“Breathe, it’s just a bad day, not a bad life.” – Author Unknown.
Mondays are awesome because it’s like turning the page in a book: a fresh start, a new beginning, a whole realm of possibilities. However, what’s on that next page might take you by surprise, cause a hiccup in your plans, or completely disarm you and leave you reeling and desperate for purchase. Today is one of those Mondays, the kind that one inevitably defines as shitty because they started off all wrong.
I went to bed last night fully intending to get up at 6 AM so that I could get some writing done, catch up on a plethora of teaching stuff, read for business and pleasure, work out, etc.—you know, I wanted to do all the things. But, when I woke up this morning to a painfully bright stream of light pouring in through our bedroom window, I realized I’d already screwed up. Through bleary eyes, I glanced at my phone and saw it was 9 AM.
Oh my God, I mentally screamed. I flew out of bed on stiff and unsteady legs, got myself into the bathroom, and then into the kitchen to snag a cup of coffee and leftover coffee cake. On my way back to the bedroom, I also collected my laptop and made a plan: I’d have to forgo the writing because I’d already slept through the two hours I’d allotted for that, so I’d have to jump straight into teaching. After thoroughly scalding my tongue on my coffee, I logged into my email and put out some fires there, and then launched myself straight into commenting on the slew of brainstorming assignments for all three of my classes. When I’d provided ample and individual comments to each student, my brain felt heavy and it was close to 11:00 AM.
So, I poured myself more coffee, grabbed a highlighter and pen, and immediately dug into the next item on my list: my secret research project. As I muddled through the dense terms and concepts, I tried to ignore the anxiety that rolled in like a thick and unwanted fog, and then, sparkled and cracked inside me like a sonorous thunderstorm, unsettling and imprisoning. It was a sign I needed a break, so I put my dense reading aside and threw on some workout clothes. I was no more than two minutes into my core blasting workout when a wave of sickness came over me and mingled with the anxiety that refused to abate, and I pressed on until I couldn’t.
In a frustrated huff, feeling like an idiot and a failure, I marched down the hallway and plopped into a chair next to Roger in the living room where he was playing video games. I pulled my headband off my head, put my feet on the coffee table, and took a deep, cleansing breath. It was 12:30 PM. And it was actually my very first, very real breath of the day.
Don’t forget to breathe. Inhale. Exhale. And begin again. You’re human, too.