With just one post a month, you’d be forgiven if you’d thought this blog was long dead. If you’d stopped reading, I wouldn’t be mad. Sorry. Not sorry. It’s been a busy couple of months in the Lederhosen household. Or not? Like everything, busy-ness is relative. There are people like Mandi who train for half-marathons and finish 300-page dissertations simultaneously and don’t complain about busy-ness. I, on the other hand, take to Twitter to complain if I have to go grocery shopping and to yoga class on the same day. IT’S TOO MUCH I TELL YOU!
After too many years of not really working but never really taking a vacation, I forced myself into a 3-week Kur in September. Well, my body did the forcing. The exhaustion my doctor diagnosed years ago finally caught up to me physically last year and so I have had to start taking life less seriously and start relaxing more and this Kur was supposed to show me how to do that. It did and it didn’t and I’ll talk more about it another time — the fact that three weeks on a car-free island in the North Sea was paid for by my insurance company is definitely worth its own non-sponsored blog post.
Here’s what I did learn from the Kur:
That Germans believe in the sanctity of three week vacations. The basic belief is that one needs the first week to chill out — to forget email and work and stress and get it all out of your system, usually with a cold or flu to really force you to power the fuck down — and the second week to just be a beach zombie and the third to “erholen” which I guess means recover or recuperate but which linguistically seems to have its own unique gold-star status in German. Everybody needs to erhol themselves every year. Without Erholung, your time off is worthless, I guess. Which is why, some people have told me since then, most companies require that you take three weeks of vacation at once at least once a year. Why am I freelance again?
In a lot of respects, the Germs are dead-on with their belief. I got sick in week one, wandered the beach aimlessly during week two and then started making elaborate plans for relaxation during week three. Where it didn’t work for me was the idea that this Erholung in some way prepares you for re-entry. In fact, I wrote a short story about burning up on re-entry after this Kur because that’s exactly what happened. Oh, I’m nice and chill now so let’s just throw me back into the oven kiln that was my life? And see if I can squeeze in an hour of meditation into an already tightly packed daily schedule? Sounds like a fucking explosively good time! But I guess that’s the point of recovery, too, isn’t it? You aren’t the same afterward. My Erholung was so fucking fantastic that I felt like I couldn’t leave my house for a week upon re-entry because STRESS. There were cars and people outside and a house to clean inside and Jesus, the news just doesn’t quit. I couldn’t check email for ages and didn’t start working for like a month afterward. Gave me loads of time to think about all the things I want to change in my life. You know, to keep it from getting ueber-exhausting again. Except the earth is dynamic, as is life, and as you can imagine, trying to repair things while in motion is ridiculously difficult so instituting those changes is going to take a bit.
So that’s where I am at today. Erholt. Ready to take on life — and this blog — again. But I’ve got to cut these bomb wires while the bus remains at a speed above 60 mph and I’m not Sandra Bullock so you’ll just have to bear with me. There will be more again soon, I promise.