July was tough. I’m processing and adjusting and using the challenges as an impetus to rethink my priorities. It’s all a work in progress and that has to be okay.
We’re back at the lake. I felt tense and tired and irritable the first few days – a ball of emotions all tangled up in one giant, exhausted, jumbled mess – it took time to unwind, with a few relapses along the way. A long, late-afternoon nap one afternoon helped. I made and ate my annual s’more; I roasted hotdogs and marshmallows and toasted thick slices of cinnamon raisin bread over a morning bonfire. I went fishing, made sand castles, and helped the kids build several “forts” in the woods. I watched hours and hours of Olympics coverage. I also ate sugar, much more of it than usual, as I let myself enjoy Mom’s homemade chocolate cookies and apple crisp with wild abandon, snacking on handfuls of her famous Nuts-and-Bolts. I drank coffee – lots of it – carting thermoses to the beach, in the boat, and on fishing expeditions to the marina.
Two of my favourite bloggers, Sarah Hart-Unger and Laura Vanderkam, have been talking about comparison lately. It’s a topic that warrants attention; we’re innudated with near-constant opportunity to compare these days – from mansions on Instagram to the perfectly manicured mom standing beside us at Tuesday evening soccer practice. My summer weeks spent at the lake all sound idyllic – and so many elements are – but I still felt the heavy weight of exhaustion no amount of coffee was ever going to completely counteract. We all want to put our best foot forward and I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. When we name the good in our lives it can buoy us and inspire others, but amidst the daily consumption of this material it can be nearly impossible to remember there is always, always more to everyone’s journey than their highlight reel – look no further than Simone Biles.
I continue with my exercise strike. One morning I woke up and said to John: “I cannot believe this time last year I would be up before 6:30, heading out for a run.” I’ve never had my body revolt in this way; not only do I not have the energy for exercise, I’m lacking all drive/compulsion to do so. Typically a daily exerciser, usually I start to crave it after a few days off. Current status = preservation mode? I know I’ll get back in to the routine, but it does feel strange and definitely is a wakeup call to just how tired and rundown I’ve become. That said, my recent combo of sugar + no exercise will have to be reckoned with eventually. Also, I can’t deny the irony of it all given my recent obsession with the Olympics which showcases the epitome of physical activity.
The kids fell in love with the Olympics for the first time this year. When Abby mentioned wanting to compete at the Olympics one day, I asked her what sport she’d participate in – “All of them,” was her confident and immediate reply. As I write this Levi is running laps around the house over and over and over, dripping with sweat, all in an effort to beat his “personal best.” I fell in love with the Olympics for the umpteenth time, as I do every time they roll around. I streamed live events well past my bedtime and checked headlines first thing each morning – not necessarily the best way to recupeate from burnout, but totally worth it. And watching Andre de Grasse take gold in the 200 m while my 10-year old was screaming at the screen willing him to carry his lead down the homestretch, well that was pretty awesome.