Something strange is happening to me. Me, the communicator, the social creature, the compiler and checker-offer of to-do lists… I suddenly have a back-log of unreplied-to e-mails in my in-box and have become one of those people who only checks her voicemail once or twice a week. I cancel, reschedule, or otherwise bail out on social plans almost as quickly as I used to make them. My to-do lists — usually a source of great satisfaction — are sources of torment, the growing number of glaringly un-checked, undone items reminding me of my lack of productivity. I look at the calendar full of social commitments for the month, and I shudder at the thought of keeping them all. In short, I’m overwhelmed.
This can partly be blamed on the weather. February in Canada is no joke: it’s cold, it’s dark, and it sucks. Its only redeeming quality is that it’s usually just 28 days long. Every year the cold weather encroaches like an enormous, sweating, mouth-breathing seat mate on a trans-Atlantic flight: you are stuck with it, and even though it makes a relatively short time feel unendurable and shrinks your universe to a claustrophobic little space – it has to be tolerated until it eventually gets up and lumbers off into the sunset.
It’s only February 2nd so it will be a long time before I get to see the lumbering backside of this month. And my anxiety about e-mails piling up and voicemails cramming my phones is already spiking. I want to erase a good 50% of the scribbles on my calendar, I want to cross off a whole bunch of to-dos and just let them be not-dones.
So you know what? That’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m going to hibernate. I’m going to just hunker down, stop feeling guilty about not replying to messages, stockpile the comfort food and wait out this miserable month. Then I can re-emerge feeling fully recharged, perhaps a little plumper, and ready to actually enjoy all the stuff that keeps me busy. The stuff that usually makes me feel happy, not anxious; the stuff that used to feed my energy, not drain it.
I won’t cut myself off from the world completely (please, let’s be realistic — I’ve got dinner plans tonight!) but I’ll opt to be more socially spontaneous and less constantly committed. I think the rest will do me good. So, if you’re trying to reach me and I don’t get back to you right away, don’t take it personally – it’s not you. It’s February.