to start riding again when we get home.
I have so much to look forward to in the coming year, which I promise to share as things fall into place. There are a couple of things you can count on:
I will be in Italy.
There will be wine and amazing food.
Riding isn't something I'm trying out anymore. It's something I do. Expect to hear about it.
I will feed the creative side of my soul regularly.
I will be with Leif, whose smile still gives me butterflies and makes my heart beat faster.
I will write about all these things and more.
And because this post is so very serious you might think I've become a terrible bore, I will take this moment to summarize my time in Sweden up to this point.
People are starting to recognize me on the street. Well, not that they know who I am, but they know they've seen me quite often lately walking around their little town. They hesitate slightly before sending out a tentative “Hej”, probably hoping I won't answer. Or mug them. Then again, hesitating before speaking is common among friends here so maybe I'm reading more into this than I should?
I've had enough Swedish coffee to float a decently sized sailboat. I've had maybe two cups of really good coffee. You'd think in a country where the average person drinks 10 kilos of coffee a year and they spend 60 hours a year on coffee breaks (Östgöta Correspondent, 28 December 2013, pg A4) that the standards would be a little, um, different. On the other hand, their sweets are outstanding so maybe this is their way of finding balance. Great sweets, ho-hum coffee.
I've eaten more meat during our visit than during the last six months in Italy. I think I've eaten the equivalent of a small elephant or at least a full grown Clydesdale. Ditto for potatoes. Now of course I'm picturing a Clydesdale made out of mashed potatoes with lingon berries for eyes. The mystery to me is how I can eat all this food and still be hungry for every meal.
The only snow I've seen is when watching skiing on TV. I've seen a lot of snow. (reminder: we've been battling colds and don't get out as much as we'd like.) I still wake up every morning and look out the window with hope. I've got seven more days......it could happen.
Happy 2014 people. Let's make it a great one.
|You guessed it, at a coffee shop.|