I realized today that maybe I am a perfectionist. I looked in my drafts folder on word press and saw that the last time I wrote a blog post, I had like 38 revisions. Maybe part of the reason why I haven’t written much lately is because it can be exhausting trying to get every single post (not to mention every single word) to feel perfect.
So I’m just going to put it all out there today. Marathon Monday/Patriots Day here in Boston. It can bring up a lot of painful memories for a lot of people, but I also adore how my city comes together and how we remember, honor, cherish, and celebrate. It was cold (in the 40’s) and raining cats and dogs here today, the poor runners! I guess if I think I’m tired, I should just think about all those who ran the marathon today!
Which reminds me of just much we compare ourselves to others, doesn’t it? I can’t be tired, because other people are (or vice versa). I think that the temptation to compare myself to others is what makes life even more difficult than just the day-to-day challenges. When you have cancer and you compare yourself to somebody that doesn’t, it just seems like everything in their life is just easier. That may be untrue (I know it is), but that’s just how it feels. And being so in tune to how fragile life is, that too takes energy. I thank my lucky stars every day for just that, though– the energy to be able to be thankful for the day. And for a multitude of other things as well, including the blessings bestowed upon myself and my family and friends.
I’ve been so tired lately. Perhaps it’s the gray and rainy days here in Boston. Perhaps it’s the stress at work. Perhaps it’s the constant pressure to take care of myself in a way that is yes becoming more easy and natural, but can still take a lot of thought and effort. Maybe it’s all three. My guess is that right now work is taking up a huge amount of space in my brain and my body, even though I think that I disconnect from it when I get home. There’s more work than people these days and a lot of negativity to boot. I work on boundaries and trying to be the light and having fun and laughing with my coworkers, when I can. That’s what I can do.
Sometimes I think that trying to figure out why I’m so tired is actually part of what makes me so tired. It’s exhausting going around and around in my head! Since being diagnosed with cancer the second time around, I put a lot more stock in any symptom that I feel, and my doctors are so cautious that I know if I told them half the things they’d have me in to their office in a flash for tests. I’m so grateful for how on top of things that they are, but sometimes I miss the pre-cancer days of feeling like I could have frozen yogurt or forget to work out and feel more relaxed, I guess.
Speaking of cancer (as we so often do here), The Cancer Hope Network asked me the other day if I would be able to talk to a match who was also recently diagnosed with a stage IV cancer that has spread. For the first time in a long time (if maybe ever), I asked if I could think about it (to which of course they replied yes, because they’re awesome like that). My inclination was to just jump up and say, “Yes! Of course I will!” because how can you say no to helping somebody that needs help? But I also knew that it could bring up a lot of anxiety for me as well, and so I slept on it (which FYI, I do with most important decisions) and meditated on it as well. I practiced what I preached and listened to my gut on this one. My intuition said that I could handle it. That this person was in need. That maybe I could offer support and maybe, it could make a difference in their life. I didn’t get here overnight (here being not curled up in a fetal position crying every.single.day), and I didn’t get here alone, either. It takes a village. Not just to raise kids, but to take care of each other, too.
I’m so glad that I said yes (and the CHN also kindly asked me how I was going to take care of myself while trying to offer support to this man), but the truth is, it did bring up a few things for me. And it reminds me that to take care of ourselves can feel like a very selfish act, when in fact, if we don’t take care of ourselves, a) nobody else will, b) we can’t take care of others, and c) we deserve TLC just like everybody else does. It’s cliché and said often for a reason, because it’s true!
I’ve heard a lot of people say recently that they don’t have time to take care of themselves or they have too many people in their life who need them and “don’t want them to take the time for themselves.” I find this hard to believe, unless it’s an extreme circumstance. And while there may be days where you really simply don’t have a minute to yourself (your kid gets sick, you get a flat tire, your boss moves up a deadline), I really do belive that if we ask, we can receive. If you explain to the people in your life that you need to take a step back or find 30 minutes to work out or when your kids are older, set a timer (making it part of a routine so that they witness you taking care of yourself and understand that this is a good thing for everybody) and go off the grid for 10 minutes to meditate, well why wouldn’t they want to support you feeling your best? Try it. You may just be surprised at the response of your loved ones, and the results could be extraordinary.
Somebody recently asked me how I take care of myself, and although I don’t have kids (which makes me feel like I need to defend the fact that I too am busy– I know that’s just my hangup and projection), I do need to make a real effort to carve out that down time. It’s not as easy for me as it used to be, for some reason. But these days I always feel better when I work out, make a healthy recipe, spend some time writing, meditating, connecting with a friend, or even doing 3 minutes of yoga stretches (it’s not uncommon for people to walk by my office and see me listening to the video “Yoga with Adrian” on YouTube, even while I’m sitting at my desk with my headset on, waiting for a call to come in).
So more to come soon on spending a good amount of time offering ourselves up some #TLC (If I tweeted, that’s what I would tag), including the best almond butter “fudge” recipe ever (yes, desserts can be part of the self-care routine!), and my new birthday pretty plum fitbit. I can’t wait to tell you all about those things. But right now, I’m going to carve out that down time that we just talked about.
And I am only writing one draft of this blog post tonight. xo.