“I am weary, let me rest” – Pete Roberts (song)
That’s the title lyric to a song from the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. It’s a very beautiful track, as performed by the Cox Family, if not very remarkable. You hear it only briefly in the film, and it stands as a pleasant, low-key interlude amidst the soundtrack album.
That title line has also been the anthem of my past year. Not even the song – I have not felt close to death altogether, per se. But I have felt tired; very, very tired.
“Weary” in particular has felt like the best word for it. Tired was long ago; simple exhaustion has come and gone. If this last year’s journey has taken any sort of toll, it has left me weary of the travel.
To be clear, I’m in a far better space now. After many months of insecurity and uncertainty, my path is now well lit and smooth. There are still many miles to go, but that’s neither here nor there. Things are simply better.
That said, I still feel tired. My body and my spirit still call for rest, for reprieve. That is to say, I haven’t had a real break in a long time. At best almost a year ago I spent a few days visiting friends in Kentucky. But even fun trips can be filled with so much activity so as to warrant the old saying, “I need a vacation after my vacation.”
A self-destructive pattern emerges, wherein I guilt-trip myself for imaginary slights. Within my desperate search for steady work since Fall of last year, there have been many gaps without income. And during those gaps I would do nothing but fret over the hours wasted not making money. The result was time spent not having to work, but not being able to enjoy it.
Stability was the goal. Even as I mulled over and reconsidered and reimagined what it could mean for me to make even a basic living, all I ever longed for was a certainty that my monthly expenses would be met. With that in place I could let go of that anxiety, my vision clear to pursue other goals more confidently.
That time has come. My current work situation allows me my minimum monthly income, and mostly does not wear on me physically and mentally to the point that my outside hours are wasted in exhaustion. The day-job is also just shy of full-time, so as to allow time for pursuing my writing career which also brings in a bit of extra money.
In short I am in a position to both work and live comfortably, even if I’m not yet becoming wealthy.
But financial wealth is not yet the goal. I’ve been aware and honest about the current job market and financial times. Again, mere stability is what I’ve been looking for. But that’s not all. I need the rest. Lord knows I need a break.
But I’ve also needed permission for a break. I don’t mean asking for time off work; I don’t mean running away from responsibility and toil. I simply mean – I desperately need – permission from myself to not worry and fret over these problems, if only for a short while.
This is where self-forgiveness comes in; this is where simple self-kindness and love enters the play. I have worked hard for a long while now, and deserve a break. It’s not fair to myself to disavow this.
One of my biggest faults is self-imposed pressure to always be working, to always be productive. Even my off-time is filled with productive leisure, making music or reading books or watching films. There’s always something to do, and it always needs doing, even at the expense of relaxation.
It’s time to put those pressures away. To re-prioritize. This calls to mind cultural staples of “getting away from it all,” in order to “recharge”. They say, “Life is too short.” And I think I’m finally starting to get that, both consciously and unconsciously.
I’m not one for three-week vacations. Fun in the sun on sandy beaches, pampered pleasures, I’ve never really known that or longed for it. And to be honest I’m not in a position to take that much time off. Not without perpetually worrying about wasted time and money, anyway.
But therein lies part of the problem – the sheer worry over everything. I don’t know what it is to properly let those concerns go, in a healthy manner. But I can learn, and will.
I may not be able to take whole weeks off. But I can at least not fill my days with self-imposed pressures of productivity.
I am weary, and deserve rest. I owe myself that much.
© 2017 Day By Day Mental