Perhaps the universe does sometimes give us exactly what we want. I am now in, as best I can tell, something like resilience boot camp. Nothing is terrible right now. But everything is also just a little bit not quite right:
- I'm finally getting back into the habit of exercise after having that awful Cold to End all Colds and my workouts aren't bad, but they aren't great either. I can feel muscles during and afterward, so that's good. But I feel worn out even while I exercise. I have not had that awesome triumphant badass rockstar experience in ages.
- I am working on my dissertation most days. But the work is s l o w going, and that is being charitable. Yesterday I spent an hour fixing my template because somehow everything went right-aligned. ?! I am lucky to write a sentence--one sentence--these days.
- All my acts of housewifery take what seems like forever to achieve. Making the bed feels like a morning-long chore. How is it that one person can dirty up so many dishes in one day? How does one cat shed so much hair?
- There has been more (and more varied) social time and it has been taking shapes that are unfamiliar to me. I walk away from this time feeling sort of emotionally sore--not in pain, but as though I've worked some social-emotional muscles and I can feel them. I walk away not quite knowing if I've worked these muscles properly, with good (sustainable, beneficial) form.
Right now nothing is bad, nothing is dire. I am not injured. I am not completely stalled. I'm just sluggish. Slow. Easily distracted. Tired. A little sore. Feeling my bones and my age and my worries deeply. If I was in real pain, I would (and should!) stop, rest, and heal. I am not in real pain; I am in minor ache. Proceed with caution, but don't stop moving. I don't want this to be my new forever pace, but I need to see this as an actual pace, and I need to remember to reward myself for movement that is mostly forward. I am going. I have not stalled. I can keep going. It might take a few more cups of coffee, a few more naps, a few more binge-recovery days; it might take a few novels, a massage or two, and a face mask.
This--and not some glamorous, All Set, shiny, couture fantasy--this is what resilience looks like. It's slogging on and being willing to be ungraceful, inelegant, dirty, a little bloated, tired, frazzled, behind, late, slow, wrong, out of breath, off beat, out of tune, underpracticed, and emotionally disheveled. And doing it again tomorrow. And then the next day. And then, when this season of dishevelment is past, when things are a little shinier, more polished, smoother, faster, and prettier, it means a stronger, more grateful, more joyful core.
There's a fight song in here somewhere, but I'm too tired to write it.