I used to play soccer. I played a lot of positions over the years. I was a forward for a bit, but I wasn’t quite fast enough to break away. I played midfield and sweeper for a while, too. I settled in at defense, with a strong leg and the ability to think ahead and know the mind of the offensive player and outwit his next move. I love the excitement of the play, but there is something about standing at midfield – at the center line – and anticipating the kick off. It’s ground zero. No one is ahead or behind. It’s that one moment when there is no offense or defense. It’s dead center. It’s the starting point.
That’s where I feel like I am right now.
I’m really excited about how I feel right now. It has taken me more than three months to get to this point in my recovery – see The Slow Burn(out). It has not been an easy road, for sure. But I’m feeling really good right now. I learned a long time ago that you can’t always look at achievement in terms of completion of the goal. Sometimes you have to look at the BNI – the barely noticeable improvements – and celebrate those milestones. Right now, my BNIs are probably only noticeable to me and my husband, but they are HUGE milestones for me. I’m feeling really good as far as my stress levels and my ability to rest and gauge my day. I have, on several occasions, had next to nothing to do and zero on my list or radar, and I am perfectly fine with that! Now, if you know me, you know that in the past, that was NOT fine… that was a sign that I wasn’t working hard enough and should find something to add to the list. But not now. It doesn’t evoke the least bit of stress or worry or a need to figure out what else I can do or accomplish today.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading and studying during this time, I’ve been indulging my creative side, I’ve been exercising and tending to the house and gardens as needed, and I’m perfectly content. I have been making time for relationships that I have not tended for months. I have rested. I have done a lot of writing. All of this was part of a restoration process that was long overdue.
It has, in many ways, reminded me of the old Victorian farmhouse we restored when we lived in Texas. Years of neglect and abandon had left her in terrible condition. The plumbing was non-existent. The foundation had to be completely torn out and redone. Every time we opened up a wall or started a new project, we found more and more issues that had to be dealt with. It was like peeling off layers of an onion. Termites, rotten wood, faulty wiring. You name it, we fixed it. It was not a quick fix, either. We worked on that Old Girl for 15 years!
I feel like that old house right now. Every time I start to dig in to something in my recovery process, it unearths something else that needs to be dealt with. My foundation has been dug up and is being restored. And there has definitely been some faulty wiring that we have had to work on! But I’m feeling pretty good about all of it right now.
I know that I am, by no means, “there” yet. I feel that I have turned an important corner, maybe. Like I’m not winning, but I’m definitely not losing… I’m at center field. I don’t feel like I’m working from a deficit anymore, and that feels really good. I have spent so long feeling like I was exhausted and had nothing else to give, yet giving more and more each day and ending up spent and cranky and in worse shape than I was the day before. Compared to that – I’m feeling awesome!
I realize that there is still a fair amount of work ahead of me. I still have a lot of work to do on myself, on my faulty wiring, on getting used to the new wiring. I still have some tender and raw places that I feel like need to be protected. I still wince when someone asks about my schedule or what I got done today or what’s on my agenda, because that is exactly the battlefield I’m working on, and it’s still pretty easy for the Enemy to make me feel like I’m not getting enough done and I’m not working hard enough. The BusyMan (he’s my Boogie Man) seems to always be waiting around the corner. But I recognize him now. He’s in my headlights. And that’s another one of my BNIs… I recognize him and the threat, and just shedding Light on him is a big step.
I have a fair amount of fear to still work on. Fear of the BusyMan. Fear of our upcoming furlough and the pace of life in the USA. Fear of saying no to some things and some people, but knowing that I need to protect myself and continue down the road to recovery and not relapse into busyness and stress-filled days and full agendas. Fear of my own will power… am I strong enough to stand up for myself and say no and not fear disappointing others? I’ve mostly done all of my recovery within the confines of our little home and community – in a ‘lab setting’, so to speak. How will it play out in a bigger setting? I don’t know, but I’m ready to test it out.
I’m not there yet. There’s a lot of self-work still to do. But I’m feeling really good about where I am. Barely noticeable improvements.
*this is part 5 in a series on my burnout recovery… see The Slow Burn(out) for part 1