No, not you. Me. I push myself far harder than I would anyone else. Sometimes I think that’s part of living in a culture of “I want it right now,” but I really think that this time, it’s me. I can see all the hallmarks as I consider the recent past.
- I’m down 80 lbs from when I started actively trying to lose weight in April 2011. Am I content with all of those benefits? No. I push myself to lose faster and drop yet another clothing size. I push myself to do heavy-duty aerobics 4 days a week, and have sore knees to show for it. I realized this last week that I was wearing workout clothes more often than my jeans.
- One of my directors at my work teased me that I have completed more professional development than most of my peers. Did I take that as a compliment? No, I pushed myself to complete the first draft of a textbook, publish an article, and do a brief bit of research for another article.
- I want so badly to have my family back to our independence that I am pushing hard to find opportunities, whether I like them or not.
- Oh, and I get to have gall bladder surgery. Have I changed anything in my routine? Rested more, taken it easy? Yeah, right.
A friend asked me this week if I would push a friend or a child as hard as I push myself. Looking at that list, it’s no wonder I’m feeling spiritually and otherwise exhausted.
I decided to try calling a halt to the pressure on this day, Labor Day. After all, Labor Day is the summer work holiday here in the U.S. I did no online work, although I did get some laundry done. I considered separating my cell phone from my hip, but decided that a Blackberryectomy might be too painful. Aside from the standard notifications, no one emailed, called, or texted me without my contacting them first.
I don’t think that I’m a victim of society or culture, or a victim of any sort whatsoever. I want the life that my family and I envision so much that I push myself unceasingly. I think it means that I try WAY too hard to be… what?
- Thin? Already on the way and thinner than I have been since before the kids were born.
- Successful? I’ve been told by a great many people that I already am successful. I haven’t believed them yet because I haven’t attained the success I want.
- A good mother? My kids are terrific, well-adjusted, and know they’re loved by both mom and dad– who also love each other very much.
I could say that I will stop pushing myself, but I know it won’t be as easy as typing the words on a computer. I can try each day to accept and remember my successes and resist one compulsion to push myself. It’s a kind of 12-step program, but I’m not bringing a friend to meetings or taking a pledge of any sort. Besides, it’s probably more like 12,000 steps.
But the journey of 12,000 steps starts with the first one. I believe I’ve just taken it.