What I'm Taking Into May

Tra-la, it's May! 

Tra-la, indeed. We had less snow overall this past winter than last year, but April had plenty of snow/wintry mix, to the point that there's actually more knee-deep snow left out there this year than last. However. Today, it feels more as if Spring is here to stay.   

leaf on asphalt; black and white photos
are a whole mood, aren't they?

So here's what I'm taking into May, 2023.  

First, the fruits of my labours. April was full of the last manuscript revisions for my novel, coming in October--quiet time with documents in both electronic and paper forms. And pens. And I finished. Throughout that time, I learned a lot.

Between storms, I did a lot of errand-ish things. Things adults do. Taking care of business. It feels good when it's over, even though I complain plenty while I'm doing them.  

I have also learned a lot recently from professional organizations, such as The Writer's Union of Canada and their webinars, which they thoughtfully leave posted for a month if you can't get to the event while it's happening. I appreciate unions. 

I'm stronger physically than I was in the autumn. I've been lifting weights in the darker months, and I'm revamping my daily schedule to keep making those brief sessions attractive even when the world outside beckons. (I can wait 20 minutes. Really.)

Second, and possibly more important than the fruits of my labour: the fruits of my rest. 

Today is my mother's birthday--she died in 2000 and would be 106 today, and I miss her--and she was all about the work. Labouring was her wheelhouse. She loved to read mysteries (Ngaio Marsh was a favourite author), but she wasn't great at resting or just goofing around. It's a skill I've had to work on.*

But, speaking of lifting weights, rest days are important to improving fitness. So I've scheduled them. And I've learned the hard way that engaging in work or pursuing work-ish thoughts after about 7 PM does not make for restful sleep for me. Sleep is hugely important to my mental and physical well-being. So, I've been stopping work before supper. As much as is possible, remembering that imperfection is OK. 

Rest doesn't mean just sleep (even if you don't ascribe to the specific seven or twelve or four types of rest that popular culture prescribes nowadays). Rest means noodling, dawdling, and wandering. Staring into space. Scribbling or colouring or drawing without pressure. Taste-testing brands of chunky peanut butter, if that's appealing. I've even found it restful to remove from my home a few boxes of things I don't want or need. Your mileage may vary.

Work AND rest. Light AND dark. Activity AND stillness. Playfulness AND seriousness. And everything between. 

Which, come to think of it, is kind of how April was. A little of everything. It will be interesting to see what May brings.


* Although I'm great at lying around reading or staring into space, sometimes my mind isn't at rest. Instead, it's thinking of all the things I should be doing instead of what I'm doing. Brains are weird and magical places.