Recently I thought back over the 13 years of my marriage and realized something startling: In that time, there were only two years with no major life events. For 11 of those 13 years, we’ve gone through births, deaths, major illness, big moves, natural disasters, etc. And we’ve survived … and even grown stronger through it all.
So when I realized I was finally ready to get the new puppy we’ve been talking about for years, it didn’t feel completely insane. Yes, we’re only a few months out from our toddler’s stay in the ICU and subsequent heart surgery, but I knew from experience that we could handle the addition. And something in me said it would galvanize our family in new and important ways. I was right.
Sienna is about 9 weeks old as of this writing. She’s not completely house trained yet, but has come so far already in the few days we’ve had her. She’s a ball full of energy for about 15 minutes, and then she naps for an hour. She’s driving our old Aussie crazy, and she’s got the cats cautiously intrigued.
In summary, she’s filled a hole in our hearts we didn’t know was there.
I’m not sure if most people are like me in this way, but when life gets crazy, I have to fight the urge to shut down and shut out. My instinct is to hole up, stop committing to things, and just recuperate. And while recuperation is important, and I know I need some time for that, if I let it drive me too much I will lose all my momentum. Sometimes I’ll even start slipping into depression if I’m not very careful. The best thing I can do for myself and my family is to take a little time to breathe, and then press on.
This cycle of resting and pushing keeps me moving forward without burning me out. It’s something I’ve known for a long time, and I’m finally seeing it talked about in the books I read. Up to now, the big conversation was around rest alone. Before that, the conversation was around hustle. There finally seems to be some balance emerging in the research and literature. I’m over the moon about it.
Most recently this has come up in Effortless from Greg McKeown. It also came up in The ONE Thing by Gary Keller, Lead Yourself First by Raymond Kethledge and Michael Erwin, Burnout by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski, and dozens of other books and articles I’ve read in the last year. The studies these writers cite and the anecdotes they include all point to this rest-push cycle being healthy for our minds and bodies.
Our family has rested since Cassie was airlifted to Children’s Hospital on May 6 in cardiac arrest. We have been totally focused on her recovery, and kept our family somewhat in a bubble to keep our two-year-old safe from viruses that could trigger her condition to go haywire again. The rest cycle is coming to an end, and it’s time to press on. Sienna is leading the charge.