I find that often I feel guilty, especially when the weather is good, if I want to read a book, watch a movie or do some other fun thing. I’m sure I’m not the only person that ever feels this way.
For me, I believe it stems from core beliefs that I was taught as a child.
My stepfather instilled in my brother and I that we must always wake up between 7:30/8:00 am every day (he was up at 3, 4 or 5am every day) and work the entire day through, at least until dark.
Any person that did not follow this kind of routine was a lazy good for nothing.
We were not allowed many friends but you can be sure that if a potential friend or their parents slept past 8am, they were considered not appropriate friends!
Also, sleeping-in was never allowed unless you were ill, and if you were ill, you went immediately to the doctor.
The exception to that rule was Sundays.
Sunday you must still wake up at the same time but Sunday was for church and after church, an ice cream, reading the bible, family dinners and a television treat, like getting to watch Elvis Movies!
I took this to heart and as a teenager and then as a young mother, most days, I was up between 4 and 5am.
As a young mother, I enjoyed getting up early and having my morning cup of tea while the house was still quiet and during the spring and summer I loved having my morning tea outside before most of the neighbors were up and about.
Over the past few years, I have developed a sleep disorder. I think one of the reasons the sleep disorder is so hard for me to cope with is because of that deep down core belief that since I can no longer get up early and accomplish all the things in a day that I used to accomplish(most days I am just going to sleep between 4 and 5am), I must be a lazy person and lazy people are no good, right?…
Even now, during the Spring, Summer and Fall, I try to keep moving… working on my shop and art, gardening, house cleaning, reorganizing… but over the Winter I try to give myself permission to take a break; sit on our extremely comfortable sofa, read some novels, take some naps and watch some movies!
According to my best friend, Tammy Koolbeck, M.Ed., L.P.C.-S giving yourself permission to rest and sleep is essential to a person’s health and self care! When I consulted her, this is what she said, “Sleep and rest allow your body and mind to heal. Without that, you are flooding your body with cortisol and fight and flight chemicals. That keeps you performing from your amygdala and turns off the frontal lobe and decision making centers. Your reflexes and decision making abilities at the cellular level are all delayed or compromised.” You can learn more about Tammy and her work on her website at Koolsolutionscounseling.org
So, now that the cold weather has sat in, I am working on giving myself permission! And to that end, I have been reading some time travel novels and playing a silly word game app called Alphabears 2!
During the course of our recent road trip, my husband and I listened to The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. The Doomsday Book is part of a series called the Oxford Time Travel Series. I liked the characters and wanted to read more about them.
The Oxford Time Travel Series consists of The Doomsday Book, Blackout, All Clear, To Say Noyhing of the Dog and a novella that I can not get ahold of called Fire Watch.
The premise is that young historians (college students) time travel to different locations to observe and be a part of watching history develope. They do a lot of research before they go so that they are armed with the proper clothing and detailed knowledge of the places, customs and people they are going to observe. It is believed that they can not change the course of history but as a precaution, they are not supposed to do anything that they think “might” change history.
Basically, they are under cover agents and, as such, they take housing, get jobs and live among the people and place they are studying. Once their assignment is done, they go back to college, write a report about what they learned and go on another “assignment “.
The Doomsday Book is set in Medieval England, unfortunately, there was a mistake made while transporting the historian and she ended up in Medieval England during the black death. Once it was realized that she was in the midst of the plague, she should have been retrieved immediately but due to various events she was trapped there for a month. I won’t go into any more detail than that because I do not want to give away any spoilers but I will say that, as you can suppose, the parts about the black death are terrifying and sad (that’s not a spoiler, everyone knows the black death was terrifying and sad) but if you are like me and only read books with happy endings, you will not be disappointed.
To Say Nothing of the Dog was a much lighter read and after all the black death and sadness of The Doomsday Book, it was much needed! To Say Nothing of the Dog is a comedy of errors set partially in Victorian England. It had a Jane Austen and P. G. Wodehouse feel to it and a true happy ending!
Blackout and All Clear are set partially in England during WWii. Most of the historians in these stories have been introduced to you, in at least some small way, in the other novels. The WWii setting appeals to me because I have always loved and been fascinated by the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s and WWii. Most of my favorite movies were made in the 1940s. So, I’ve been enjoying reading about the era.
I have finished reading Blackout, which is part 1 of the story and I am halfway through All Clear, which is part 2. Each chapter starts with a small quote from a WWii poster, newspaper, magazine or diary.
Reading Blackout and All Clear has made me think about the seeming similarities between what the civilians went through then and the pandemic that we are amidst now. It is mentioned that store shelves are empty and they talk about rashioning. Since the pandemic started, many of our store shelves have been almost continually empty and even the manufactures can not say when items will be back in stock and while we are not rationing in the way that they had to during the war, there is rationing, such as, only being permitted to buy 2 bottles of water and one pack of toilet paper and paper towels at a time.
It also made me think about how difficult it must have been even to be a civilian during the blitz of WWii. There must have been constant fear! There could not even be a normal routine for children because instead of giving them dinner and putting them to bed, parents were giving them dinner and then taking them to bomb shelters to spend the night on cots and blankets amongst 100s of people, with only a few, scattered make shift bathrooms.
Also, I imagine that anyone that had loved ones or friends fighting in the war or that perished due to the war, had trouble allowing themselves (giving themselves permission) to be happy for even a second, much as when a close loved one dies you often feel that you have no right to be happy because your loved one is no longer alive to be happy.
As I mentioned, I have only read half of All Clear so far, so I can not say rather there will be a happy ending but I believe in Mr. Dunworthy and Collin, the heros of the series, so I am sure there will be a happy ending of some kind!
The last book in the series, as far as I can tell, is Fire Watch. Throughout these novels, Mr. Dunworthy is everyone’s favorite college professor and I believe Fire Watch is about Mr. Dunworthy’s experiences in WWii as a young time traveling college student or possibly as a young college professor but, as I mentioned, I can not get the book, so I can not say more than that.
UPDATE: I have finished reading All Clear. It has a bittersweet but happy ending and I definitely recommend reading Blackout and All Clear, especially if you are fans of time travel.
Side note: I did go through a very bad depression during my second marriage that made it nearly impossible for me to get out of bed at all and face life, but that was caused by severe depression over having a second failing marriage and a husband that was abusive to my son. My son having a stepfather that was abusive was my worst fear about getting remarried and I could not cope.