Sunday ended up feeling very odd-not unpleasant, but odd nonetheless. The day started incredibly early at 4.00. I laugh as I write that, as not a year ago my regular weekday alarm would sound at 4.30. Ian wanted to be on the way to the airport by 4.30, and after seeing him off at security, I found my way back to the car, drove home and was back in bed by about 5.30.
I had planned to take Sunday REALLY easy and to be as kind to and on myself as I could. I had anticipated it might be an emotional day, so I didn’t want to place any expectations or pressure on myself for how I thought I should best manage the day. I ended up getting a very well timed massage at the end of the day, and later that evening I patted myself on the back for making it through a day that I had been dreading for some 6 months.
Since Sunday, I have managed to stick to a more regular and consistent routine, which is good. I’ve read the benefits of routine and I know how important a concept it is to self care. I’ve found enjoyment in a lot of the things I used to do often: cross-stitch, listening to podcasts and going for walks. I’ve managed to maintain some planned and routine acts of self-care too-relaxing bubble/detox baths, evening meditation. I’ve been getting back into books as well.
Still though, some of my newly acquired zest sort of fizzled out on Tuesday, and I’ve found the following days to be a bit tough. I’m tired. Really tired.
I questioned the exhaustion for a while. It didn’t quite make sense to me: I’ve been off work now for 5 months. While it is still a work in progress, I have been trying to implement a lot of the information I have absorbed about looking after myself. The last 4 weeks that I spent with Ian before he left were full of laughter and sweet moments. So, why the exhaustion?
I think it began to dawn on me towards the end of the day on Tuesday.
As I mentioned earlier, the last 6 months, while great and restful and purpose-filled, have also been 6 months where there was a countdown hanging over my head. The last 6 months, while I have been busy trying to look after myself more, and be still more have also been 6 months leading to a day of “imposed” release. I put “imposed” in quotation marks because it wasn’t as though I had a gun to my head and someone demanding that I participate in it. Ian and I talked about this a great deal in the months and weeks leading up to his departure. While it took me some time to eventually shift my perspective, for a long time I really struggled with the idea of his leaving. Around a month or so ago, I became more comfortable with the idea and gradually began my own process of letting go. As referenced in an earlier post though, this has marked another instance wherein I haven’t reclaimed my power of my own accord. There has been an outside event, over which I have had little control which has sort of moved me into the situation.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I have gone through instances like this in the past, and a lot of growth has come out of them. Still though, they have all been instances where I have chosen my power reclamation based on the circumstances of someone else.
With Ian’s departure, I had two choices: either let go or hold on. Holding on wasn’t an option for me. I’ve held on to enough things in my life to know that when I do this, I only end up really miserable.
I wonder if this countdown then-Ian’s filled with excitement and mine filled with something like dread-has had a bit of a wearing effect on me. Now that the bandaid has been torn off, and the countdown is over, I’m left sitting here in what I am choosing to view as an incredible opportunity: pick myself up, take my power back and start really implementing all of the content I have absorbed over the last 8 months. No more training wheels.
While the end of the countdown helps explain some of the exhaustion I am experiencing, I think there are a few other factors involved too, all of which are linked to one another.
While a month or so ago I started to begin the process of letting go, it also marked the point where the countdown to November 26th really made its presence known. As I am historically someone who has never relied on hope or trust, I viewed the last month spent with Ian as a series of “Lasts”. Last time we go out for 2 for 1 pasta on a Sunday; last time we go grocery shopping together; last time we get a tea together; last time making pancakes together. The strange thing in all of this, is that I knew and still know that while our relationship has undergone a shift it doesn’t signify an end. In spite of knowing this, I can’t tell you the number of times over the last 4 weeks where I asked Ian if we would still be friends after his leaving.
Living a month of “Lasts”, even if I didn’t necessarily want to admit that was what I was doing is also exhausting. In living with the mentality of everything being a last, it was an indication, I am now recognizing that I was holding on. Trying to let go at the same time as holding on.
I think the last week that Ian was here was when the “Lasts” really amped up for me.
All of this, then, I believe is what has left me feeling drained and exhausted this week.
I know it is temporary and that eventually with time it will pass.
It makes me a little bit proud of myself that while I initially questioned the exhaustion, I took some time to look a little deeper, rather than beat myself up. I don’t always have the patience or wherewithal to look for the true answers or reasons, but it is something I am learning to do more and more, rather than simply jump in and get caught up in my thoughts or feelings.