''Know why I'm whittling?'' Agent Dale Cooper asks in Twin Peaks, ''Because that's what you do in a town where a yellow light still means slow down, not speed up.''
I've been thinking about that quote a lot lately. How I define and redefine breaks. The other weekend I actually had a real, honest to God weekend, thanks to Memorial Day. Eli and I watched plenty of Twin Peaks, lounged around, went for a walk in the woods and sat by the lake, and even made s'mores with his family. I finished reading a book, watched two movies, spent some time alone, and powered through the final pages of the first half-draft of my novel.
At the end of this, although I was technically as productive as I am on my usual Wednesday / Sunday days off, I felt better. I actually felt, dare I use the word, rested. I wondered what the difference was. Was it because we hadn't raced to fill the spaces that opened up? Ordinarily when I get a Saturday off we already have the day filled to the brim before I can even ask myself what I need or want to do. But over this glorious weekend, I gave myself permission to not do nothing necessarily...but to not automatically fill the space. I worked, but I also recharged. I thought to myself, holy crap! Will I feel this well-adjusted every freaking Monday when my new schedule starts at the end of June? I have no idea, but I've realized that I'm always going to be changing the definition of rest for myself. It's never going to mean just one thing, as I learned this week.
Last week I hit some milestones for my anxiety, ones that might not appear to be so big to the untrained eye. We went to a Chance the Rapper concert, which was altogether amazing, and though the show ended at 11 pm we didn't make it out of the parking lot until 1:30 am, with a two and a half hour drive home on top of that. We also both had to work the next morning. Somehow, miraculously, I didn't have an anxiety attack. I was annoyed and whiny, but I never panicked. And considering we were surrounded by thousands of people and were literally stranded hours from home, that is a pretty phenomenal thing. This is compounded by the fact that I got up and did it again, not two days later, on Friday when we went to the Avett Brothers concert with Eli's family. The last time I went to a concert with them it didn't really go so well, and that alone was embarrassing enough to make me uncomfortable and anxious. So I was understandably afraid going into it. But aside from some pretty rough back pain, I made it out unscathed, and even got to see my boyfriend watch his favorite band perform one of his favorite songs, which was nothing short of downright adorable.
These past few weeks, in the afternoons and evenings, I've also done some serious apartment hunting. I've searched online, reading listings and ruling out place after place. As Eli and I have driven around, scoping out our finds, I've thought about how malleable and mutable human beings really are. I envisioned my life in each home I saw. Where I could go for walks. How long it would take me to get to work or Eli’s. How I would feel in each space, how I would decorate and make it a home. As resistant as I am to change, I am capable of it. I think, if we try hard enough, we can almost be at home anywhere. Be that in a car in a long line of traffic hours from home, an apartment in the middle of nowhere, or an apartment in the middle of everything. This, and my surprising lack of anxiety at these concerts, has been a pretty big lesson for me, as an anxious person who tends to see her peace of mind as conditional, as dependent on her environment.
Last night we caught up with some friends of ours, who we haven't seen in quite a while, and I remembered just how filling being with good people can be. I tend to think of recharging time as being alone, watching TV or walking or talking with Eli. But last night was, surprisingly, as recharging as doing yoga. I didn't feel stressed or uneasy. I'm glad that my definitions for rest are constantly changing and growing, because it would be so boring if at 21 I had already determined that the only way for me to rest is to do yoga. It would be so boring, and so much less fulfilling, if I hadn't learned that hanging out with lovely people and their baby dog could be restful too. I hope that this summer is full of surprising moments like these, and I hope I can learn to let myself just be, and grow. I want to leave my schedule open for once, and let beautiful evenings with friends fall into the spaces in between, sprouting up like green through the cracks in the sidewalk.