After several days of taking off, I am back. Not only did I miss a couple of days of writing here, but I also did only the minimal as far as my work is concerned. For someone such as myself – who thrives on goals and deadlines and tends to throw myself completely into my job – it was a rather strange couple of days. Since what I do for my living is something that others mainly do for recreation, it muddied things up a bit. After all – who wouldn’t want to play in the shop or do something creative to relax?
My best friend of many years (Cari) would have called this “Cherries Jubilee.” It was her story of overindulgence that she used to refer to whenever one or the other of us were feeling overloaded. The short version goes like this:
Cari loved Cherries Jubilee. It was by far her favorite dessert (and she loved desserts and her sweets, as I do.) One time she went on a date and had a marvelous dinner. It was fancy and tasty and she ate her fill. (Cari was not a large woman – rather petite actually.)
When she was finished eating, the waitress brought a dessert menu which included her favorite – Cherries Jubilee. Even though she was very full from the dinner, she was encouraged to order it and did so. When it arrived, it was the best Cherries Jubilee that she had tasted and against her better judgement she ate it all. She couldn’t resist it and it wasn’t the type of dessert that you took with you. So she finished every last bit of it.
After eating it though, she felt rather ill. So ill in fact that she never wanted to see another Cherries Jubilee again – let alone eat any. Her overindulgence of her favorite dessert had ruined it for her for the rest of her life. Which was a shame.
So whenever we began to feel overwhelmed by doing things – even things that we loved to do – we would use the code words “Cherries Jubilee” and remind ourselves that too much of even a good thing isn’t good. And if it were at all possible to change gears for even a little bit, it would probably do us a lot of good.
Funny how we remember things like that.
Regarding the last several days, it was a good time for a break for me. (Well – as good a time as I would find.) There are many upcoming deadlines that I need to meet, but I had just come of a tremendously productive period and I desperately needed to take a short breath. While I still filled orders and answered the necessary emails that come from the business, I tried to be as low key as possible. April is traditionally our slowest month of the year anyway, so it was good to take advantage of this lull and take some time to get away from the regular work load for at least a short while. I think it did me well.
I didn’t organize anything or do any extra cleaning. I had intended on baking something, but I didn’t even do that. I actually spent a couple of evenings just catching up on some of my favorite shows and doing nothing else in the background. Not computing. Not drawing or Facebooking. Sometimes not even playing my games that I like to relax with.
I slept like a rock, and I slept in a little later than normal too. And I didn’t think twice about it. It felt good to take a step away for even a little bit.
Yesterday I had the house to myself for much of the day. Usually, I would take this time to really tidy things up a lot, and go like a tornado through the place cleaning. But besides the bed-making and dish-washing and regular tasks, I didn’t go further. I spent the day doing some things that I wanted to catch up on and spent the rest of the time doing some other things that I wanted to do. I actually watched a movie, and in the evening caught up on one of the shows that I enjoy without any computer going in the background. It felt strange, but good.
So today is Monday and I feel ready to step back into things. The sun is out and it is going to be a beautiful day. It is a new week and I have a nice long list of things that I want to accomplish. And I have some great new ideas, too.
I feel much better than I did a couple of days ago. I feel fresh and I look forward to getting to work again. I knew that I had done the right thing when in the middle of the day I started thinking about work and the next thing I wanted to accomplish. It is good to be anxious to begin your next job. I think that it makes for the best results.
So I am ready to jump in with both feet and get started on some new ideas. I have many deadlines that are coming up quickly. We are already working on the holiday issue for the magazine and also for the Artist’s Club submissions, and if I don’t work quickly, I won’t be prepared.
I am happy that I took this time off. It is good that I learned from my friend Cari that there are times we need to pass on some things – even if they are something that we enjoy doing very much. It isn’t always easy to do so – especially when you are doing something that you like. But if we ignore our instincts and indulge anyway when our hearts are telling us to step back a bit, we run a risk of ruining the things which we take so much pleasure in doing. And that would be a shame.
This type of self-discipline doesn’t come easily or naturally. I have seen many wonderfully talented people burn themselves out because of it. With very few exceptions, I think everyone needs a break from their daily routine now and then. It makes one healthier and it also reminds us of why we enjoy doing what we do so much.
And sometimes taking a pass on the Cherries Jubilee will make it taste even better then next time around.
Have a great Monday!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"