15 October 2010

Things That Are True - And The Body Says No Thank You

I've been running on empty for a while. Not enough sleep, not enough time, not enough focus. Just not enough.

Well, today The Body has said, "Enough."

Went to bed feeling not-great, woke up feeling not-good-at-all. This used to happen when I worked in the film business. I, along with the rest of the crew, would push myself, working 16 hour (or more) days in nasty weather, starting work at 6am on a Monday and 5pm on a Friday, which meant driving home at 9 or 10 on Saturday morning, sleeping the day away, doing laundry on Sunday, and starting all over on Monday.

On set in 1999 - Aftershock, a mini-series about an earthquake in New York. Photo taken by John Mavrogeorge. I worked my longest day in film on that show: 28 hours straight. Madness.

But the thing about the film industry, as hard as we work when we're on a project, there's a hard out. A pre-defined end date. Sure, if things don't go well during the shoot the end date may be extended by a day or two, but it's freelance, project-based work. You know it will end, so you push and push yourself, looking forward to the time off between projects to rest, recuperate, learn the names of your friends' kids, and wear something other than gore-tex and comfortable shoes. I would always get really sick a day or two after the words "That's a show wrap" were uttered.

I worked in film for twelve years; that lifestyle is habit-forming. I don't know how to NOT do things at mach 3 with my hair on fire. And that's good, I think. That basic operating system has made me strive to achieve, to learn, to grow. With time to rest in between spurts of tremendous energy output.

But? Parenting and running your own business have no hard out. Well, they do; everybody dies some time.

And today The Body is telling me that if I don't stop for a minute, that some time will be sooner than later.

Okay, Body, I get it. I'm listening. I'll spend the day wrapped in blankets, eating chips and chocolate healthy food, and watching TV trying to sleep.

And just so you know, Body, you didn't have to get all huffy when I dropped off some stuff at the Post Office. It was on the way home from The Imp's daycare. It wasn't really necessary to throw menstrual cramps into the mix. That's just not playing nice.


  1. I know exactly what you mean. Last year, after leaving a job, moving a family of four across the country, starting a business and finding out I was pregnant, my body told me: "ok, enough is enough. you need to rest and recoup." There was nothing I could do about it - despite all the balls I was juggling, in the midst of Christmas season, I absolutely needed to lie down and nap 2 hours a day for two weeks.

    Take it easy and try to enjoy some much deserved relaxation time!

  2. I've never worked in film, but when I worked in an office, sooner or later you went home. And when I was at home, that was the end of my day. There was nothing more I could do.

    Not so anymore. And I'm not sure how to change that.