Last week I was drowning in work and feeling a little bit panicky when an instant message appeared in the bottom right-hand corner of my screen. It was from a co-worker who I hadn’t seen in several months.
Just thinking about you and hope that you are doing well. Let’s get together for dinner sometime!
I kept moving with what I was doing for a few minutes, mentally filing a reminder to respond to the message when I realized that I’d better answer it right away. I could already picture myself lamenting my lack of response and possibly hurting my friend’s feelings in the process. I took a few minutes to write to her and we decided to meet for dinner this past Monday.
We had a wonderful time at dinner and both of us marveled at how easy it was to fall right back into the cadence of our friendship. Even though we hadn’t talked in some time, we still connected as if we’d last been together just a little while ago.
It made me realize how fast our lives move. We have many different responsibilities and obligations to fulfill every single day with the largest portion of our days dedicated to work. Eight hours of giving ourselves to an organization or maybe even working for ourselves so we can earn enough money to feel comfortable. And yet, are we really living? If we spend every minute of our days stressing over the next task, worrying about a new process or irritated by an ignorant boss, then are we really living?
I’d like to think that I already take the time to relax during my work day. I’ll use one break to call my mom and one to go for a walk or read a book. Or maybe, I’ll just make a list of what I want to accomplish at home or even work on a new story idea. It’s me time. And yet, there are days when I don’t take any breaks or even a lunch because I’m so worried about the next deadline. My head starts throbbing and my eyes ache and a sense of despair settles over me. Frustration, stress, fear all bubble up inside until I can find a release valve.
I was fortunate enough to have a friend who cared enough about me to reach out. It reminded me that the work will always be there, the mountains will still have to be climbed and problems will never completely go away.
What I can do is put the pen down, turn away from the computer, step outside and take a breath of fresh air and find a few moments to just breathe and relax.