I know there are people who can work 80 hours a week, who can go from morning until night with barely a break. I know there are people who thrive on this, who actually enjoy it (these people are clearly crazy masochists).
I am not one of these people. For most of the last 8 weeks, my life has been heavy on the work side and light on the play part. Things are finally lightening up since I finished two classes last week. But I've yet to feel that relief or giddy joy that comes with the end of a tough class.
I feel broken and numb and tired and old. I know these are temporary feelings. I know my joy will thaw out, but right now it feels just like that, frozen, covered up by days and days of scar tissue from over-working myself to the point of exhaustion. And I know that there are people out there, lawyers and surgeons and NASA scientists, who would look at me and laugh hysterically. Because summer classes and freelance work are not, comparatively speaking, even that hard of work.
But my personality does not do well in 24/7 stress. I feel like my soul has always breathed most easily when given lots and lots of space, lazy hours on a Saturday to read or write, evenings with wine and TV, vacations and idle hours browsing bookstores for new stories and grocery stores for new recipes. When that space is taken away, when I can't ever fully relax because there's always 20 things on my To-Do-list, I gradually start to feel myself fading.
I've felt like that this summer. I don't quite feel like me. And I know this may be ludicrous to some people. Some people have to work crazy hours to support themselves and/or their families and never fully get the luxury of relaxing because other people's livelihoods depend on it. People in some places in this world have to work 12 hour days just to eat.
And I'm blessed that I don't have to work constantly to you know, eat. I am tremendously blessed that I can even take hours to write blogs or watch movies or shop. But I've been reminded this summer how, as silly as all of those things are, to me they aren't unnecessary. I could have been a peasant, but not a good one. I would have been miserable and robotic. I would not have whistled while I worked. I would have silently weeped while plowing my fields.
In two weeks I'm going to finished the summer semester and have a three week break before the fall semester. And during that time I'm going to Charleston, to that lovely city full of so much beauty. Because I know in Charleston I can get myself back. In Charleston I'll be surrounded by like-minded souls, people who live there because they need to be surrounded by that beauty-by long walks on the beach and good food and reading on a dock by a tidal marsh. In Charleston, life isn't about work. It never could be. Life, the core of life, what makes life a life at all, is about everything that exists outside of work.
I want to feel like me again, at home in my own skin, after a summer of getting my joy slowly ground down by exams and homework and deadlines. And so I turn as I always do in times of need, to that city of bridges and salt and sea for miles. I'm really looking forward to coming home.