Back home now, for the rest of November. The last 21 days have seen me home only three days. The rest of the time I’ve been in Los Angeles, Dallas, Minneapolis, Washington, D.C. and Detroit. Teaching business writing, grammar, editing, proofreading. And that’s great.
Teaching is who I am, and it’s a rush, no matter where you are. Which, this month, was a question I occasionally asked myself. “Which airport is this?”
Last week was the hardest. I taught seven days in a row, and in one case, left one class, drove to the airport, flew to the next location, arrived at midnight and got up at 6 a.m. to teach again. This week my body began to tell me it had enough of travel, teaching, and staying alert. Next was spending a few days watching Sandhill cranes migrate. And then, suddenly, I didn’t have enough energy anymore. I just wanted to go home.
When the airplane landed in Phoenix, after a four-hour flight, I was tired of being cold. It’s a sign of being worn out, and for me worn-out always has a tinge of lazy accusation. But this wasn’t lazy. This was lost-four-pound-in-three-weeks due to skipping meals tired. This was run-yoursef-down-to-prove-heaven-knows-what tired. It was how I was brought up. No whining. No excuses.
And when I got home, I canceled the bird-watching trip. Yes, I would have liked to go. But there wasn’t a reasonable way I could teach a full day, fly four hours, sleep six hours and drive another 10 hours to see birds migrate. Instead, I dropped into bed and slept.
And today, instead of driving, I caught up on emails, clients, and classes. I ate homemade food and drank home-brewed coffee. And I stopped by Trader Joe’s and bought Clementines and a branch of rose hips because they were beautiful.
Yes, I have work to do the next three days. But it will be folded into stopping work promptly, spending time in the studio, and listening to the predicted rain. Self-care is vital to maintaining a good pace. Pushing yourself over the edge is not a recommended way to get more from yourself.
What’s your favorite self-care practice?
—Quinn McDonald is glad to be home and not wearing heels. Or running through airports in them.