“What do you do for fun?” she asked.
“I, well, I, um . . . well my husband and I go out to dinner almost every Friday night,” I replied hopefully.
“And we really love to take a ride out in the country to visit our favorite vineyard. Just last year we picked these amazing antique apples there . . . Black Diamond, yes. Have you ever tasted an antique apple?”
My voice trailed off. Her soft smile wrapped me in a look of knowing.
She knew me.
She probably knew that on my lap, on our country ride, sat a pile of articles, papers, posts and projects. Maybe even a laptop.
Probably even a magazine or two, snagged from a pile of unopened glossy-covered promises. Oh no, don’t cancel that subscription; I’m going to read those someday. Every last one of them. Yes, when I’m not quite so . . .
For me, busy is a way of life. I suspect I’m not alone. Like many women I work with, it takes more than a loving conversation with a trusted mentor to illuminate the devastating effects of an all-work-no-play persona.
For me, it took a crash.
Actually it took two crashes. First, my own health. It showed up in a routine bone scan, but it was more than osteoporosis mingling with adrenal exhaustion frosted with Hashimoto’s Thyroid disorder. Who is Hashimoto and what is he doing in MY BODY?
The health issues were scary but it took an even bigger wake-up call to get me to slow down and incorporate a little more “play” into my life.
It was my father.
My beautiful, generous, effusive father.
One day he was my loving, LARGER-THAN-LIFE dad, who talked so much we could barely get a word in. And the next day, he was gone.
No. He didn’t die. At least not in the physical sense.
He simply fell into an abyss. The weight dropped. Skin hung from his bones in folds. The spring in his step became a shuffle. The impatience in my mother’s voice grew deafening, “Pick up your feet when you walk.” “Sit up.” “Drink some water.” “Eat, for God’s sake, eat.”
I found myself grieving the death of a man who hadn’t yet passed. I was grieving the death of his spirit, his joie de vivre, the pride that sparkled in his eyes when we talked. I was grieving for all the words I wish I had spoken when his mind was clear
and waiting to hear from me. “Drop us a line,” he would say when we parted ways after a visit.
I no longer travel with a pile of articles in my lap. The magazines? Maybe. If there’s a luscious article to read or a recipe I’ve been meaning to try.
So my tip is simply: Eat, Play, Sleep. And be present for your loved ones. Because life is short, time is precious and “busy” simply doesn’t serve us.
Sue Ann Gleason, founder of Conscious Bites Nutrition, is a Washington, DC-based culinary nutritionist, dynamic eating psychology coach, speaker, and writer. Her entertaining, cutting-edge articles on nutrition, healthful living, the psychology of eating, and the blissful benefits of chocolate have appeared in various publications as well as her own eco-friendly blog: www.ChocolateforBreakfast.com
Visit her website to check out her upcoming program: Inner Circle Body Wisdom Boot Camp.