I’m not sure where most people fall on the continuum of crap-taking, but I used to be very far down on the end of taking it all.
Really, I was kind of a door mat.
Need to borrow money? Want someone to talk to about your crappy relationship, again? Looking for a scape goat? I was your girl.
Even if it had nothing to do with me or clearly wasn’t my fault, I would take the blame. I was used to being punsihed for things I hadn’t done.
But somewhere along the way I got tired of it. I started asking myself why I let people treat me so badly. And, I had some great friends who pointed it out and asked me about it, too. They told me I didn’t deserve it. Luckily, I listened.
I realized that a lot of my behaviors and decisions were just patterns I had learned as a kid.
Before my dad and step-mom came into my life, there weren’t really any rules that made sense. I could get in trouble for not doing something I wasn’t told to do, or for doing something I was told to do. There was no rhyme or reason for punishments, and they definitely didn’t fit the crime.
I got used to taking what was given, no matter how bad.
But I’m not a kid anymore. And I decided not to allow myself to be punished like one.
So I started setting boundaries for myself. I turn my phone off at night, I don’t offer money to everyone I meet, and I tell people when they hurt my feelings or upset me in some way.
For the most part it has been a nice transition, and the people in my life understand.
But last week, I kind of lost it.
Looking back now, it seems simple enough. I was at the gym and when my coach asked me for my time (how long it took me to finish the workout) I blanked. I had looked at the clock, but when I tried to remember my time it was just a flashing red light in my brain. Empty.
The coach did what he always does when someone doesn’t know their time. He told everyone to do 10 burpees. Not such a big deal, right?
I didn’t want to be punished for something I couldn’t help. It wasn’t like I hadn’t paid attention to my time. I just blanked. I do that with numbers sometimes. I decided that as an adult, I get to decide what I will and won’t do.
And I wasn’t doing those burpees.
But it didn’t stop there. I got so upset I had to fight back tears. And I wasn’t totally successful.
Then I decided I wasn’t going to stay. I got my stuff and stomped toward the door, determined never to go back.
Lucky for me, the coach was at the front of the gym sitting behind the desk. He didn’t let me storm out. He made me stop and talk. And he listened to what I said.
I didn’t go in to details, I just told him that I don’t like to be punished unreasonably.
He said he wasn’t trying to punish me, and didn’t mean to hurt or upset me. He felt bad that I was so upset and didn’t want me to leave.
My heart rate and breathing calmed down, and so did I.
The next day I was feeling embarrassed and worried. Why had I acted like such a crazy person? I talked it through with my step-mom and a couple of close friends who helped me realize that the freak out was all a part of the process.
We can’t expect ourselves to go from no boundaries to perfect boundaries without any difficult adjustments.
It’s like driving in bad weather. Sometimes we have to over-correct in order to get back on the right path.
After years of just taking crap, I am going through a take-no-crap phase so I can find my way to the middle. So I can set healthy boundaries and keep them.
Both extremes are too much. I shouldn’t be punished for everything, but I can’t expect life to be without any consequences. Neither way is healthy.
Hopefully, now that I see what is happening the transition can be a little smoother. I have my hands on the steering wheel and I can see the turn ahead.
When I went back to the gym the next day I was worried about how people would react to me. Would they all stay away from the crazy girl who might flip out over nothing?
My coach told me he was really glad that I had decided not to leave. Then he winked and said he was pretty sure I’d remember my time that day. My friends shrugged and said everybody has some issue to deal with and we all freak out from time to time.
So I learned a nice bonus lesson on this one: when you are in your right place, people accept you as you are, temper tantrums and all.
How are you at setting boundaries? Do you have any hot button issues that you are working through? Have you noticed a pattern of no boundaries to overly strict boundaries? Does over-correcting lead you back to the comfort of middle ground?
Being true to ourselves is important. Sticking to our beliefs and our values makes us feel stronger in them, and stronger in ourselves. But, I realized recently, that we can’t actually be true to ourselves until we know ourselves.
Most of us spend years trying to do and be what everyone else wants us to be, or what we think we should be.
Right out of college, I was kind of a party girl. I went out every weekend and wanted to know all the newest and most popular clubs. Yes, I do like danicng and being social. But that’s not why I did it. I thought that it wasn’t ok to be at home on a Friday or Saturday night. And, even worse to want to be home on a weekend night.
I had to be out and be seen. I wanted people to know that I was fun, and I was enjoying life. Somehow a full social calendar was the only way to prove that.
But going out all the time is draining. It drained my energy and my bank account. And, eventually you just start seeing the same people all the time.
Lucky for me, I moved to Ecuador. I made friends who wanted to go out sometimes, but also liked to stay in and watch bad TV marathons and eat good food. I realized that hanging out in sweat pants, laughing and talking with friends is just as much fun as going out dancing all night.
I realized I actually enjoy that more.
Now, I go out every once in a while. When I feel like sipping a fancy cocktail and dancing with friends. But, I’m usually on my way home by midnight and I don’t care what anyone thinks.
When I look at the decisions I’ve made in life, I see a not-so-happy pattern of doing what I think I should instead of what I want. Usually, because I didn’t even know what I wanted.
I didn’t know myself.
I’ve heard people say they are trying to “find themselves” before, and I always rolled my eyes. It sounded like a bunch of hot air. Or an excuse for an exotic vacation. But now I see that what they meant was they were trying to get to know themselves. They want to find out who they really are and what they really want.
There’s no hot air in that.
I’ve been on that journey for a little while now. It is more work than an exotic vacation, but it is actually fun. We get to learn new things about ourselves all the time. Sometimes it’s small things like that I enjoy an early bedtime or that I prefer my hair short. Sometimes it’s as big as career changes or going back to school.
It’s so much easier to be true to ourselves when we actually know who we are. And we get to find out how cool we really are in the process, even when we are hanging out at home in sweat pants.
Do you think it is possible to be true to ourselves without knowing ourselves first? Have you ever tried to be someone you thought you should be? What have you done to get to know who you are and what you want?
I have never been a fan of competition. I don’t do team sports, I don’t watch any of those reality TV competition shows, and I don’t like to make a bet on something with a friend. I don’t like the feeling of me versus them. Nobody wants to lose, and the safest way to avoid that is not to compete in the first place.
I’ve seen how competition can mess up friendships and stop learning from happening in a classroom.
So when my gym hosted the Barbells for Boobs fundraiser, I made sure to call myself a participant. I was not interested in competing.
I was teamed up with a friend and our goal was to finish in the best time possible for us. It wasn’t about beating anyone or coming in a certain place. It was us versus us. Or maybe us versus the clock.
We finished in a time we were proud of (14 minutes and something seconds, I can’t remember exactly now) and we felt good. We didn’t place, but we weren’t last. Right in the middle of the pack.
Then the RX rounds came up. These were the people lifting the really heavy weights. My gym had a couple of teams in each of the womens’ and mens’ competition. I was excited to watch and cheer on my friends.
But what I didn’t expect was how badly I wanted them to win.
Yes, it was fun to watch and cheer. They could hear us screaming their names and encouraging words. We knew they could do it, and a little reminder would just make them feel all the more confident.
When I saw that our teams were a little bit faster than the others, I got excited. And when I couldn’t tell if they were ahead or being lapped, I worried. Because it wasn’t me competing, I actually cared.
As it came down to the final few exercises, I was jumping up and down and screaming. I knew they were close to winning, and I wanted it for them.
I was in to the competition.
Our womens’ teams ended up taking first and second place, and our fastest mens’ team got third. And, I have to admit that when they called them up to the makeshift stage to get their prizes, I was proud.
People I see everyday, working out hard to get stronger and faster, had accomplished something big. It showed that all their work was paying off.
But I also realized that while I was excited for my friends to win, I wasn’t feeling or witnessing the usual downsides to competition. People from all different teams were congratulating each other, giving pats on the back, and shaking hands. People seemed genuinely happy for the winners and no one was doing the “In your face!” kind of poor sportsmanship that makes me not like competition.
So, maybe competition isn’t all bad. Maybe it can encourage us to work hard and do our best at something. Maybe it depends upon the competition itself and the group of people competing. Maybe a CrossFit competition isn’t all about separating the winners from the losers because of the closeness of the community.
Competition doesn’t have to pull people apart, it can actually bring them together. I saw it myself, first hand.
I’m still not planning on ever watching The Bachelor, Iron Chef, Survivor, or any other competition reality show. But, maybe it’s ok to be a competitor myself.
When the competition is the right one, it isn’t all about winning. It’s about doing our best and working as hard as we can. And there’s nothing bad about that.
How do you feel about competition? Does it always bring out the worst in people? Or can it bring out the best?
I recently started graduate school, which has added a lot of work to my life. I get up and do school work before going to work at my full time job. After work, I work out. Then it’s home for more school work before bed. Then get up the next morning and repeat the cycle.
Work, work, workout, work. That is what makes up my weeks.
Sundays have become my chore days. That is when I do the grocery shopping, laundry, and cook for the week. I find it easier to get it all done in one day, and get it over with.
Saturdays have been my fun days for pretty much as long as I can remember. Even as a kid, I remember waking up early to watch cartoons in a quiet house. There were no chores, no must do’s, no homework.
As an adult, I’ve made it kind of a tradition to do whatever I want on Saturdays. Not only is it not a day for work, it’s a day when I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do.
Lately, it’s been a day of pedicures, shopping with friends, and going out to eat. Kind of my three favorite things in the world.
It’s not hard to see why Saturday is my favorite day of the week.
But when I started grad school and realized how much work I have to cram in to my already tight schedule, I put Saturday on the chopping block. I figured I could add in a few more hours of work on each of the weekend days.
I mean, I had this whole empty day just sitting there. Twelve hours unfilled, unclaimed, and up for grabs.
I started to feel guilty about my ”Me” day. Maybe I didn’t need a down day to do whatever I wanted. Maybe I should be spending it doing some of the school work I need to get done.
Luckily, the word should is a big red flag for me. I know when I am saying should, there is something off. Because shoulds are the things that come from outside of me. From other people, from our culture, from the impossible desire to be perfect.
I know that when I think I should do something, it’s time to stop and take a look.
So I did.
And I realized that we have this crazy pressure in our culture to always be doing something. It’s why anytime we sit down we have that nagging feeling in the back of our minds that we should be doing something. We run through that list of things we have to get done because we know we must be forgetting something.
When really, the only thing we are forgetting is that we need rest. If we don’t give ourselves any down time, eventually our body will force us to take a break. We’ll get sick or be so tired and clumbsy that we trip and hurt ourselves.
How many times have you done something “stupid” in a state of total exhaustion? Fender benders, pulled muscles, putting milk in the cupboard instead of the refrigerator. Little mistakes we make when we don’t give ourselves the rest we need.
Sleep isn’t the only break our bodies and brains need. We need to rest while we’re awake, too. We need the downtime.
I realized that if I fill my Saturdays with work now, I won’t end up any further ahead in the long run. Because I won’t be able to keep up that pace. I’ll just push myself to the point of exhaustion and then collapse into a puddle on the floor. Then I’ll be forced to take downtime, in order to recover.
So, it’s our choice. We can plan when and how we want our breaks. We can spend a Saturday at the salon with friends and take a nap.
Or we can push ourselves as far and as fast as we can, until we can’t go anymore and our bodies force us to rest. We can get a cold, the flu, sprain an ankle, or even have a nervous breakdown.
Me, I’d rather break on my own terms. So I’m keeping Saturdays open just for me. I might read, watch a movie, or hang out with friends. Whatever I feel like doing to relax. But the one thing I won’t be doing is work.
Do you plan down time into your week? Are you someone who pushes until you can’t do anymore, or are you good with giving yourself breaks? What do you think of our “go, go, go” culture? Do we all need more time to rest?
Transformation doesn’t happen over night. I know that. It isn’t like the movies where the dorky girl takes off her glasses and changes her pants, and all of a sudden she’s a super model.
Change is slow and it takes a lot of hard work.
Outside of the movies, change isn’t just superficial, either. We don’t work on ourselves to get the cute boy. Not after middle school, anyway.
Most of us are working on something: learning a new skill, going to college, eating healthy, or going for a promotion. Life is about growing, moving forward, and we all have goals.
I’ve been working on getting strong for a long time.
I started lifting weights in college, to balance out all the running I was doing. It made me feel strong and capable, something I’d never really felt before. So, I kept it up. But I never got beyond a certain point.
I thought it wasn’t my goal to lift heavy weights. I just wanted to be strong and toned, and I could do that with ten pound dumbbells.
But it turns out it wasn’t about goals at all. It was about how I saw myself. How I still see myself: wimpy, weak.
I never lifted heavy weights because I didn’t think I could.
When I found CrossFit I was just looking for a way to like exercising again. I’ve always known that I need to work out. My body works so much better when I exercise, and being healthy is important.
But CrossFit is also about getting strong.
My favorite coach is always telling me that I’m stronger than I think I am and that once I figure that out, I’ll be pretty amazing. I always roll my eyes and think, ”Yeah right.”
Me, strong? I just can’t see it.
It isn’t about self esteem or self worth. I know I am smart and capable. I think I’m funny and I’m a great friend. I really do love me.
And it’s not even that I’m comparing myself to others.
It’s that I’m comparing myself to the idea of myself that I have in my head. And that self isn’t physically strong.
My friends at the gym tell me I’m strong all the time, too. And if I look at the numbers, I can see that they aren’t lying.
I can dead lift 200 pounds and I’ve gotten 90 pounds over my head. That’s a lot more than 10 pound dumb bells.
I can see it in writing and hear other people say it, but for some reason, I just can’t see it myself.
That makes me wonder how many other women can’t see the truth of who they really are and what they are really capable of? Do we all go around with this small version of ourselves inside, unsure of what we can really do?
I don’t want the idea of who I am to hold me back anymore. Especially since I know it isn’t true. It doesn’t really matter where it came from or why it’s there. The thing that matters is taking that old image of myself and replacing it with the truth.
I want to see what my coach sees and what my friends see. I want to see me as everyone else does. The real me. The strong one.
Maybe if I start calling myself strong, eventually I’ll believe it.
How does your image of yourself match up with the real you? Are there areas where you could be holding yourself back? How can you see yourself as you really are? If you have any suggestions for how to start seeing myself as strong, I’d love to hear it!
Last week I had a day that started out like any other day. Until I came home and heard a squishing sound when I stepped onto the carpet.
It took a few seconds to look around and register what had happened. My desk, my chair, the floor, everything in the dining room I use as an office, was covered with water.
I stood over my desk and water dripped down onto my head. My computer was sitting in a puddle.
The first thing I did was freak out. Then I got a towel and tried to dry off my computer the best I could. I called the apartment managers and pushed the button for emergency.
While I waited for the maintenance people to show up, I cleaned up. Some things on my desk were salvageable, so I dried and them and moved them out of the way.
Some things were ruined, like the beautiful box I kept all my great ideas in, written on stickies and scraps of paper. Luckily, the ideas inside were dry.
What worried me the most was my computer. Yes, I am good at backing up and I had just saved a bunch of stuff that morning. But there may have been things on there I didn’t get to. My computer is precious to me, not just for what it holds, but for what it allows me to do.
The maintenance people came and started to clean-up. They found the source of the leak. I was very happy to hear it was the air-conditioning unit above me, not the toilet.
They brought in fans and a dehumidifier and put them under the giant hole in the ceiling.
More guys came in with special vacuums to suck the water out of the carpet. They used it on my beautiful chair, too. They said that, eventually, they’d get everything cleaned up.
But I still didn’t know if my computer could be saved. It was too late to take it to Geek Squad. All I could do was wait.
I surprised myself with how calm I stayed. At first I wanted to cry or scream, but the feeling went away fast. There was no point. I couldn’t change what happened and yelling wouldn’t actually make me feel better.
The only thing that could make me feel better was finding out the truth about my computer. It would either work, and I would feel relieved. Or it wouldn’t, and I’d come up with a plan. Fix it or buy a new one and transfer all my stuff.
It was the waiting that wore on me.
So I did the only thing I could. I watched an episode of Nashville on the DVR and then I went to bed.
In the morning, nothing had changed. I woke to the sound of the fan, like a giant white noise machine, only louder. I still had a hole in the ceiling and my books were in stacks in the living room, drying out into crinkly pages with swollen middles.
But I knew that everything would be alright. My computer would work, or it wouldn’t. I could replace the books. My desk and chair could be cleaned. I couldn’t do anything about what happened. And I can’t do anything to prevent it from happening again.
We can’t stop the ceiling from falling on us, the pipes from bursting, our bosses from choosing someone else to promote. The crap is going to happen.
The only thing we can do is breathe, stay calm, and watch some good TV while we wait for it to work out.
Have you ever had any at home disasters that surprised you? Broken pipes, crashing ceilings, or no heat? How do you deal with bad things that are out of your control? And, is this a clue that it’s time to move as soon as my lease is up?
* My computer is fine, thank goodness! But I still have a hole in the ceiling…
When we’re still in our “meantime” place, it can be hard to enjoy our surroundings. Especially when our surroundings are a crappy apartment with thin walls and a faint mildew aroma.
I got tired of looking around at a place I couldn’t stand and always thinking about the better place I am going to next. We can’t actually live in the future, no matter how hard we try.
So I thought about my clothes, and how I am enjoying what I have in my closet now and mixing it with a few new pieces. I am not going to wait until I am the “perfect” weight to buy new things. I would never do that to myself when it comes to my body. So why do I do in other areas of my life?
The room I hated the most was my bedroom. With the door open all I could see were the sheets I never liked from my last apartment and the blanket I’ve had since I was ten years old. They were what I used to pack things in my car when I moved across the country. Not exactly a part of my design dreams.
Every time I caught a glimpse of them, I was reminded that I am not where I want to be. That I am making do.
It’s hard to focus on living in the moment when all you see are reminders of the past. It was time to change the view.
I had been waiting to decorate until I was in a place I liked. But, that obviously wasn’t working. So, I sucked it up and went to Target.
And, you know what? I had a great time going up and down the aisles, planning what my room should look like now. Right where I am. I found the perfect duvet cover and sheets to give it a pop of color. It even came with throw pillows that made me feel a little fancy.
When I went home and set it up, I liked what I saw. And now, I can actually enjoy where I live. It’s fun, yet classy. I love to prop my head against the decorative pillows and read before bed. And, now I actually look forward to going to sleep.
It may be the meantime, but it’s a meantime I can actually appreciate. Because when I look around, what I see makes me smile. It’s so much easier to live in the present when I like how the present looks.
Do you like where you are in your life now? Can decorating change how you feel about a place? What have you done to help get through the meantime?
I have always been kind of anti-New-Year’s-Resolution. I thought they were silly and more of a way to pick on ourselves. Just an excuse to beat ourselves up for eating real food and liking our bodies with some curve.
I guess it was all those resolutions to diet and lose “the last five pounds” blasted across all the magazine covers and the ads for morning talk shows.
I thought I was better than all that.
The past few years my resolutions have been things like: I will drink more alcohol, I will stay up later at night, I will shop more, and I will go out dancing more often.
They were not tough resolutions to keep. It was sort of my way of flipping the bird to the whole idea.
But this year there have been a lot of changes in my life. When I moved across the country and took a job that is 80% time, I had to make some changes. Not full time means not full pay, so something had to give.
I decided that thing was CrossFit. It is exercise, but maybe it was a luxury. So I found a big gym just up the street with a pool, classes, every machine you could think of, and even a cardio movie theater. And all for only $10 a month.
I thought I was a financial genius. After all, if I really wanted to exercise I would do it anywhere. Right?
Wrong. After all those months of CrossFit going back to a big gym was hard. I had trouble motivating myself to go after a long day of work. There were no coaches waiting for me, no friends in class to ask where I’d been, and worst of all it was boring.
I’ve hated cardio machines for as long as I can remember. I also hate running and most of the other cardio exercises you can do on your own.
But I kept trying to force myself to go to the gym I hated, and then feeling guilty when I drove straight home instead.
Normally my step-mom and I make goals for the year every September. The start of the school year seems like a good time. And we make goals, not resolutions. Things that we want to accomplish, classes we want to take. It is never about beating ourselves up.
This past September I was unemployed and living in my best friend’s playroom, so my only goal was to get a job. Needless to say, I didn’t have to mull that one over with my step-mom.
So this year we’ve decided to come up with resolutions, over the phone. The first thing that came up for me was exercise. I want to want to work out, and I definitely want to be strong and healthy. I really want to get back to the place where I was physically before I moved out here.
I was on my way to doing a real pull-up and my push-ups on the bar where getting closer to the ground.
It made sense that my New Years Resolution would be to work out. But I didn’t want to do it in a self-punishing way. That never works out well.
Then my step-mom asked me an important question: How much is it worth to you?
Being healthy and enjoying exercise is worth a lot. Really, it is worth more than my cell phone or cable. And it’s certainly worth more than the drinks out and the shopping I do with the money in my budget for entertainment.
Maybe my New Year’s Resolution isn’t to work out, it’s to re-adjust my priorities. Remember what is important in life.
I found a nice CrossFit gym close to my new home, where I will be working out in 2013. And they even give a teacher discount. It seemed meant to be.
Who knows, maybe next year I won’t need a resolution at all. Or maybe it’ll always be to take another look at my life and my priorities. What’s most important should always come first.
And enjoyment should be up there at the top of the list, whether it’s about my job, writing, people in my life, or even exercise. There’s no reason we can’t be happy and healthy. Sometimes we just need a reminder, even if it’s something ”silly” like a New Year’s Resolution.
Do you have any resolutions for the new year? Is that something you do regularly? Or are you a skeptic like me? How do you want to spend the next twelve months of your life?
I was watching a fun show the other evening about a kick-ass woman who saves the day, and the world, on a weekly basis. Every time I watch a show like that I end up a little bit inspired and usually wanting to take some sort of martial arts or self-defense class.
But then one of the characters said something that made me mad.
The heroine and her boyfriend/partner in saving the world were talking and the heroine apologized for saying something upsetting. Her boyfriend said he understood. He got that weepy look in his eyes and the background music got all romantic. Then he said, “I know it’s not because you don’t love me, it’s because you don’t love yourself.” Then he stepped in closer like he was about to kiss her. “But I can teach you how to love yourself.”
And that’s when I yelled at the TV. Because he was so wrong! And I hate to think of all the young women out there who might see the show and think that the right man can solve all their problems.
Because I remember when I used to think that, too.
I also remember the moment when I had everything that was supposed to make me happy. I remember sitting there with the great guy who loved me, in the nice apartment with the great view. I had a good job that I liked and a closet full of beautiful clothes. I even had a flat stomach. But I still wasn’t happy.
I remember thinking, “He’s here, he loves me, so why do I feel so bad?”
There’s nothing like being in a room with someone who loves you when you don’t love yourself. I’d never felt so alone.
That was the first time I started to realize that other people couldn’t change the way I felt about myself. But it was still awhile before I fully understood that I was the only one who could show me how to love myself.
There is an epidemic of self-hate in our culture right now. And unfortunately, that paired with the instant-gratification and consumerism makes us think that there is some magic fix for everything. I can’t stand to look at myself in the mirror, but if I buy these shoes, try this diet, or date this guy then everything will be OK.
But that is all a lie.
We can try all those things and we still won’t love ourselves.
I tried so many different things. I read self-help books, I journaled, I interviewed everyone I knew who truly loved themselves to ask how they did it, I even paid $300.00 for a twenty minute phone call with some guru on self-worth. I was desperate.
Some of those things helped. The books and the friends gave me ideas. The journaling helped me see that the relationship I was in wasn’t good for me. And getting out of it was the first step in showing myself how much I love me.
The path is different for everybody. And once you get to the other side, it’s hard to remember exactly what you did that worked. But the thing you remember the most is that you have to do it yourself.
Besides getting out of that unhealthy relationship, the thing that I think helped me the most was kind of cheesy. I looked myself in the mirror everyday, with no make-up and messy hair, and I said “I love you, Emma” out loud to my reflection.
I know, try to hold in the laughter. It sounds like something you’d see on a Hallmark Original Movie.
But when you can stand naked in front of a mirror and love yourself no matter what you see, you don’t really care how you got there. You love yourself too much to worry about that. You may not remember the exact steps you took, but the one thing you know for sure is that you did it yourself.
Because no one can do it for you. Only you can love yourself.
Have you ever battled with self-love and self-worth? Do you remember what helped you? Or are you one of those rare people who grew up already loving themselves? Any idea on how to battle the epidemic of self-hate?
One day last week the light on my dash board came on, telling me I needed gas. I only have to fill up once a month and I’ve pumped gas about half a dozen times by now so it shouldn’t have been a big deal.
But it was.
I’m living in a new apartment, in a new city, and learning a new job. So after a long day of new I wanted the trip to the gas station to be fast.
The problem is I don’t know my new neighborhood yet. So I have to rely on my GPS to get me around. Sometimes my GPS is my greatest ally. And sometimes I think a treasure map and a compass would be more helpful.
I drove around for over an hour trying to find a gas station. Every time I’d turn or go through a light my GPS would flash “re-routing” and give me a different map. I was tired and hungry and all I could think about was sitting on my new couch.
And I knew that when I got home, there’d be other things to do. Check my email, take out the garbage, unload the dishwasher. Then pack my lunch and get ready to do it all again the next day.
We all have so much going on in our lives. Work, family, obligations. Not to mention the things that bring us joy. I think we live in a culture that expects us to do too much.
Sometimes I really feel like that hamster on the wheel. Totally exhausted and I haven’t gotten anywhere.
It seems like we always have to go somewhere or do something. We fill up every hour of the day and wonder why we wake up tired in the morning.
That evening, the trip to the gas station was almost more than I could handle. When I finally found the place, I realized I had made a complete circle around my neighborhood and driven by my apartment twice. It was getting dark and I felt the time to get things done slipping away.
When I walked through the front door and thought of everything left to do, I almost started crying. That trip to the gas station had pushed me over the edge. When we have so much going on in our lives, even something small can become the thing that breaks us.
I decided that rest was more important than any chores I thought I needed to do.
Making my lunch was a must, but I could take out the garbage and unload the dishwasher another day.
Because we can only do so much.
If we push ourselves too hard and try to do everything at once, something small could become the straw that breaks our backs. We could end up in tears and out of gas on the side of the road. Or we can choose to go home and do nothing.
Sometimes nothing is exactly what we need.
Do you ever push yourself to do too much? When you feel like you need a break, do you give yourself one? Do you think our culture is too busy and focuses too much on doing? I’d love to hear any advice for not getting to the breakdown point.