Tag, you're it
By Arley Hoskin
About a year ago I had two major life events occur. I lost my job and got married all in one week. Needless to say, it’s been a whirlwind of a year.
I didn’t rejoin the full-time work force until about a month ago. My 11-month sabbatical gave me time to blog, pursue freelance opportunities, cook dinner, run every day, read tons of novels, and spend time with my husband, family and friends.
When I started my full-time job for a wellness company, I thought I could continue to do all of the things I had done the last 11 months at the same level. Boy, was I wrong. I forgot how few hours there are in the day. The days of 6-mile runs and hours of reading Joyce Carol Oats were over. My “me time” had been cut by 40 hours a week. And apparently over the past 11 months I had forgotten how to juggle my work life with my personal life.
Spring is a busy time of year, and these days I find myself with something going on nearly every night. Sometimes I’m so busy running from one thing to the next I don’t have time to enjoy the moment. The lessons I learned during my time off about living in the present were now a thing of the past.
With so many plates to juggle, I felt like my life had become a game of tag, as in “tag, you're it!” I felt as though I was running from the inevitable burnout that would occur.
I remember playing tag on the playground in elementary school. It was not my favorite game. I enjoyed hide-and-seek much better. But these days, I can’t hide myself from all of my commitments. I shudder to think about what life is like when you have children.
Right now I appear together. Guests who come to my house see a nice and tidy home, they don’t see all the shit I shoved in the closet five minutes before they arrived. People who see me out and about see someone with it and composed. They don’t see the 10 p.m. melt-downs I have in front of my husband every night.
But I keep running in life’s game of tag. Hoping and praying that I never get caught. I imagine being tagged “it” and called out for all the ways I just haven’t measured up. You’re it and I noticed you served frozen chicken nuggets and tater tots for dinner last week. You’re it and see the dirty pots and pans you hid in the pantry before your guests arrived. You’re it and I noticed you’ve only worked out once this week. You’re it and I see how frazzled you really are.
My favorite part of the game of tag is the base. I remember reaching the random tree we called base. “Base,” I would yell as if to say, “I’m safe, you can’t get me.” I’m learning in life that it’s OK to try to do it all, as long as you remember to hang out on base every now and then.
This past week, I hung out on base when I had a conversation with some friends on my porch, and when I strolled through the farmers market with a warm cup of coffee, and when I celebrated my first anniversary with my husband. This week I tried to do it all. I fell short, but I made it to base in time to keep on going.