Friday, June 13, 2014

Sink or Swim - A Little on Water Survival

I remember when I first learned the concept of drownproofing. I was in a pre-beginner swimming class somewhere in and around the age of ten.

The way that I understood it, drownproofing is supposed to be a life saving technique of conserving your energy if you need to rest and you are 'in over your head' in a body of water. You simply float and lift your head to breathe in regular intervals to remain afloat in a fashion that could save your life in an emergency.

I can't remember how long the 'drownproofing' requirement was in that pre-beginner swim class. I passed. Barely.

Drownproofing and treading water were my downfall in those swimming classes. Hand held video cameras were not the norm back in the '70's so there is no documentation other than that which is etched in my memory. I remember flailing and panicking and wondering how much longer I had to do this to pass. It took every ounce of energy I had, to remain afloat and 'survive' the endurance test.

That same feeling of exhaustion and wondering 'how long I have to do this' has embodied me, as I have tried to 'remain afloat' within this life-of-mine lately.

Second jobs, excessive overtime and being on-call deplete us. I have heard that 'even God' gave himself one day of rest. There are far too many people out there who are not giving themselves that day. Then even if you do get it, you feel like a pre-beginner swimmer as they flail in that pool of water, gasping for air, intaking as much as you can because you do not trust in your buoyancy (or when you will get your next reprieve) yet.

There is nothing (too) relaxing about a day off, when you must look into the distant future to find the next one. It is hard work to stay afloat when all you are doing is surviving.

As grateful as I am for my 'weekend job', it has almost done me in. Any time that I got a day off, I quite literally wasted it. My definition of waste is: not to do anything productive (namely, my family Book Project).

I have slept and watched TV through some of those days off. I have run errands. I have had weekends that have been purely frivolous and fun. I have allowed friendship and family into those sparse days off. I have rarely allowed myself to clean the house in earnest because that 'must' wait until I have completed The Book.

I have not given myself permission to fully immerse myself into anything because I am looking into the horizon and wondering how long it will be before I get my next break.

The summer months seem to have changed the outlook within my bookkeeping responsibilities. There is less panic and more room to breathe. I see many weekend days off in my future. I have finally, finally relaxed and savored many of the past weekends because I know there are more to come.

I have taken a few day trips. I have read three books. I have sat still on the deck and simply inhaled the moment. I have not felt like this in a very, very long time. Something has clicked into balance. I do believe that 'something' is regularly scheduled time off.

I need to know that I have a day (or two) that I can count on. A day (or two) that will not be a day when I may have to go in to work. I did have many weekends where last minute changes gave me an unexpected day off which were wonderful, but not being able to count on that or knowing that it came with a price ("We will have to work both days next weekend instead") and depleted the relaxation factor. Those days were akin to gasping for air while drown-proofing.

I feel myself charging up and becoming energized. From the inside, out. My ambition is coming back. My enthusiasm for life is returning. I don't feel like I am drowning any more.

Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim.” 
~ Tyler Knott Gregson

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