When the Morning Comes Too Soon

I usually love mornings. 

Fall mornings. Air crisp with decay. So cold you have to snuggle deeper into the blankets, wear the fuzzy socks. I smell the coffee and listen as the birds sing their last songs before flying farther South. As the only resident morning person, I like the alone, the quiet, the relaxing into my day.

Not this morning. To Autumn

After yesterday’s flurry of grading and writing and planning and doing all the things my little self could–I’ve hit that proverbial cliché wall. I feel the exhaustion running deep in my veins. I feel so tired that I could bite into it like an apple. As I look over my to-do list, I’ve crossed off one thing.Just  one thing. Hell, the list only has 5 things to do. How hard is that? I keep telling myself  while listening to that inner drill sergeant shaming me, guilting me for not being further along.

Perhaps, I’m a bit of a work-a-holic.

For this college English instructor, I’ve been on Fall Break. I had promised myself that I would catch up on all the grading, all the household chores, all the things I’ve pushed to the end of my to do list.  This long weekend, I’ve scrubbed and graded and planned out my library and packed up my books to paint the room for it. I’ve worked and worked, and of course, I wonder why I’m so freakin tired.

Slowly, I have realized that when I truly commit to anything that I hyper-focus and overwork myself. I drain every last store of energy into lesson plans or home improvement projects or writing projects. Until there is nothing left and I can’t run on fumes forever. I feel hollowed out and stretched too thin, and I know I need to disengage and recharge. But the guilt is sometimes worse than the exhaustion.

But I’m at a loss for how to relax and refuel when my mind keeps telling me that any kind of recreation is for WHEN ALL THE WORK IS DONE!

Really, it’s not. I know that I’m a better person when I have written, when I have sipped a bit of wine on the porch and watched the golden hour melt into twilight, when I have read a novel that I’m too embarrassed to admit to reading because it isn’t high brow or literary enough, when I sit down and watch TV that feeds my muse.

Maybe, you’ve got this thing all figured out, how to live balanced and centered. But I don’t. Tomorrow, I will run passionately wild and collapse from exhaustion, but today, I’m ignoring the to do list.

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