The cure for burnout, heartbreak, and every other malady I know


I’m exhausted. I’ve been dealing with a challenging family situation for the past couple of months, a home construction project for the past few weeks, and oh look! We owe more than we thought we would on our taxes. (Both my husband and I are independent contractors and pay quarterly taxes, but somehow we always owe at least a bit more than the estimates.) And I just shipped the May issue of WDJ to the printer, a few hours late, even after putting in 14-hour days for the past week, solid.

But am I going to go to bed? Eat a bowl of ice cream (Haagen Daz vanilla, with fresh strawberries and chocolate syrup)? Take a bath? Have a good cry? Zone out with a few episodes of Mad Men on Netflix?

Well, yes, I’ll probably do all those things. But not until I’ve taken the dogs out for a good long walk in the spring air. It’s noon, the sun is shining, and the wildflowers are blooming here in Northern California. The dogs have been antsy for days. Tito the Chihuahua alternates between moaning, whining, and grumbling near my desk chair, and throws his tennis ball at my feet. Otto is more polite, but no less compelling. He’ll sit next to my chair, very upright, and stare at me. If I fail to notice, he’ll dramatically sigh deeply from time to time. If I turn to look at him, his eyes will widen and sparkle, and he’ll wag his tail as invitingly as he knows how. “Yes? Can we go outside now?”

We can – finally – and so we will. These dogs are so much fun to walk with – vibrant and alert to nature, fit and active, and highly responsive and obedient to my whistle to return to my side. We’ll head out to a local trail, one that follows the Feather River, where we are sure to see osprey and eagles, wild turkeys and ducks, and if Otto is lucky, a jackrabbit or two. By the time we get home, I probably won’t need the ice cream, the tears, bed, or TV. Although the bath is still highly advisable.