350 // Perpetually Uneasy

The last hard days of the workweek, and the year, are over. Tomorrow is the Friday before the coming weekend, and the last workday before the schools break for the winter holidays. Most years I work half of this time in an effort to squirrel away my leave time, but this year I need time to rest, regroup, and reconnect with my aspirations.

I’m feeling burned out and the reason is hard to pin down. I think it’s simply having so little time for myself, or to myself. These next two weeks are a time to figure out how to fix that so I can begin again in the new year with a sense of purpose.

Still, I know it’s more than that. The pandemic is raging on and though I feel a little more secure since I received my booster shot; the threat looms wherever I turn. We have had a lot of breakthrough cases these past few months and though no one has been lost (thanks to high vaccination rates) some have gotten really sick.

To be honest, though, I don’t think it’s just Covid I am afraid of. I don’t even think fear is the right word for how I feel. I am perpetually uneasy. Life is changing so fast now and from day to day, I don’t know what news will come or what additional safety measures are in place. Shipping delays, staff shortages, financial crisis, variants, severe weather, threats of violence, threats of political turmoil—it’s all happening all at once and all the time.

When will we rest? When will we make the world softer, slower, so that we can recover from such suffocating unease?

Still, there are small joys everywhere I turn too. Today I received an email from my doctor with the results of yet another round of lab tests. My inflammation markers are well within normal ranges and my white blood cells, red blood cells, and liver enzymes are going about their work in perfect equilibrium. My ulcerative colitis is in deep remission and I’ve been given a clean bill of health.

It’s been a long and terrifying battle since my diagnosis. Just eight short months ago, I was readying for surgery. I was sure I would lose my colon, and now? I can do and eat anything I want. Of course, there are medications to keep on top of, and supplements that need to be taken. I have to take care to have more balance in what I consume. I have to manage my stress levels and take care to rest when I need, but that’s all just fine with me.

I have my life back!

The clouds and bitter cold has returned today. I nearly forgot winter was so close with all the mild weather we’ve been having. I dared to believe we might float on through the new year right into springtime with nothing but 40 and 50 degree temperatures and clear skies. I miss that blissful ignorance.

For a Monday the morning went by quickly but the afternoon feels nearly at a standstill. I blame the meds. Steroids and coffee together in the morning are a potent mix but the crash is unpredictable, sudden, and harsh. I spent my work hours after lunch doing menial tasks with the lights low in the office trying not to fall asleep and not to bring on a headache with the effort.

I’m home now, slightly earlier than usual and dreading the evening to come. There is still more Christmas shopping to do and I’m already so exhausted I know it will take a lot out of me to get it done. Still, it’s important, and honestly the ability to buy so much for so many is a privilege.

I’m looking forward the feeling that comes with having it done and the joy I know giving will bring to others. There is good that comes in the effort and more to be found in the season if you look for it.