Part of Feng Shui-ing my life involves de-stressing, I know this. I’ve really got the declutter thing down pat, but the de-stressing problem is one that is a little harder to eradicate.

I say this because it involves the inability to block out stressors that are put in front of me which I have nothing to do with, yet they somehow become my pain, my problem.

No matter how much you try to block out the offending stressor, when it comes to family, you can’t help but to get all caught up in it, whether you put a mind to not do it or not, and I understand that. You child gets hurt and their pain becomes your pain. It’s a natural part of the mother process.

My almost thirty-year-old daughter, for instance, experiences excruciating headaches. She has had brain scans which turn up nothing, been ordered to take prescriptions that don’t help, and been told it’s “all in her head”; something that makes her more stressed which doesn’t help to alleviate the stressor and so also becomes my stressor.

I told her to stop letting herself get so stressed and her headaches might back off. I don’t know if she’s working on that, but I didn’t realize that even though my wisdom makes a lot of sense since stress equals illness, I wasn’t practicing what I was preaching.

My life consists of running virtual book tours during the weekdays (an 18-hour a day job there) and waiting tables (call me silly but I like extra spending money) three nights and 2 days a week. If you compute all this craziness, that leaves maybe a couple of hours to do what I want (minus sleeping time).

Since I moved into this condo, I have found there are zillions of things I can do here. I can take the dogs walking down a trail, I can ride out to get ice-cream at Mr. Whippy’s or I can take a ride to the beach and run my toes through the sand and listen to the surf. I can rent a bike or go jet-skiing (not that I’d have the guts to do that). I can go to a movie, eat out at a fancy restaurant overlooking the water or I can stroll along Main Street and window shop. And that doesn’t include what I could do at my own condo which includes fishing and crabbing off my own pier.

Or, I could just sit and watch TV.

I have tried to get in some of those things but between the two jobs, it was wearing me out. My offline job was driving me bananas with the boss biting my head off at forgetting things (a symptom of taking on too much) and trying to handle ten tours alone was a bit much and I had all this going on at once. It was like a huge battle going on inside my head and I was probably going to blow up or lose it any minute.

Then, I got sick.

I still don’t know what I had but it came with a headache that no pill would touch and a fever. I camped out on the living room sofa for the entire day watching Trading Spouses and the Country Music Awards (never heard Mylie Cyrus sing before so that was cool) and trying to get enough energy to climb the stairs so that I could do what I was supposed to be doing instead of being sick and that was work on tours. With ten of them, you can’t waste an available moment and I knew that; yet, I couldn’t get off the sofa. Stress had taken over and now…I was sick from it.

The next morning, my daughter came downstairs and I said, “I can’t believe what I just did or didn’t do rather.”

“What’s that?” she says.

“Practice what I preach.”

She looked at me like she didn’t know what I was talking about and said, “What are you talking about?”

I said, “I have been telling you to stop stressing and look at me. I’m sicker than a dog and I know why. For the last week, I’ve done nothing but walk around and complain about either the job or the tours and done nothing to relax.”

“Well,” she said, “it’s hard to not work on tours and you have to go to work or they’ll fire you. So I don’t think it’s your fault.”

“Oh, but it is,” I said. “I’ve got to cut back somewhere.”

So, this is my plan. I’ve got a girl working for me tonight at my offline job and I’m going to go out to my dock and sit at the end of it and watch the sun go down.

And I might even drive down to Mr. Whippy’s and order me vanilla ice-cream in a cup.

And I’m going to enjoy not having to do something I don’t want to do and do something I want to do.

And I might even start to like it.

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