For five weeks now I have been waking up at 7 and getting to bed at midnight at the earliest. Trying to make up for the past two years, I packed my days to the hilt. Eating, drinking, shows, friends, museums, D, sporting events, and even a polo match and a circus. Walking till I could almost feel the pavement through my shoes. And then walking some more. Working, going out, collapsing into bed, and picking up a book because I could keep my eyes open just a wee bit longer, just to finish one more chapter, because I was reading books for fun again. Besides, with all that activity, my brain was still whirring by the time I got to bed. There was nothing I didn't have time for, nothing for which I couldn't muster up the energy.
"You're a regular gadabout aren't you!" my colleague exclaimed once.
"I'm just making up for lost time" I responded.
For two years I had felt like a hermit, a recluse on a self-imposed retreat from the world. I woke up without wanting to get out of bed. I lived vicariously through my friends. My life seemed to revolve around classes and reading and the library and exams and searching for a job. And now that I was back in a city that made me come alive...no way was I going to waste a moment of it. I was like an addict, slavering for more, faced with a stockpile of my favorite drug, taking more than I could consume, greedily trying to do it all at once.
And then I crashed.
A fever burning me up, my bones a mess of aches, my mind a jumble of groans, I woke up with heavy limbs. I knew instinctively I didn't have any infection, no germs were responsible for this. I had done this to myself. In appreciating everything around me, and being careful to check everything off my to-do list, I had forgotten one of the most important things: my health. Or rather, my physical health. I was definitely more sane now than I was when the sun would set at 4:30, than when I spent all day stressed and tired. More happy. More comfortable. More me. But my feet had blisters every day, my shoulders and neck were cramped and tired, my eyes were unhappy from staring at a computer screen all day and the tiny cramped letters of a book all night. I recognized the tell-tale signs; my body has a habit of letting me know when I'm pushing myself too much.
So now I rein myself in. Time to put a check on some of the excesses. After greedily savoring anything and everything in my path, perhaps a moment, now, to sit.
It'll probably be easier on my wallet too =) at least the parks in New York are free!