At the beginning of May, I was leveled by Flu B- the first time in my life that I've ever actually had the flu. Not even 6 weeks later, I noticed a small patch of red skin on my upper back that hurt to the touch. I figured I had been stung by something while I was out shooting earlier that weekend. Thankfully, I thought to ask my friend if she would look at it and give me her nurse's opinion, and she told me I should go straight to Patient First, because it looked like shingles.
And that's exactly what it was.
"Wow, you must be really stressed," is what I heard over and over again when friends and family found out. And yes, to a certain degree, I was. After I recovered from the flu (or thought I had), I jumped back into my schedule and was trying to make up for lost time with shoots, edits, and writing projects. It was also the end of the school year, the beginning of swim team, and as usual, there were a dozen other things to juggle in our family life. While life didn't feel that much busier or stressful to me than it had on any number of other occasions, I think my immune system hadn't really recovered from my bout with the flu, and clearly my body was telling me I was doing too much.
So I started clearing my plate, somewhat begrudgingly. I emailed clients and participants in my Lens of Hope series, and explained that I was going to take a hiatus. I'm so grateful for the grace that everyone extended to me- the kind that I'm not sure I often know how to give myself. I had to re-evaluate what I was holding onto that wasn't life-giving for me, or in the very least, just wasn't practical at this point. And eventually, I felt the pace of life slowing down, despite swim team practices, birthday parties, and the typical busy-ness of three kids. There have been long evenings on our back deck, less social media, more playing.
I'm not sure what the trajectory of this summer would have been if it weren't for that angry red rash, but my guess is that I might have missed out on moments like these. Now halfway through the summer, I'm grateful for the shift in focus, regardless of how it was initially disguised.