work – noun \ˈwərk\

: a job or activity that you do regularly especially in order to earn money
: the place where you do your job
: the things that you do especially as part of your job


I took a nice long break over the past two weeks of holidays. My to-do list was trimmed down to essentials only. And for several days in a row, I did no work. No writing, editing, marketing, emailing. No cooking, cleaning, straightening, sorting. No driving, arranging, organizing, managing.

During that season, I mostly shopped only for things I wanted, not needed. Or for no things at all, just looking. I ate food prepared by others, and I read for entertainment and sustenance, not “have to’s.” I played games and watched movies. I laughed hard and cried very little. Twice I gathered supplies and made things when it would have been easier to buy them.

And I slept. Oh how I slept. I fell asleep early some nights. I slept in late some mornings. I took naps occasionally.

Then, sometime around last Friday, something changed. I became irritable, irascible. I snapped at my husband and cried in the bathroom. When we took down the Christmas tree, I rearranged the furniture three times before it felt right. I carried two baskets of laundry up two flights of stairs all at once and felt like a martyr for doing so. For hours I wondered what was happening, why my season of rest was ending so miserably.

As the day progressed, along with my crankiness, eventually the reason became clearer.

For starters, Steve also had been off work for several days, and with the boys home from school and family members visiting over the holidays, I had had little time to myself lately. Taking 30 minutes alone for a long, hot shower and a little pampering did wonders for my surliness.

But as I reapplied make-up and blow-dried my hair, the biggest reason became startlingly apparent: I was ready to get back to work. Not just quickly checking email or spending a few hours wrapping up the year for clients. I needed the early wake up, the structure of a day’s worth of hours, the purposefulness of productivity, the satisfaction of quitting time, and the discipline of fitting in the chores after dinner. I longed for the tired feeling after a day of work rather than the sluggishness of days that all ran together.

Don’t get me wrong. The downtime was a Godsend. A gift. A necessary stopping after a busy season of going.

But now, I’m ready to go again. I’m ready to get back to work.



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Photo by Cindee Snider Re, used with permission. Definitions of my word of the week are from Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online.