Lazy days

I’ve been so tired lately. I feel like my whole body is exhausted. And today I decided to succumb to it and accept it.

It’s Saturday and last week has been pretty busy at work. Wednesday night we must have served about 40 covers, which is a lot for our establishment. It was pretty full on night making sure all the guests got looked after, getting all the orders right and trying to stay smiling all through it. I didn’t finish until after 10pm and I was back at work just after 5am the next morning. Thursday night was late again with some added drinks (because I’m an idiot who thinks she can drink on school nights). Friday was a again a 5am start (with a very bad head) and busy day of getting the house ready. Then I got a lift to Kendal straight after to do my food shop, back home for a quick tidy up, shower and a minute in the deck chair before heading to town for a few beers with Employer and the Monk.

I was so tired that I even forgot to put on my shirt for going out and didn’t realise it until half way to town. I wasn’t exactky naked butbI did feels like in in just my strappy top and shorts. Now that dogs are no longer allowed on the window seats at the Fell, I occupied it myself and I really struggled with staying awake as we sampled the beers. I really haven’t felt so completely knackered in ages. I could barely concentrate what was going on around me. It got to the point of exhaustion when nothing really matters anymore. I did seriously considered just closing my eyes for 10 minutes in the bar… just for a quick kip. I didn’t. But I was early to bed last night.

This morning I still feel tired but I decided I’m going to embrace it. I worked hard and I’m allowed to be tired. I’m allowed not to do anything. So instead I’ve been reading in my PJs on the deck, caught up with TV and genuinely lounged about. Normally I’d feel bad about it but I decided not to today. As I walked to work early Friday morning, the hills looked so lush and I want to play in them so badly but I also want my body to have a chance to recover. So when my Employer suggested dropping me off at Shap Fell early morning, I told him to jog on. I as much as I feel the need to be in the hills, I also needed to have a good night’s rest. And I am thinking about maybe heading to Swindale for sunset to catch the light and have a little moment there.

Until then, I’m just going to be lazy and not feel bad about it. I’m taking my first steps in trying to listen to my body and offer it what it needs. And today it needs a couch, loads of water, fruits and chocolate. And that’s okay.

Work talks

It’s been the usual mad days. The season has started at work and this means that I’m fully busy. We started with minimum staff for the first 4 weeks, then our help from last season came back to take a full-time position reducing my hours to somewhere close to 40 per week. Until last week when she told us that she’s leaving. Yesterday was her last day.

Our immediate reaction to the news was to down a couple of pints midday last Friday. Not the most adult way of dealing with things but seemed like a necessity at the time (which led to quite a lot of beer by the end of the night). We’ve managed to cover some of her shifts going forward but inevitably, this means that my work load is about to increase again. I will be doing every breakfast and every dinner shift from today onwards till early October.

I’m not too stressed out about having to work a bit more. I know I’m good at what I do. Last week, I had so many guests leaving and shaking my hands and expressing their gratitude. However, I know that I will probably lose myself in my work and it will be so difficult to recover from it. It will be difficult not to be empty and broken by the end of the season. I already struggle with fitting anything but work and sleep into my week and I know it’s only going to get harder. This last week I’ve felt so tired already and it’s only June. I’m not trying to blame it on work, it’s just me. I know that I have trouble switching off and stepping out. I’m a workaholic and not in a good way.

I am lucky to have an Employer who doesn’t take advantage of my inability to stop working. In fact, the only thing he ever tells me to do at work is to step out and take some time off. He keeps telling me that he doesn’t want this job to become like any of my previous jobs where I had essentially burnt out. Unfortunately, I’m a stubborn cow and hardly ever listen to him. It’s not in my nature to leave when everything’s not finished. I’m a team worker and I like working with other people. I prefer to work in an environment where everyone puts in the effort to collectively achieve the result. I take work seriously, that’s the only way I can have fun at work. So that’s why I get stressed out and grumpy when others don’t work that way. When others take it easy because I’m already doing everything.

There been many moments where I try to help but it only seems to backfire and I feel like I’m doing just more harm. I can’t stand not knowing what is going on. This is why I took over the job of writing up rotas for work. Well, that definitely backfired. It’s complete brainfuck anyway to get the rotas done in a way that everyone gets the hours they should and it all still seems fair. So, obviously when there’s an awkward shift, I would put myself on it rather than anyone else. The Employer wasn’t happy with that and we’ve had more than one argument over it. The good thing about losing a member of staff is that there’s no longer the need to play around with rotas…

All in all I feel the deadline is closing in on me and I have to decide what to do after this season is over. Whether to stay or to go. I’ve tried to be as honest as possible with the Employer about my thoughts and doubts but I am still so confused myself that I don’t really want to say anything. A couple of weeks ago we talked a bit about plans for winter and next year and I feel guilty about not knowing. I told him that I know I owe him a decision but I just don’t have one yet. To which he obviously replied (in many, many words) that as far as work is considered, I am not just needed but wanted. Which is always nice to hear, I suppose. However, as I’m trying to figure out whether to stay or leave, it does make me feel guilty about even thinking about leaving. After all, work, in many ways, is more of a reason to stay rather than the thing that’s pushing me to leave. I can’t imagine finding another job where I would be appreciated trusted as much as I am here and that would offer the freedom that I have here.

But work is also all that I have. I don’t have a life outside it and I am getting to a point where I no longer like that. I want to have a life outside work. I want to be something else than just my work. But as I have never really known what it’s like not to put work first, I’m not sure I know how to do it. I am starting to feel being burnt out and I know it’s not because of work but because of me. I love my job but I can’t figure out a way of doing it without it breaking me in the process.

The end of a dream

It’s Easter weekend. It’s the last weekend before our season of bedding and breakfasting guests starts again for the next six or seven months. And it’s not exactly a free weekend. I have 24 people expecting a 2-course dinner tonight and I’m doing it alone. And Sunday, two of us will go in to do another dinner for the same lot.

The last few weeks have been quite a carousel of emotions. On the one hand, I am looking forward to working full-time again. It’ll be my third summer working here and I know what I’m doing and I know how everything works. I also know that I’m not completely shit at what I do. I like my job, even if it does mean working around the clock at some days.

On the other hand, I’m more confused about things than I have ever been. I had a horrific few days last weekend of just being curled up on the couch not able to move or do anything but be engrossed all the darkness that was occupying my mind. I guess I realised how bad it was when my Employer sat me down on Monday and essentially told me to get my shit together. In a nice and concerned way. I am scared of this season of working as I feel like after last year, I was left so empty and broken, and I’m not sure I’ve fully recovered. And I’m scared to be empty and broken again. I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t be able to handle it again.

I’m also scared because I feel like the pressure to reach a decision on what happens after this summer. Am I going to stay or am I going to go back? Or go forward? I have no idea what to do and I’ve never been in this situation. I’ve always had a secret dream or a plan of what I want to do. But I feel like I have reached the end of my dream, like this path I’ve been on is leading to a dead-end. And I genuinely have no idea what I want to do or indeed should do next.

I was having beers with the Employer at the top of the field on Wednesday night. “The top of the field” is a little corner of our grounds that’s the highest point and has the best view of the village and the hills in the distance. I love that view. As the sun was setting behind the clouds that had gathered around the hills, I couldn’t help but think, “How am I supposed to give this up!?” These hills are what I came here for, this quiet village life is something I have come to love and appreciate. A part of me cannot imagine life in any other place.

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But (and there’s always a big fat but) it’s an incredibly lonely life. It has taken me years and a huge amount of courage, but for the first time in my life I want, and need to admit it to myself that I feel lonely. I’ve always been the cat that wanders around on her own. I have taken pride in my independence. But there is a price to pay and it’s a dear one. I said at the beginning of last year that I needed to name my demons and I have realised after a lot of denial, that this one is my biggest one, and always has been.

As we were sitting outside in the cold (god, it was fucking freezing!) spring evening, I admitted to the Employer that I miss having friends. I miss having single friends. I only realise now what a stupid move it was to pack my bags and move thousands of miles from people who have so kindly opened their hearts to me. I don’t consider myself a nice person, or an easy person to befriend. I takes me ages to trust people and to make friends. I can count the people in whose company I don’t feel like the outsider, like someone they¬†had to invite along out of politeness or social convention, on one hand. In fact, I don’t even need all the fingers. And they all live in Estonia. So what am I doing out here? Why am I here pursuing some selfish dream that’s not working out?

And don’t get me wrong, the people I’ve met here have been incredibly kind towards me. But Cumbria is an odd place and it’s very difficult to actually make genuine connections to people. And everyone I know here (with an exception of the Monk) has the other half. It’s a different crowd to what I’m used to and it’s very easy to feel out of place. More importantly, it seems to really emphasise my loneliness and isolation.

It’s gets more and more difficult to make new friends as you get older and I can feel like I’m getting to an age, where it’s nigh impossible to weave close relationships with new people. Everyone already has friends and habits and partners. They are not necessarily out to look for new ones. So living in a small community becomes very, very lonely.

All this is making me think about moving back to Estonia. Except that I cannot see where I would live or what I would do that would offer me the satisfaction that my work and my physical environment does here. I don’t know what to do. What to I choose? The place or the people? It’s not like I didn’t feel lonely in Estonia but at least I had those few people who were only a few hours away, rather than a day’s worth of travel away.

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I’m lost for ideas. I feel like this selfish dream I came to chase after was just an illusion and I’m back at square one but this time without an idea what the next step is. And it’s killing me inside…