Running on Empty: An Epiphany and Apology

Someone I love has cancer.

I don’t know why I have struggled so much to write this, but it has taken me weeks to get the courage to type these words so I can (try) to apologize and explain my very long absence.

I’m not sure what I can say that would entirely explain my disappearance, because I’m not entirely sure myself. Between the illness, stress at work (I have a demanding, full-time career) and a very hectic family life (a gross understatement), I found myself running on empty. I kept going, thinking it would work itself out, but it didn’t. I thought so often that I should be keeping up better, that I was letting people down, that I had to get it together. But I didn’t.

My life had too many “loose ends” and it had all caught up with me. I was feeling overwhelmed and completely exhausted and I knew I had to do something. I kept thinking back to the advice of a friend from years ago. She always said, “My mama says, when your life’s a mess, clean out your closets.” Simple, but excellent advice. I decided I would give it a try. I took some much-needed time off to do just that – clean out “the closets” of my life. I cleaned out the “junk drawer,” painted my laundry room, donated some clothes I hadn’t worn in a while, organized the coat closet, spent a day alone with my husband and played ping-pong with my girls. When I went back to work and realized that I was still tired and I hadn’t quite finished everything I wanted to do, I took some more time off, and I finished.

I feel better now. My focus has started to return and I feel more like “my old self.”  So why am I telling you all of this? First to apologize – for disappearing, for letting you down, for letting myself get to this point. But more importantly, to tell everyone out there who is running on empty to stop – stop right now. Stop what you are doing and figure out how to carve out some time, how to tie up the loose ends of your life and clean out your closets. You’ll be glad you did.