June 19, 2024

all that i didn’t do

looking up towards a terrace in Kubota Garden a Japanese-style garden in Seattle. it's sunny and rainy and everything is alive.
photo caption: a terrace in the fabulous Kubota Gardens in Seattle’s South End. it was raining and sunny while we were there. one of my favorite walks from my time off.

Two months is a long time to be away from a routine. I shared back in January that I’d be away for a couple months. I stepped back from work, and this blog, and many more responsibilities during that time. Before I left, I thought I was fortunate because I knew the time off was coming. I was fortunate, in many ways, but not how I expected.

Have you ever been productive on a sick day? Or find yourself with a surprise day off from your tasks that you soon fill with different tasks? Me too! Going in, I had a few ideas in my head about how I would run my 40+ days off. I bought a bunch of books. I planned to speed-learn French and be conversant by March. I would go through the stack of papers on my desk and decide where to put them. Pretty typical stuff, I thought. I had so much planned! I got to almost none of it.

I still can’t speak French very well. I didn’t pick up any new hobbies. But none of the ideas I’d planned were why I was taking the time off. The only thing besides taking it easy that my doctor mandated was walks. Three per day, at least 10 minutes per walk. I didn’t miss a day. And I got to pet a bunch of cats! I fed the neighborhood crows until I ran out of mealworms. I took lots of pictures. We rented several movies from the video store.

The first couple weeks were not easy for me. I really struggled because I wanted to do more and couldn’t. But why was I complaining? Those days were much harder on my husband. They ran errands and did all the cooking and cleaning while still working full time. They insisted that it wasn’t a burden for them as long as I focused on the one thing I needed to do. So I walked every day. In the cold. In the rain. Once or twice in the snow (it didn’t stick). I watched a lot of TV and several movies I had been meaning to try. I did read some of the many books I bought. I checked out even more from the library, and read most of those too.

As my number of recovery days neared zero, I began to appreciate them more. When would I ever get to experience time off like this again? I was so fortunate to have the gift of time set aside for healing. For some reason I wanted to squander it on (yuck) being productive.

Now, eight weeks later, I am here. I’m grateful that I’m nearly complete on a full recovery. I’m getting back into my routine, including my fair share of the cooking and cleaning. And I’m better prepared to meet whatever comes next.


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photo of josh martinez

my name is josh martinez. i have always loved trying to understand systems, and the systems that built those systems. i spend a lot of time thinking about how to get there from here.

i own and operate a consulting practice, Future Emergent.

say hello: josh[at]bethefuture.space