Last weekend, I spent all day Saturday reviewing and commenting on my students’ first drafts of their memoirs, as well as working on Sunday’s comprehensive sexuality education session for middle school students. The next day, I was off to church early for a choir rehearsal before the service and afterward, dashed down to our sister Unitarian church to help facilitate the sexuality class. It was close to five when I got home—time to put my feet up before getting ready for the beginning of the work week.

Monday morning, my husband stuck a love note in the lunch he packed for me to take to school. “You’re my favorite workaholic,” he wrote.

That night, I loudly protested. “I’m not a workaholic!”

“When was the last time you took a day off?”

I’m thinking, I’m thinking.

Truth be told, I do work. A lot. The problem for me is that there’s nothing I want to take off the table of my life. I love to write and teach, and neither can be done well without putting in the time. And what’s not to like about singing?

I seem to have come by this working predilection naturally. It runs in the family. But there is a definite price. Friday morning of this past week, I hit a wall. I went downstairs after breakfast to do my exercises before heading to my home office, and I literally couldn’t go on. I collapsed on the basement couch. My husband found me there two hours later.

I finally dragged myself up to the office, did the planning I had to do for Sunday’s workshop, and took the rest of the day off to do absolutely nothing—no exercising, no writing, no being productive in any way. It felt great! I got up the next morning and felt like a different person.

I’m a slow learner. It’s taken several decades, but I’m finally getting it. Even we work-mongers have to take time off—hours and days when we stop out to refuel our batteries. Sometimes, doing nothing really is a balm for the soul.

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