Every work day I have an insatiable need to vacate my office, even for 20 minutes, to get outside, hop in my car and either go to the bank, run some errands or grab my one-a-day Tim Horton's coffee. I may have brought lunch that day and have no need to go out and grab sandwich but I find that small break away from the computer, my desk and the ever-watchful eyes of the Cell Block C warden reinvigorates me for the next half of the day. And it is never at the same time every day but no matter the time I always have a companion.
Now I should qualify this: I hardly ever go out with a co-worker. A long established rule of only have one to two of the account coordinators out of the office at any given time dissuades this. The companion to whom I refer is the owner of the small panel van I park beside every single day. Some days he's taking a power nap inside the van. But today, he was sprawled out siesta-style on the small expanse of grass bordering the parking lot.
It's an ideal place really. There's a slow moving creek metres away, a few well-placed trees and more often than not, a really nice cross breeze blowing in between the strip mall-like buildings. It's the perfect place for a siesta. And that is why I almost joined him this afternoon.
After a weekend of unseasonally cold weather, the sun was out, the heat was up and the birds were chirping - even the seagulls seemed idyllic. Instead, I opted for the coffee, which was probably the more evil of the two choices.
This past Sunday, I headed out to the movies with my friend The Girl. I coerced her into seeing Eat, Pray, Love with me. My treat, popcorn and all. I know I didn't really have to bribe her but with The Man quite vocal that he wouldn't see this chick flick (oh sorry, the term he used was a movie geared to the female demographic, in his generic female voice), I felt that I owed her something for stepping up to the challenge to meet me for a movie that was not her first choice.
I had read the book so I knew the premise and communicated the basis of the movie to her. A woman who, just after her divorce, put everything into storage and traveled for a year to Italy, India and Bali to eat, pray and love. While it was an adventure of sorts, what came across to me was our avoidance in our busy lives to stop, listen, pray and rest. In Italy, Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts' character) learned to slow down and appreciate the sights, smell and taste of Italy. In India, she learned to slow herself down to still the voices in her head to let divinity in, and in Bali, she realized that balance between work, prayer and love.
Today, the siesta guy brought all of that out of the theatre and into my real life: taking a break away from work to stop, listen and lay in nature while unaware of the traffic around him. I realized that taking a break is not laziness but sometimes a necessity. I used to work a full-time and part-time job and did freelance jobs on the side. My whole life was a motion, moving from one place to another, one mode to another, often with no breaks in between. These duties would often meld into each other. I was the best multi-tasker but I often left one task out: to breathe.
Tonight, I am putting myself to bed early. The rest of my editing work can wait until tomorrow. What can't wait is my latest book that I've been putting off because there was always something else that needed doing. There are some things that can be put off, broken down into smaller tasks so they don't seem insurmountable or all-consuming. What I can't put off is investing time in myself.