I’m a bit out of shape right now. Well – ok – I’m rather a lot out of shape. Last year I was doing reasonably well with my running, but now I’m back to plodding.
So how did this sad situation come about? Simple – I took a bit of a break.
There is nothing as evil in the occasionally Sisyphean pursuit of physical fitness as the “bit of a break”. The problem is it starts out as just a short while but as one continues to think “wow I just don’t have time today either” that hiatus just gets longer and longer and the next thing you know it’s two weeks later and you’re fat and slow. A couple of those episodes over the course of a winter (usually precipitated by a holiday or some such) and a year’s worth of work can be undone.
This is pretty similar to the situation one can get into with one’s L2. Sometimes things get pretty crazy in life, no denying that, can’t be helped. That’s just how things go sometimes. But when a language is still on its wobbly infant legs, to leave it alone for any length of time will mean the loss of far more time than you will ever save. To go into a sort of maintenance mode is not a problem for a reasonable time, but at all costs resist that temptation for the “bit of a break”.