Doing, not writing

busyIt’s been a very full summer for me. I’ve mentioned most of these things before, but the quick-and-dirty list of what’s been keeping me busy includes

  • Increasing the garden from 200sf to about 1000sf (plus 250sf I didn’t get around to planting)
  • Growing eight crops I’ve never grown before
  • Learning to pickle (and putting up something like 20 quarts of pickles)
  • Running Preserving Traditions events once a month
  • …plus 2 preserving “work days,” the chicken harvest workshop, and a “how to stock a storage pantry” workshop
  • Arranging merchandising for Preserving Traditions through Downtown Home and Garden
  • Helping Mary Fox start a second branch of PT in West Bloomfield
  • Having my day job blossom into a very busy and highly creative (and mission-critical) phase, including developing a course I’ll be teaching in October
  • And, oh, trying to have a life with a husband and friends and family and such.

It’s been hard. I took on too much, frankly. I’ve stayed on top of the stress better than I ever have in the past, with only a few minor breakdowns, but this is in no way sustainable. I’m ready for bed around 9 every night and have a hard time getting up to exercise most mornings. I don’t feel like I have much “me” left to share with my sweetie and friends. If people need me, I get instantly frazzled because I have no reserves, even though I’m (just barely) staying on top of the day-to-day stuff.  This will continue for a couple more weeks, because I’ve made commitments through October that I won’t back out of, but I’m not taking on anything new for a while. When I do, I will be much more careful about how much I commit to.

The problem is, there is so much that I *could* be doing. Things that I really, seriously want to do. More workshops, more venues, more topics. There’s so much I could give but…I can’t. Sustainable living means sustaining me, too. If I burn out, I won’t be teaching *anything*.

At some point this summer, this phrase dropped into my head: I have done enough, for now. That might mean that for today, I’ve done enough. The dishes can wait until tomorrow. The weeds can wait until the weekend. The workshop can be planned later. Cooking with Laura will be a winter project. For now, I’ve done enough and what I really need to do is to rest.

There will always be more that could be done. I will never finish my to-do list. So all I can do is draw a circle around what part of this big Work is mine, and as they say, “Do all I can do and still get up and do it again tomorrow.”

That being said, I’ve had a weekend with lots of time to write, so I’ve “stocked up” on blog posts here and at Preserving Traditions (see the new feed on the left side) so you’ll be getting details on many of these projects in the next week or two.

Have you rested lately?



  1. October 6, 2009 at 5:59 am

    Hear ya, Emily… been feeling the same way here. I did start taking a yoga class yesterday, though, and despite it being “yet another thing” on the calendar, it was good to have the time to be in my body. Here’s hoping we can both find some rest this winter!

  2. Heather said,

    October 6, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Resting…I know not this resting you speak of. Heh.

    Actually, I find myself in a weird cycle of working like a fiend and then vegging on the computer for too long. I need to buckle down more.

    • Emily said,

      October 6, 2009 at 10:40 am

      Or, maybe you need to work like half a fiend and then not need to veg so much? More tortoise, less hare?

  3. Mary said,

    October 6, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Take it easy, sister. You are amazing regarding all that you’ve accomplished this year. So much of a kindred spirit, yet so much more wise and responsible than I. Hopefully,I’ll be like you when I grow up! Give yourself a pat on the back, make yourself a nice cup o’ tea, and hibernate. You deserve it you little busy bee!

  4. December 2, 2009 at 8:18 am

    I can so relate – to what you and Heather say. I don’t have kids or much of a paid job, and yet I feel spent so often. Usually it’s a good feeling, but this time of year it’s more like exhaustion. I’m not really ready to look at seed catalogs, even though I know it would be fun. Homesteading doesn’t seem all that conducive to proper “vacation” or even staycationing. There’s always, always, always something to be doing. I find that reflecting on what I’ve accomplished really helps, as it negates the perception that nothing is getting done despite all the hard work.

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