So, as I have mentioned before, I have plans. My plans have plans. My strategies have strategies. Multi-tiered goals are in progress at all times. And then something happened. I got tired. I have no idea how this happened, and I swear on all I hold dear that I eat my spinach, broccoli, Swiss chard, and thanks to CityGirl’s blog, my exquisite acorn squash drizzled with a cilantro chili vinaigrette. But this tired thing happened anyway. Drat the tired.
As a practiced expert in self-analysis, I sat myself down for a little therapy session (no, I’m really not completely crazy), and said, “Okay, you’re tired. It’s time to ease up. Hey, you can even watch TV and knit if you like.” And the frazzled, overworked mule within almost wept. So, away I went to catch up on a season and a half of Grey’s Anatomy (I swoon for Major/Dr. Owen Hunt) and picked up my knitting project (this is a good time to admit that my very first knitting project was a blanket... really, I should have started with a nice scarf).
Inexplicably, my mood got murkier. That was completely not the point of this resting-up exercise. So, then I said, “Self, we were tired, and now our mood is like the bottom layer of a toxic dump run-off ditch. What now?” More Grey’s Anatomy. Check.
As my outlook further declined, I started to marvel (with a dose of horror) at the amount of work I had put into goals that hadn’t yielded much, and that started to depress the stuffing out of me. But I couldn’t find the exact words to describe this until last weekend, when, during a puppy-induced walking extravaganza, I realized that I felt as though I had been investing in the Never Bank. And that it was likely I would just keep using up my life force to make deposits in a bank that might never yield anything. Hardly inspiring. Well, as much as the pups loved their walk, my bright, energetic, and cheery wasn’t found and I marched home to wallow in knitting and more Grey’s Anatomy, thinking that at least Major Dr. Owen Hunt would understand me (he’s all broody, tortured, and earnest just like I love my television romances).
A week passed, and everything in my life became more bland. Bright moments still happened (like that acorn squash recipe), but overall, my writing didn’t give me the familiar spark and my life in general became mostly joyless. Bleck, I say.
Worse, thoughtless comments flying around me actually hit their mark and made me sadder, where normally, I would have brushed them off like pigeon droppings from above. Somehow, thoughtless ugly comments and pigeon doodoo go together. But without my droppings brusher at the ready, my mood, laden with the uglies (and not the good kind), deteriorated, enough that I think I worried some of my trusty friends who are used to the more upbeat, conquer-the-world me.
Thankfully, another puppy walk, or three, later, I realized exactly what I need to do to fix this little troublesome patch. I need to boot my driven off the couch and back to work. It isn’t time to look around and wonder where the spoils are, and I have to know myself enough to realize that forward motion is everything to me. As long as I am making progress, either by my daily writing, or even walking or getting out and meeting people (or starting a blog and loving every minute of connecting with fabulous people), I am moving forward. Forward is what matters, not that elusive image of what success looks like. Success is showing up and participating in the journey. And that is exactly what I forgot while I wasn’t pushing myself with enough force.
The truth is, there is a time for rest, but only as a rest stop, not as a state of being. And I don’t mean to imply that I don’t take rest time even during my busy, driven days. I do. I seek stillness. But even in that, I push myself to give myself that time. Also, since I’ve gotten my diet cleaned up, my body really tells me what it wants and most specifically when it wants to go to bed. I am not pushing myself to stay up writing until midnight and then wake at five to get to work anymore (I did that for a year). And it’s okay that I couldn’t keep up that pace, because taking care of my body is one of my innumerable goals.
So, the moral of my little story is “you got to know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ‘em. Know when to walk away and know when to run.” (Thanks Kenny Rogers.)
I am curious to know how you deal with the stresses of going after goals or how you stay positive under the strain of hectic lives. I’m always looking for new strategies (and any good, healthy recipes.) Please note, I can't have chocolate. ;)
Quote for the Day from The Mountain is Young by Han Suyin
"Do not worry to give a name to what you do, my friend. Is it not sufficient that to you something is given, not to be buried in the ground, but to use? Use it well, with no thought of success or failure..."