Ah, yes…. a word we don’t hear much any more: chagrin.  Sharing from the all-knowing Internet, “chagrin” is defined as (1) embarrassment or discomfort at a failure, (2) melancholy, anxiety, or vexation, (3) disquietude or distress of mind as a result of humiliation, disappointment, or failure.   One can use the word as a verb as well, such as “to chagrin” another person.

But it is the noun we need this day, as in “It is with chagrin that I am back at my keyboard today, when my last blog post (nearly two months ago!) was about self-care and making time for what’s important in one’s life.”  Yes, yes, it’s like that.  Chagrin.

I can neither explain nor imagine where two months have gone, but just like that >>>pffffffftttt!!!<<< here we are in mid-October!  The garden is frost-scarred, the folks have left to winter in Arizona, and leaves are falling as we speak.  Evidently it doesn’t matter that I’m not ready.

There have been too few evening walks on the breakwall to circle our lighthouse and watch the sunset.  Lake Michigan beach sand has only found my toes once this season.  And we haven’t been out on the water at all.  We live where others yearn to vacation, oblivious to the beauty as we trudge along in our daily lives, mowing lawns, paying bills, cooking, cleaning, and all the rest.

So now I have to look at how I got here.  I’m not one to dwell overly much on missed opportunities, but some reflection is valuable to change a pattern.  My pattern definitely needs to be changed.

I’ve just come off a marathon week of “doing” for others.  My regular job is around 21 hours a week.  I have a second job that varies, but with Conventions happening in 10 locations last weekend, there was plenty to do.  Another 27+ hours there.  I help in my husband’s clinic which is an ongoing thing.  And supporting our son with his health and other needs is perpetual.  We don’t count the hours there, but they happen even if they happen 10 minutes at a time.

I was giddy by Saturday evening, ears ringing and attention strobing.  I was the walking embodiment of “over-tired.”  Sunday was a recovery day – a rare thing in this house.  It was wonderful because it served as a re-set after life has been out of control.

We slept in, lounged around in pajamas, sipping our morning beverages and frittering away time on Facebook.  We took naps and read books.  We went out to dinner.  And then we sat around some more.

Strangely, life doesn’t look the same now.  We are calmer, happier, and I daresay just as productive.  We have all the same obligations.  All the same challenges.  But to face them from a place of recovery rather than a place of depletion makes all the difference.  The challenge now is to maintain that mindset without enduring another marathon week and burning out.

My new pattern needs to include more down time, more me time, even if I have to schedule it.  Little vacations for an hour or an afternoon or 10 minutes at a time.  We’ll see if we can’t keep burnout at bay.


(c) 2018, J.L. Cools

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