Thursday 21 November 2019

Pup (and work) til you drop

My life for the last month has been the most peculiar mix of being unusually busy at work, being very tired as a result, me rather enjoying taking a break from my overactive mind, and a new preoccupation with bodily fluids. Oh, and puppies. There are 2 puppies who are highly enjoyable, but also a LOT of work.

Let me take right now as an example: I'm sitting on my computer in my bedroom, at 10 past 8 in the evening, and I'm already itching to go to bed because it's "getting kind of late". However, my bed is currently steadily getting soaked in saliva from Teddy's rhythmic licking of her latest bandage, which by now I know won't affect her wound (the bandage is water-proof), but the slowly spreading pool of spit does nothing to improve the quality of my mattress. I should change the sheet, but who am I kidding: I won't. It will just get soaked again later tonight or tomorrow, so I don't bother. 

Once I go to bed, I rarely sleep through the night these days; not only does Teddy sleep in my bed since her surgery, I also wake up at the first sound of her licking, to check that her bandage is still securely in place.
If I'm not awoken by her licking then it's every faint noise coming from Dixie's crate, located right next to my bed, because her bladder is still woefully unreliable and needs relieving at night sometimes. 
But even if the dogs don't wake me up at night, my alarm clock will, because I've been training at the 100 km-away Kamloops Hospital for the past month, usually getting up at ungodly hours to be there for a 7- or 8 o'clock start. 
My training is now finished, but I've been picking up as many shifts as they offer me to become comfortable once again at skills I used to have mastered, but became rusty at over the past 3 years. 

Life for the last few weeks has been focused on my job, which has been both physically and mentally demanding, and channelling my remaining energy into immediate needs like training puppies and healing wounds, about mopping up pee and collecting fire wood for the winter. I've also cooked several meals for guests, done way more laundry than 2 people should generate, we've installed an invisible dog fence (no small feat on a 10-acre property), and I've obsessively monitored Teddy's licking, healing and bandaging process.    
It's been a time of having no time to think and agonize and obsess, and it's been  really good for my mental health. *For a limited time only.*
There has been no creative process whatsoever, and I miss it badly. As numbing and temporarily relieving as it is to be physically so tired at the end of the day that I fall into bed without having time to do anything else, that's not how I want to live my life long-term. I want to be present as much as possible every day, and I want to have enough downtime to enjoy everything I've created over the last few years. 
Dixie would be house-trained by now if I could spend more time with her, and I hate not seeing them during daylight most days. I know that perfect balance isn't achievable every day, and being casual at my job tends to go in a pattern of feast or famine; but I'm working towards a better balance to life overall. Next month I'm turning 40, and I already feel the little warning signs my body is giving me: the pinch in my knee warning me to take it easy, the exhaustion telling me to make sure I rest enough, the bags under my eyes telling the story of too much work and not enough relaxation.  

I keep hoping that "things will calm down", but unless I make them calm down they won't. I'll take the last few weeks of 2019 to sit down and assess what's really important to me for the future, and to work towards finding that elusive and magical "work/life-balance". 

The bad news is that there is still lots of room for improvement; the good news is that I'm further on the way than ever before! I've learnt to find and create little pockets of rest, joy and relaxation every day, and these photos are proof of that. They were all taken over the last few days in the midst of my hectic season, and finding those pockets of stillness and enjoyment are what make all the difference.  
I'm wrapping this up now because it's time for bed (the saliva has dried, too!), but I will find another hour to report back soon. Life is nothing without the magic of creating something, and stringing words together to create a story is my favourite expression of creativity.


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