This week, I again missed my Monday target date for new weekly posts. It’s important for me to remember that posting on Mondays is a goal (and a good one; I like to be consistent) but that missing it doesn’t make me a Bad Person. And remembering that is an excellent example of the principle of downshifting.
Like many women of a certain age, I learned to drive on a manual (stick shift) transmission. It’s a useful skill and when you learn that method of driving, you learn about the importance of shifting to a lower gear when faced with difficult driving conditions – a steep hill or an icy road, for instance. The word “downshift” is also used in America to refer to shifting from a stressful work environment to a more rewarding one. While in that context, the term often refers to switching career tracks, it can also be used for smaller changes – such as my last few days.
I’m at a point where a number of large-scale projects in a variety of areas of my life are all converging and while there are definite rewards to completing these projects, it’s also an extremely stressful time that has resulted in some snappish behavior, too much coffee and sugar, broken sleep patterns, and a great deal of damaged calm. Much of this is not my fault (timing); some of it is (also timing).
Tonight, I called a halt. My god-daughter, who has spent the last year of her high school career in Limbo-Covid-Land, is getting to participate in one high school ritual that has been preserved – the homecoming parade. As the chosen representative of her cross-country team, she gets to don a sparkly gown and ride on the back of a convertible driven by a handsome young man. She will smile brightly and wave generously to a smallish crowd of spectators, while wearing a corsage. And she asked me for help making the signs for the convertible.
I took one look at my daunting “to do” list, thought for a second about all the work I have to do and held very still for four seconds, which was just enough time for the Divine to nudge me and remind me that many things look important and a few things actually ARE important. Spending time with my 18-year-old god-daughter at her behest is one of the latter. My “to do” list is made up of the former.
I said “yes.”
We played 80s music, talked of proms and college dorm room adventures, fussed over how to make a decent border of Magic Marker pawprints, and checked four times to make sure the parking pass was in the car for Friday’s shindig. My Best Beloved contributed a story or two about driving the (literal) Drama Queen in his high school homecoming parade. We moved cats off the crafting space table about a dozen times.
We laughed with our girl and listened and occasionally spoke. We ordered Chinese food, took a detour to get Blizzards for dessert and ate at the table with our first dinner guest in more than a year.
And it was glorious.
The work (little “w”) will get done. Tonight was about getting the Work (big “w”) done.
And I like to think that, even if it took me a moment, I knew the difference when it mattered.
Slow down, Divas. It’s later than we think.