Love letters in the sand. Panambur beach, Mangalore
About five weeks ago, I stepped over the invisible line where work and family collide and said, No More. With M at home from school, I was struggling to meet deadlines. Staying awake until 2 am writing and researching becomes rather impossible when you’ve been at it since 7 am every day. When I found myself falling asleep at the keyboard, mid-sentence, I gave up.
After meeting all my pending deadlines, I did what I haven’t done in the three years since M was born – I took a vacation from writing. I sent no pitches or LOIs and I have declined assignments from regular clients until June. My Google Reader was put to pasture and Twittter/Facebook/Linkedin got a break too.
With my computer off most of the time, there was nothing left to do but…have fun with my son. We made jigsaw puzzles, chased each other around the dining table, read books and played some more. I caught up on my reading. Someone kindly donated a whole pile of books for the Bookcrossing Zone that I manage and while I tag the books and number them, I’m also reading some that seem interesting. Not all are books I would have picked up voluntarily in a bookstore, so having them here in a tower at my feet makes for some interesting reading.
We’re also back from a mini-break, a week off to see my grandmother at her farm in rural Karnataka. It was M’s first opportunity to meet his sole surviving great-grandmother, although the chance to muck around with cows, a hen and a cat was more appealing for him, I think.
(Mangoes fell like hailstones around the house.)
Back from our break, I feel renewed. I’m still on ‘holiday’ until the end of this month, but I can tell that the excitement of returning to work is building. I’m still not accepting assignments with deadlines in May or early June, but the LOIs have begun to go out again as and when I find suitable markets. I’m catching up on my Reader gently, but social networking can wait a while.
Just taking a few weeks off has energised me physically and emotionally. I’m not so weary all the time, all the naps and early-to-bed routines are helping. I was in bed by 10pm during the first week of my holiday – I can’t believe how easy it was to just collapse into grateful sleep if I gave myself permission to switch off.
The time off has filled my idea book with new possibilities. This is a refrain I find so often – taking time off is good for your body , mind and soul.
As May nears its end, droopy gray pre-monsoon clouds hover over the Mandovi and temperatures continue to remain disgustingly high. I’m cleaning out my old office, a cordoned off section of the verandah that I abandoned after M was born because it is too far from the bedroom and with the noise levels around our house, you can’t hear the phone or the doorbell ring, or a baby scream. One still can’t hear the phone or doorbell ring while in that part of the house, but that might be a good thing if I’m trying to work! Part of the room will be a playroom for M (a table for his toys, a mat on the floor) that might keep him occupied and useful when he’s at home and I need to work.
With a new school year on the horizon, I want to plan and be ready for the almost three hours of toddler-free time that I’m going to get. Somehow writing with a newborn seemed easy compared to having a three-year old around!
June, I can’t wait to meet you.