Don’t tell him I said this, but it turns out that the V-Man was right: there really is that brick wall I’ve been barreling toward after jumping head, shoulders, knees and toes into my new job. I feel it with my head, and I feel it with my shoulders, my wrists, my knees and my spirit.
There’s nothing wrong with enthusiasm, especially when you are doing something about which you are so passionate. But when your body starts giving you warning signs that it is gradually falling apart—rather when it’s screaming at you to slow down, you really should heed the lingering cold/sinus infections, the splitting kneecap and hip pain, and eventually take stock when both your wrists feel like they are broken.
Really, now. It’s been 11 years this month since I first enrolled in the school of The Cost of Not Listening to Your Body. You would think I would have graduated with flying colors by now. You would think I would have written over three dozen honors’ theses on the subject, given multiple lectures and published endless books on it. Instead, I’ve written multiple poems and songs about it, devoted entire blogs to it, seen it destroy relationships and jobs because of my stubbornness and watch it lead to even more troublesome health issues.
But enough of that—it’s a long story, an interesting story, but not one for today. The point is that you’d think I would have listened to the burned out workaholic who found project after project to fill every waking hour with when I knew from my own experience the importance of balance.
Instead I found myself working on New Year’s Eve, later beating myself up for going out to dinner and movie that night instead of working on a regional story that no one would be reading until the morning anyway. Instead of allowing myself a well-deserved holiday yesterday or even a day off weekend day the day before, yesterday, I wrote three stories and wound up with more stories than I usually have in my publication on any given day.
Is it any surprise that I literally couldn’t drag myself out of bed this morning to write my second article of the day? Normally I would have already had that story in the can so I wouldn’t have anything to worry about, but I couldn’t muster the energy to do it last night. I, wait for it, actually was so burned out, I sat and watched an entire movie without a laptop in my hands. And I didn’t feel one bit guilty about it…until the last credits ran, and I realized I needed to put something up there the next morning.
Both my wrists felt broken all day today. The stories I was expecting to come in from others weren’t coming, yet I didn’t have it in me to push it. My second story wasn’t finished until almost 2 p.m. instead of 10 a.m. I didn’t chastise myself over it.
Because if there’s one thing I have learned, if I don’t listen now, when I really am at this brick wall, I really won’t be able to do anything at all for days and weeks, possibly months at a time. My job does not afford me that luxury at all. I am my job. Without me, this lovely machine grinds to a noisy, crunchy and terrifying halt. I don’t just disappoint everyone in town who has come to depend on me to be their source of news, my friends, my family, my co-workers, my bosses, the people who are looking at me and saying, “wow, look at the readership she’s pulling in.”
The real person I’ll be disappointing, the one who most matters, quite honestly, will be myself. Not because I tried something and failed doing my best at it. But because I pushed myself too hard, knowing better, and caused my own self-destruction.
Balance. Part of that journey is to have started a column to incorporate in my publication, doing a series on my experiences with different wellness and integrative medicine modalities, from yoga to Reiki, tai chi to acupuncture, reflexology to Pilates and who knows what else. I have found an amazing videographer who is up for the task of accompanying me on this journey, and I’m extremely excited about it—once I pencil in the time for it. An evening yoga class on a Sunday night is supposed to be our first foray into the series, as long as the weather holds out.
I’m optimistic. I’m also happy that V-Man has been so obstinate about pulling me out of the cyber-world. “Shut it down,” has been his constant refrain. Even if we have to go to the mall for the umpteenth time, or to another restaurant, he is ready and willing to get me distracted. He, of course, has found other ways to take my mind off things as well, which are quite delicious too…I’m wondering where he is suddenly getting all this energy. I think my creative outfits might have helped a bit in this effort.
At any rate, my wrists really do need a rest, and I need some sleep. Yet I miss my blog family, and you deserve an update.
Yes, become a career woman. Raw! Be all those wonderful and amazing things you’ve always dreamed for yourself. But by God, don’t kill yourself in the process, okay?
Find your balance, find your groove. The Egyptian pyramids of perfection weren’t built in a day—they really weren’t. And that took teams and teams of people to do it. I am working on building my team and trying to be patient. Meanwhile, it’s time to find my pockets of rest while I can.