Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Today is my Birthday and I have become an Expert

 Warner Bros.

Today is my birthday. After all these years I have finally realized what I am an expert at.  I am an expert procrastinator and rationalizer. I did not adopt the title “The Reluctant Cyclist”
because I am the first person to the starting line. Nor do I spend late nights catching up because I finished a project ahead of time, even though I may have started it well in advance. Nope! I am the person dragging her feet then trying to catch up.

Warner Bros.
I am an expert at finding excuses to not start. It’s too hot; I’m too tired; I have other things I need to tend to. Or how about “I’ll start with the smaller projects so that I can get those out of the way”? I go through a mental conflict, and make up excuses, to justify not undertaking the opportunity at-hand. Let me give you an example. ---My mom was in a nursing home and I really did not enjoy visiting her there. That left me feeling self-centered if I chose to go for a bike ride on a Saturday morning while she was sitting in the nursing home. So instead I would tinker around the house all morning till it was too late to do either. So I didn’t visit her, but at least I didn’t selfishly enjoy myself either. In the end, I had nothing to feel good about. I would eventually visit her on Sunday and ultimately, never find the time to revitalize myself. It’s a shame we interpret “recreation” as meaning fun, when in fact it literally comes from the word re-create.

 United Artists
I think too many of us feel that we should not allow ourselves the time we crave to take long bicycle rides or walks along the river because there is always something nagging at us that needs our attention. Laundry to be done, a report to write, yard work, transport the kids, or visit our parents, something distressing to make us feel guilty about satisfying our own needs. And they are needs. Not just wants or desires, but legitimate needs. Today I promise myself I will take care of myself in order to be better equipped to tend to others’ needs.

I’m not writing this because I have the answers. Heck, I sometimes wonder how my own kids have survived my sometimes crazy, always unpredictable work-life balance. I have often fallen victim to that old adage “if I can’t do it all I just won’t do anything at all”. We work really hard at finding an excuse to not work at all.

So why do we deny ourselves the things we so desperately need to revive our minds and rebuild our bodies? Why do we think we do not deserve one day, or even half of a day, out of our weekend to ride a bike? And if we take the time for ourselves, why are we tortured the entire time by thoughts of unfinished chores or the needs of others? Finding time and energy on work days is more difficult than weekends. We get home from the office, or the hospital, or the factory and we immediately start making sure everything is in order for the following day, and that everyone else is okay.

– “Hey lady! Wake up! (Knocking on my own noggin) Only in being true to yourself and nurturing your own healthy needs, can you even begin to be of value to others.”

Now stop reading and go ride a bike!

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