Things I should have done, yesterday: run, strength work, shower, eat well, cook healthful food, clean, help kids with homework.
Things I actually did, yesterday: sat on couch, watched Rush videos, ate cookies, read a Sherlock Holmes story, napped.
But that's OK.
As you might have detected, from my previous post, I have extensive experience in being a jerk to myself. I have a habit of setting myself up with loads of lofty goals. Go back to being 100% vegan. Lose weight. Run a Boston qualifier marathon. Earn my BSN. Become a certified neuroscience RN. Declutter/clean/organize the house. Be more present, less anxious, more Zen. Don't sweat the small stuff. Stick to a budget. Be more crafty. Be a better parent. And so on, and so forth, etc.
All of it. Now.
That's how I started this blog, three years ago, all fired up, ready for a career change, going back to school, and qualifying for Boston. All at the same time. Didn't take long for it all to fall apart. Stumbled, in the new job. Dropped out of school. Posted my worst marathon time. And the self-loathing kicked in. Every few months, I mix up the lofty goals a bit, try again, fail again, loath again.
I'm going to Massachusetts for a solo vacation, next week. My plan was to be fifteen pounds lighter, by now, six weeks into marathon training, in peak condition. I thought that by switching from night shift to day shift, the end of June, everything would fall into place, and I'd finally have energy to accomplish everything.
I was wrong. I'm still plagued by fatigue. The constant zombie/ghost feeling I used to have has disappeared, but co-workers who have made the night-to-day shift transition have told me that it takes at least six months to start feeling "normal" again. And yet, I still managed to latch on to the belief that it should only take a few weeks, and promptly signed up for a November marathon. Can't imagine why I don't succeed, with reasoning like that!
Recently, though, I've ben thinking about how I can be kinder to myself, less judgy. "Be the change you wish to see in the world," questionably attributed to Ghandi, is still a great concept. If I wish for more kindness in my world, I need to start with myself. If I'm perpetually hateful to myself, that negativity is going to flow outward, to my family, co-workers, patients, and community, no matter how much I try to contain it.
There is a growing epidemic of self-lothing, surrounding us. So many of us are kicking ourselves for not being successful/fit/thin/healthful/youthful/crafty/organized superpeople. With all of that hating on ourselves, it naturally spills over, onto others, and drags us all that much further down into a swirling vortex of negativity. This is particularly toxic to those of us who struggle with depression.
Crazy concept time, here - what if we just started being kinder to ourselves? Will that kindness radiate out, like warm beams of happy sunshine? Why not? People are yearning for positivity, in their lives. That's what fueled the whole ALS ice bucket challenge, until all the Debbie Downers started crapping on it. People just want something to feel good about. It doesn't take much, and yet it seems so pie-in-the-sky, at the same time.
I worked overnight shifts for most of the past nine years, often sleeping only 3-4 hours, at a time. It's going to take time to get over that kind of extended fatigue. No, I should not have signed up for a Novermber marathon. No, I'm not going to BQ, this year. I'm tired. I need to rest and recover. And that's OK.
I don't have the perfect vegan diet that I once had. It's OK. I've made a lot of positive changes, in the right direction, and I continue to make positive changes. It's OK.
I dropped out of the BSN program, after one course, three years ago. It was too hard, at the time. I will go back to school, eventually, but, for now, it's still not a good time. I'm not quite ready to face the CNRN exam, either. I will be, eventually, but not right now. And that's OK.
I'm very far from being a perfect parent, but I'm more present, now, than I used to be., in my zombie/ghost state. My house is still a bit of a cluttered mess, but we keep taking on projects, to improve it. I still let anxiety get the best of me, in stressful situations, but I'm learning to control it, a little better. I haven't lost fifteen pounds, but I have lost three. I'm not as toned as I'd like to be, my hair is graying, I have wrinkles and age spots, but I'm 46, and I'm trying to take on this whole aging thing with grace. And it's OK.
It's good to have goals. It's good to keep striving, always working toward something better. It's not OK to berate yourself for not doing everything, all at once, now.
I've had a couple of very stressful weeks, at work. I'm an introvert, in an extroverted profession. I need recovery days, and beating myself up for not living up to self-imposed standards only wears me down, more. Kindness is restorative. I need to use that oxygen mask on myself, before I can help anyone else. Such a simple concept, yet so hard to internalize.
But that's OK.