I find myself exhausted so often because I don't want to miss out. Because I want to show that I am not "less than" others - that I can keep up despite having physical limitations. Because I want to be good at what I do. Because ... because ...
I also don't want to believe that my body is getting older. That it's failing me. That I can't do what I once used to be able to do.
And that is sad for me. Hard for me.
And when I read this paragraph, I realize this is all about me. And, in many ways, is actually detrimental. Pushing myself beyond what is healthy ... and for what? It doesn't even fit with my values and what I say is important. I value my faith. I value my marriage. I value relationships. I value family. I value building into others' lives. I value some down time - to read, to pray, to journal, to create, to enjoy nature and take pictures. I value education. I value integrity and doing the best I can. I value my health. I value independence in an interdependent way - no person is an island and we need to live in communion with others (on a side note, sometimes this is a hard balance for me to find as independence has been a strong factor in my life).
But I've been setting up a comparison - trying to prove myself. To show the world that people with disabilities can do as much as someone without. Trying to show that I can 'be someone'. Trying to do more than I am able to. Trying to gain expertise and gain respect. But that's not what life is about. It doesn't fit with my beliefs. I'm not putting God first - and listening to the prompts about what I should be doing. And not listening to my body and setting boundaries. I'm not asking myself - does this activity / this thought pattern / this way that I'm spending my energy - fit with my values?
Yet, how do I continue to reach towards my goals and, alternatively, know which goals I need to let go of. Which goals do I need to focus on because they are shared between my husband and me? How do I find my balance now? And then when we adopt, how do I build on that balance and incorporate what I've learned to maintain good life balance that fits with my values? My hope is that some things will just jump out as obvious and that some things that I have time for now that I won't have time for then with be easy to let go of. If it's not obvious, how will I know what to let go of and what to put my energy into? How do I make sure my body is operating at its optimum for where it can operate? Part of me fears that I will fail. That I won't have the energy to be the mom I want to be. What if I can't keep the house clean? Or get moving quick enough in the morning to make sure everyone gets to where they need to? What if I end up focusing too much on the tasks, and then not put the energy into my relationships - my marriage, and when we adopt - the relationship with our child. Thankfully, I am part of a pair - my husband and I are in this together. And we will get things done and we will stand by each other.
Things that exhaust me include: going, going, going for days in a row. Long drives - as in full long days that come after a week or more of really busy life. Long work days. Working every day outside the home. Having too much clutter around me (which is nearly impossible to shift because I need to be able to reach things and we have very few low storage options in our home and getting new ones that work in our space costs hundreds of dollars). I get exhausted when I am around others and I don't fit in - trying to figure out how to fit in. I get exhausted when I try to problem solve things that are difficult in life and the answers don't seem to be realistic. I worry when finances are tight. I worry about my family 2 provinces away. In these situations, I worry too much which consumes energy. When this happens, I need to relax a little more and know that we can operate on the plan we have come up with and that things have worked out in the past. And I need to rest in God as there are some things that I can't change.
I am energized when I teach. But then am exhausted after, particularly after a few days in a row of intense, large group teaching. Yet I still love it. I am energized when I see the impact of my work on clients. My role, however, requires long hours at times. In the moments, though, I love it! And the flexibility and autonomy is worth SO much! So, how do I find balance within my work?
I need to find ways to take better care of my body. Continuing to get good sleep. Gentle exercise. Sacrificing money to get massages. Eating well.
I need to also continue to make sure I put energy into keeping our marriage good. That takes effort, as it does for everyone.
One thing I've learned in life, though, is that change is constant. And life balance will fluctuate. I need to be my own OT and figure out what I can do to maintain wellness so I don't overdo things - and to make sure I am doing things that are meaningful. And make sure we, as a family, are doing meaningful things together. And have the courage to set limits and say 'no' when I need to. That I do things that fit with my values.
"For fast acting relief, try slowing down" ~ Lily Tomlin