Since ancient times, people have celebrated the Autumnal Equinox with all types of pagan rituals and religious traditions. When I was a staffer, a good friend of mine (who shall remain nameless here - but you know who you are) and I celebrated the Autumnal Equinox by engaging in our own pagan ritual. We would wander over to the Willard Hotel and offer up a couple of Bombay Safire martinis (with three olives, thank you) at the altar of the Round Robin Bar.
Admittedly, our ritual was not beneficial to our livers, but it was great for our souls. We were simply looking to get some momentary balance into our lives by incorporating a little fun time into an arduously long workday. After all, balance is what the Autumnal Equinox is all about. It is the moment when daylight and darkness are (approximately) equal in length. Unfortunately, that moment is a fleeting one because the Autumnal Equinox also marks the beginning of a period of imbalance when the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer.
Now, as you know, imbalance is nothing new to Hill staffers. However, autumn can be a particularly paradoxical time for even the toughest staffers. Although the days grow shorter, the Hill workdays grow longer - a lot longer. The Autumnal Equinox morphs into the Un-Equinox, and the imbalance of the season gets worse before it gets better.
Undoubtedly, there is always be at least one autumn weekend when all the rules go out the window and staffers find themselves working around the clock. Friday blurs into Saturday and then Sunday. The cafeterias are closed, and everyone is stuck eating vending machine food or leftover Halloween candy. It is a pagan ritual no staffer looks forward to celebrating.
As a staffer, every time the Un-Equinox rolled around, I always wished Hill staffers would unite, by rising up out of their chairs, opening their windows (assuming they were anywhere near a window), and yelling, "I'm tired as hell, and I'm not going to take this any longer." Obviously, that never happened, and there is no indication it will happen this year, despite the fact that the fall legislative agenda promises to be a real doozy. Once again, all staffers will be left to their own resources for dealing with the Un-Equinox, and for creating their own moments of balance in their lives.
Suffice it to say, although an occasional martini (or whatever your drink of choice) might be fun, in order to get through the Un-Equinox you will have to think outside the glass. Therefore, every day, make a conscious effort to take a moment for yourself. Whenever you can, eat something healthy, get some sleep, engage in some kind of exercise, and remember to breathe! Be mindful of how you can make things even a little bit better for yourself.
Seriously change the way you think and focus on what you can do to take care of yourself instead of on what you cannot do. Stick with it and the opportunities to incorporate some balance into your life will appear. When they do, take them. And, if you feel the need to yell or vent, just hit "comment" and do it here.
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