I’d written this post at the end of 2022 and forgotten to publish it – it was more topical at the time but the thought remains relevant! I’ve just had an unusually busy few weeks (including 8 days in Qatar) and needed a reminder to give myself a little breathing room.
I recently learned the etymology of the phrase “under the weather” – it’s a nautical term from the 18th century, when in bad weather, an ill sailor would be sent to recuperate below deck, literally under the weather. Which seems a somehow apt description of my New Years Eve, as heavy raindrops from yet another West Coast storm plash like marbles into the growing puddles outside my window, and I curl up in a corner of my bed, unwell. I’m under the weather.
New Years Eve has frequently been a frenetic time for me, either because I’m on a gig or because I’ve planned a celebration. I remember one Eve, many years back, where I did both, conducting a concert and hosting a party (that involved copious amounts of the most alcoholic punch I’ve ever concocted!). I look back at the energy of my younger self with admiration, if not a small whiff of envy.
I know this is the time of year when we’re inundated with year-end retrospectives, and I don’t mean to add another voice to an already-saturated conversation. But during this particular turn of the year, when I’m resting and recovering instead of working and partying, I find myself with more time for both reflection and reverie than I’ve had in a long while.
This year has been, to put it mildly, a challenging one. The number of times Paul was admitted to hospital (8) and the number of months, in aggregate, that he spent there (4) and the procedures he had (nearly a dozen) represent just the simple arithmetic of a year that felt completely upended, that constantly tested my equilibrium. And while perhaps I’ve been able to maintain my sea legs, I’ve also been reminded of the need for self care, an area in which I still need a great deal of improvement.
I ended up in the emergency room myself (twice!) with palpitations and chest pain, mostly because I was dehydrated, under-nourished and under-slept, exhausted. I was admonished for not taking care of myself, and in those instances, completely overwhelmed by working full-time and caretaking, I wasn’t doing a great job. In my defense, I generally try – by eating nutrient-dense food, finding daily time for movement, blocking off time for sleep (even if I didn’t sleep the entire time), maintaining strong social ties, creating moments of mindfulness. You know, all the stuff you’re supposed to do. I’ve been pretty good with it.
But I’m less adept at giving myself the space and breathing room to truly rest my body and mind, because even in my desire to practice self-care, I’m focused on the doing, and I’m far better at doing than being. And for me, being means that I’m in touch with an internal state that’s not connected to or contextualized by some outer activity, and that’s difficult for me.
This week, when I haven’t been feeling well, put a hard stop on my usual activity, and at first I felt pretty resistant, and the desire to power through was overwhelming. And I know so many others who do the same, who try to push through even though their bodies and minds are pleading for a break. But in the last day or two, I’ve finally been able to embrace, in some small way, that my body has felt relieved to be still for a while. And while I’ve done the small amount of work that absolutely had to be done before 2023, I’ve acknowledged the restorative power of a few hours for a good read, or a few episodes of a Netflix obsession. Or a nap, or a cuddle with Pinkerton. Or just watching the mesmerizing quivers of leaves in a downpour.
I know I’ll have to go back to the grind in a few days, but on this New Years Eve, I’m putting the activity and anxiety of that future out of my mind, and instead allowing myself stillness. My body could do with a little more recovering, and my mind seems happy to have the time and space to wander. As rain continues to fall outside, I realize that in a strange sense, being ill has been restorative. And that I’m oddly glad to be under the weather.
2 thoughts on “Raindrops keep falling on my head”
Oh Sarah, what a tough year you’ve had!! I’m so sorry for you and Paul. I hope you’re getting the rest you need this week.
Bonjour La Maestra,
What a year you had, you and Paul. Life can be rough and tuff sometimes on the physical and psychological levels. I’m sure you’re both strong. Courage. Your couple will become even stronger from those events. My thoughts are with you. Indeed. I always believed in the power of the thoughts.
I was wondering about the title of your post, Sarah. Wasn’t it the main song in the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid” ? I forgot who was the singer, though. I saw that movie when I was a teenager. A good picture. The song was great too.
Thanks for having shared your thoughts in this post. Life will stabilize for both of you and will still bring you full of good moments.
n.b. : while I’m writing pug-Ô suddenly started snoring while moving his front paws. He was even trying to mumble some sort of sound. He was maybe playing in his dreams with a famous papillon dog. Who knows.