I had a bit of a lull at work this week. Not too many meetings, no visitors, no big projects, no short-fuse taskers, no fires to put out. It felt very strange. For the first time in weeks I did not have so much work to do that I couldn't think about anything else. And I felt *guilty*. Like I wasn't doing enough, like I should go dig up more work to do. That was when I realized that I had gotten so used to being overwhelmed with work that I had come to believe that was the normal state of affairs. And that this was bad.
So, I did not go dig up more work. I embraced the lull. I cleared a bunch of smaller things out of my mental inboxes, both work and personal, that bigger, more important things had pushed to the end of the queue. I left the office at closing time EVERY DAY. (We close early on Fridays for prayers, but I had to ask when exactly Friday closing time was because I had never, ever left that early.) I went to the gym three times after not having set foot in there for two weeks. I floated in the pool. I read books. I petted the cat. I went to bed early, and fell right asleep because I wasn't keyed up thinking about work. It was amazing.
This must be that work-life balance thing people talk about. It's nice, I can see why people would want to have it, but it's not an easy thing to get. I'm going to have to try harder to make a little more space for sanity in my everyday life, but when your job is driven by external events it's really tough to schedule that me time. One of the "lower priority" tasks I checked off my list this week was doing the paperwork on my Christmas R&R, which I had been putting off for weeks because I just couldn't find the time to get it taken care of. But at the very least I can give myself permission to make the most of the slow times. God knows they don't come around that often.