I have had two weeks off, and the world has seemed to join me in taking a break.
Empty streets and shuttered shops, fathers playing with their children in the woods, houses glowing lightly against the falling darkness. Freedom from the usual round of obligations, from the rhythms of the working year, from the demands of emails and customers, from the demands of much of my usual life.
It has been a quietly blessed time, time to be with my wife and my child, to spend a morning playing trains and an afternoon running around the library, time to sleep, to feel, a generous time, a luxurious time, a time that allows the knotted coils of daily life to disentangle a little, a time that brings me back to myself and into myself.
But Christmas is done now for another year, the new year itself is already receding into the past. I return this morning to the life I temporarily paused two weeks ago, to work, to the usual round of things to do.
Emails to answer, emails to write. Old customers to take care of, new customers to find. Preparing for the arrival, all going well, of child number 2. Which reminds me that we should probably find a different name for her, so add another item to the list. Preparing for everything that will come after.
Shopping. Cleaning. Repairing stuff at home. Putting curtains up. Raking the leaves. Shovelling the snow. Buying things. Selling things. Writing. Making videos. Developing a podcast. Design workshops. Deliver workshops.
Find time for a social life. Find time to be with Anni. Find time for Rahi. Find time for my mother, my sister, my friends. Find any time at all. Administrative things. Logistical things. Just all the bloody things.
Sitting at my desk, I notice how all this makes me feel - stressed. A tightness in my chest, a constriction in my throat.
There is such a damned lot to do and never enough time to do all of it.