The Local Tourist
3 min readJan 2, 2022

I was going to do a live video today. Why didn’t I?


I don’t normally choose a word for the year, but a few weeks ago I stood at the kitchen island prepping dinner and I started sobbing. “Balance,” I cried, when Jim came downstairs and asked me what was wrong. “I have no balance.”

Despite telling myself all during treatment that I would never go back to constant work, late dinners, and never doing anything just for me, that’s exactly where I was. Up at five or six, writing for a couple of hours (at least I was doing that), and then working until seven or eight at night. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

I’d walk by our loft library and gaze longingly at the chaise lounge, but I never stopped to pick up a book and read. I’d brush my teeth and stare at our garden tub rimmed by rubber duckies and candles, but I’d never fill it and step in. I’d stack magazines next to my recliner on the couch, but wouldn’t sit until it was time for dinner, and we’d eat so late that I’d fall asleep right after.

What was I doing? I had fought cancer and won. I’d plumbed my heart and soul and knew that I could never fall into that trap of work-work-work and no time for me-me-me. I’d looked forward to being able to soak in that tub. It wasn’t allowed after my surgeries, and chemotherapy, and radiation, but I completed my treatments six months ago. What stopped me?

I wanted to relax on that chaise lounge with a cup of tea and some delightful reading, yet day after day I did just one more thing, and before I knew it, it was time for dinner. Eating before nine was considered a success.

No wonder I broke down.

I like to work, and I love my job, so knowing when to stop has always been a challenge.

But I love my library. When we first looked at this place three and a half years ago, Jim saw the loft and said “That’s going to be your library” and I was reminded again that he was my person.

Yet I wasn’t using it.

I’m using past tense, because today I filled the tub. I made a cup of tea. I read my National Geographic (and proceeded to get it soaking wet because I hadn’t added enough water and when I turned the jets on, WOOSH). Then I put on my robe and I took my tea and my magazine and I read about wildebeests and smelled an extinct flower, and when I emptied my cup I told Jim this was the most relaxed I’ve been in ages.

The Local Tourist

Born to write with a nearly obsessive love of travel, history, cooking, Chicago, and my husband. Author, speaker, exuberant lover of life.