I Should Love Slow Days, But I Don’t

Image from wikipedia commons

Image from wikipedia commons

 

I’m 40 years old, so I should like these quiet days, right? I should enjoy the respite that comes on the rare days when I’m caught up at work and the phone isn’t ringing off the hook and there’s no interesting email to speak of.  On these days, I get to exhale little by little without racing to or through the next thing.  Isn’t this what women my age on coffee commercials are dying for?

I should wrap these days around me like a handmade afghan, brew some herbal tea, and lounge in my favorite pj’s.

But I don’t.  While work hanging over my head makes me anxious, being all caught up brings another sort of dread—I feel useless and bored and lethargic.  Voice mails raise my blood pressure because (1) I have to listen to them and (2) I might have to do something about them, if only make return phone calls.  But when I don’t get them, I feel lost and a little voice whispers you have no friends, and you will die alone with no pallbearers to hoist your casket.

In the spaces between all the things there are to do, I panic.  I brood.  I get extra tired.  I need more snacks.  On those days, every email from the Gap and Kate Spade and J. Crew entices. Maybe they have what I need. 

The technical term may be boredom that word is too simple for what I feel.  And my therapist says that boredom is just a code word for loneliness, so think about that the next time you tell yourself (or hear your kids tell you): I’m bored.  Maybe that’s it.  Maybe I’m just lonely today.  No one seems to be around and I don’t have a crushing pile of work to rev me up or distract me.

And the retail option that has always been my sure thing is complicated now that I’ve read a zillion Facebook posts about going minimalist.  I get it; I really do.  Having more stuff isn’t going to make me happy, but sitting here bored lonely isn’t such a fancy cup of wonder either.

So, I’ll sit here and explore this pocket of loneliness. Face it without a chaser or until I think of one that might still work for me.  Until I do, I’ll sit back, but I won’t relax and I probably won’t enjoy it.

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35 thoughts on “I Should Love Slow Days, But I Don’t

  1. Oh, I am so like you! When I’m super-busy, I fantasize about having a little down time and then once things lighten up a bit, I get all antsy and fidgety. I’ve been thinking a lot about the loneliness thing too – working out some thoughts/blog ideas in my head – but really I think it boils down to the fact that so many of us are really lonely, even if we’re surrounded by a bunch of people. I think that some of us need to connect and feel connected more than others and this can lead to feelings of loneliness at a lower threshold point. Not sure if that’s making any sense, like I said, still working it out in my head…

  2. I’m with you. I don’t know what to do with myself when I don’t have something that *NEEDS* to get done hanging over me. And voice mail–don’t get me started. 80% of the reason I quit the arts administration job I had after I quit graduate school is because I couldn’t handle having to call All Those People back!

  3. One thing I really miss about a structured work environment is calling a friend to get a cup of tea in the cafeteria when things slowed down.

  4. My husband and I had a very interesting conversation last night. He doesn’t understand why I do what I do (nothing) with the 8 hours a week I have alone while all of the boys are in school. I like being alone. I like it quiet. I think because I am still wading in the chaos of being the ‘get me this’ lady once someone finally stops asking me for something I am genuinely happy.

    • I totally relate. Being still in the solitude does feel good after being the get it girl. I wish I could hold that more. And wait. Your boys are only in school 8 hours a week? How’d I miss that?

      >

      • B goes Mon, Tues, Thurs 8:30-3 and 1/2 days Weds & Fri. The twins go for around 2 hours a day 4 days/ week. This fall when they’re 4 they have the same schedule as their brother, so that will be like oodles of hours. No clue what will befall me!

  5. Totally relate to that last line. It’s just the human condition I guess. Swinging back and forth from Argh I have too much to do to Wait, I suddenly feel empty and anxious without too much to do.

  6. I don’t think I’ve experienced this slow time of which you speak. When the kids are awake, life goes 800 miles an hour. While they sleep I go 900 miles an hour trying to beat the clock and get everything done before they wake.

    The only slow I’ve felt in eight years is solo travel, and I read then write then read then write then…

  7. I hate being caught up at work. I feel like my job isn’t relevant if I have nothing to do. So I make up projects, projects that most of the time seem to help. I hope I don’t run out of projects.

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