Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Q is for Quiescent (Among Other Things)

 I love words. Since I'm a writer, this is hardly a shocking revelation. And, since Q is one of those letters that makes it challenging to choose a word that drives the theme of a post, it seemed a good week for a word that was a tad quirky.

Quiescent. It even sounds peaceful, which it should after all, since Merriam-Webster's first definition for it is "marked by inactivity or repose: tranquilly at rest."

I had a lovely, quiescent Labor Day weekend at the beach with my husband. We tried a new place (same town, different rental) -- a house, this time, with a screened-in patio that rivals the sunroom we just added at home. We spent a lot of time in that sunroom, and a lot of time with long-time friends we don't get to see nearly often enough.

It was lovely.

And then, yesterday, the quiescence came to a screeching halt (if, indeed, quiescence can do such a thing) as we crawled up Route 1 to come home, unpack, and face reality.

It wasn't only the outside world that became noisy and devoid of tranquility. My lack of quiescence was an inner issue as well. I didn't mind spending a chunk of my "holiday" doing school stuff. At least not at first. But, the longer it went on, the crabbier I got until no amount of external quiescence was sufficient to quell my inner toddler who didn't wanna do work. 

She just wanted to play. And the longer the work went on, the more she let it be known that this work on a holiday weekend stuff was not to her liking.

She wanted her quiescence (as she often does).

Don't we all.

Protecting this clearly valuable asset can lead us into a quagmire, as we attempt to balance work, play, and rest. Or, perhaps more accurately, we find it difficult to extract ourselves from the quagmire of work and other obligations to carve out a little quiescence. Introverts are often more adept at doing this than extroverts are, whereas we ambiverts are often mid-quagmire, waving a metaphorical white flag (or perhaps a real one) by the time we realize we need a break. By then, our inner two-year-old is within whining distance.

If we're smart, we use the memory of those quintessential summer days to replicate that tranquil feeling on days when the weather, our schedules and, perhaps our moods, are less-than desirable. When we fail to do this, holding at bay the comfort we crave, our inner toddler may emerge.

And I don't think I'm speaking for only myself when I say no one wants to see that.

As sad as I am to see summer go, I look forward to the crisp air and colorful leaves of fall. Sprinkle a little quiescence on one of those lovely, cool days, and I can put my inner toddler down for a long, restful nap.

And who knows? I might just join her.

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