Friday, August 29, 2014

"We need our needs"

When Arianna Huffington, editor in chief of the, collapsed from sleep deprivation after staying up nights working while spending her days touring colleges with her daughter, she hit her head, broke her cheekbone and cut her eye. She wrote for Reader's Digest ("The Dumbest Thing I Ever Did", September 2104), "I wish I could go back and tell my dumb, deluded self, in my thick Greek accent, 'Arianna, your performance will actually improve if you can commit not only to working hard but also to unplugging, recharging, and renewing yourself.'"

My cat Haley has been trying to tell me the same thing for sixteen years. I only began to understand this last night when I was working on an article that had to be completed before I went to bed - no matter what time that turned out to be. Around 10 p.m., Haley came and sat in front of the computer. Typing around her was pointless. She had recently begun scratching her head, creating open wounds, and it was still up for debate whether an allergy or anxiety was the cause. Not knowing, I felt I needed to give her what she desired - a lap, on the couch, not at the computer desk.

I stopped working and we migrated to the couch to enjoy a little silliness with Conan O'Brien. About an hour and twenty minutes later, I returned to the computer. Before I'd stopped working, I was having trouble starting my article. When I returned to the computer, it was 11:20 p.m. I finished writing at 1:20 a.m. Had I brushed Haley off at 10 p.m., it is possible I would have completed my article an hour earlier and it is also possible that I would have spent that hour frustrated, irritated at Haley, and stressed instead of relaxed, warm, and laughing on the couch with my furry companion.

My new friend Therese says, "We need our needs." Until last night, I thought that my need to accomplish things conflicted with Haley's need for lap time. I now realize that our needs are the same.

Thank you, Haley.

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