My cat took off for a little respite this afternoon. She’s an inside cat, but every now and then I’ll let her out for an adventure. Usually she abides by the house rules: Stay in our yard, and don’t bring any other creatures inside with you. Yesterday she broke rule two, twice. This afternoon she violated rule one.
I typically won’t let her out if I have to be somewhere within the hour, and today I had at least an hour and a half (maybe two) before I had to leave for church. At 3:30 I started calling her in. At 4 p.m. I started to get a little annoyed—I had a meeting before church and I needed to leave by 4:10 to make it on time. By 4:50 I realized I wasn’t going to church tonight. By 6 I began to get worried.
Of course she strolled in on her own about 15 minutes later—no harm, no foul, as far as she was concerned. And the truth is, maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing for me, either. Emma’s little rendezvous forced me to take a much-needed quiet night in.
Those have become rare lately, and that’s a problem. Until recently a week filled with nightly activities was an anomaly. They occurred perhaps once a month, but no more than that. Now it seems I overschedule myself every week. (In fact, I’ve been meaning to write this blog entry for months—months!–and haven’t taken the time to do it.)
And I need a lot of alone time, a lot of downtime, to function at 100 percent. I am the happiest when a week includes cooking at home, cleaning my apartment, reading way more than I should, a quiet night or two with a small group of friends and maybe one evening out. This week, though?
Monday: Writing night at a coffee shop. Tuesday: Trivia at a sports bar. Wednesday: Dinner. Thursday: Writing breakfast at a coffee shop. Work party. Wine (or in my case, water) with a coworker and friends. Concert. Friday: Dinner and a concert. Saturday: Football game viewing, then a night on the farm.
Yes, they’re all good things, and that’s why it’s so hard for me not to overload myself. But I’m burning out. And when I hit that point, I’m not taking care of myself or caring for my friends (or my cat!). I miss all three.
I’m trying to get better. My calendar for the approaching week isn’t nearly as full, and I’m working on a project that requires me to slow down. It isn’t easy, and frankly, I probably need more help with this than I realize. But tonight was at least a step in the right direction—all thanks to a runaway cat.