Learning to Rest

Recently I saw a post on Facebook that said If you’re tired/ don’t quit/ learn to rest. It occurred to me that as we grow older we find ourselves having to make this choice on a regular basis. Do we ultimately blame our inactivity on our advanced years, or do we plan our lives such that we rest periodically in order to continue doing the things we love?

Very early on I was taught by example that resting was an important part of life. Every day my early rising mother and grandmother stopped all work after lunch, put on their nightgowns, and retired to their respective rooms for a long nap. Mid afternoon they‘d rise, lace up their corsets, put on their house dresses again, and be ready to dive into the household chores once more.

When I became a mother myself, I insisted upon what I called reading rests for any of the five children not yet in school. More for myself than for them, and in order to retain my sanity and energy for the rest of the day, I’d take a reading rest, too. In fact, it became a habit that continues today and was absolutely essential in later life when caring for a spouse with dementia.

Now that I live alone I still find it necessary to pace myself and get the rest I need in order to pursue the creative life that’s important to me. There is sometimes the pull to quit and think of myself as retired. But the world continues to be full of poetry and beauty, and I still have the need to pursue it, eternally grateful to those two women, who retreated for a nap day after day in order to arise bright-eyed and re-armed for their busy lives.

Before and After    oil on canvas