Don’t Overdo

Live to mow another day.

Your body is one smart cookie. It tries to talk to you all the time. Are you listening?

It’s really tempting to push through pain and exhaustion to finish up what you’re trying to get done. Believe me. I know. It’s also hard to stop having fun even when your body is protesting. But it’s not as if you get to trade your body in for a newer model if you wear it out. Aside from the possibility of a few replacement parts, this carcass, flawed as it may be, is pretty much it for you. So it’s important to take care of it.

The day I wrote this, I had been mowing the lawn in the hot sun. It was the only opportunity I would have to do it this week, and I really didn’t want my neighbors to give me the stink eye due to my neglect. That, and the lawn does look better when it’s properly maintained. So mow I did.

But I had to keep taking breaks. I was sweating profusely. My heart was pounding. I was getting dizzy. More and more, I had to stop, sit in the shade, drink some iced tea, and lie flat until my heart slowed down a bit. Then I’d mow some more, and sure enough, it would happen again. I’m neither as young nor as thin as I used to be.

At one point I thought I was going to pass out or vomit. Back to the shade. As I lay there, I thought, “You know, I could die. All alone in my yard.” That would suck. I have plans. I’m working toward a future, here!

Suddenly I realized that the lawn was not worth dying for. Common sense, you’d think. But it was actually an epiphany for me. So, the front lawn looks great, but the back yard is choked with dandelions and clover. But, hey, I’m alive. And the bees are thrilled.

Afterward I took a cool bath, and then a nap, and felt much better for it. I bet my body is astounded that it took me so long to wise up. I suspect it feels like that quite often.

I need to become a better self-listener. I’m not going to win some prize for pushing myself too far. There are no medals for abusing one’s health. I don’t know about you, but I want to live to mow another day.

Bee and Dandelion

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Unplug

Recently a friend of mine posted some quotations by the author Anne Lamott on her Facebook page. One that really struck a chord with me was this one:

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”

Wise words indeed. I thought of them last night when my wifi went dead at a critical moment. I was really feeling frustrated as I unplugged the modem and slowly counted off a minute. And I decided that rather than stand there gritting my teeth as the seconds clicked slowly by, I’d do some stretching exercises based on a vague memory of the last yoga class I attended.

Why did I stop doing yoga? I have never felt physically better than when I did it regularly. I have no idea. Time. Money. Habit. Pure laziness. I need to get back into it. I need to give myself that gift.

I also thought about how wonderful my recent day trip to the tulip festival was. I could feel my blood pressure drop. I could feel myself relax and breathe. These things are important.

I need to be more gentle with myself. Take more baths. Take more breaks. Take more naps. Soak up the sun.

I need to be kinder to myself. I need to remember that no one can be as kind to me as I can be to myself. Deep down I know what I need. I also know that while it is necessary to do those things that will allow me to live my life (Damned job! Damned housework!) it is also vital that I not forget to do those things that make life worthwhile.

Then I did one last luxurious stretch, plugged my modem back in, and sure enough, both my laptop and I were good to go again.

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