My body finally crashed. My mind was finally drained. Now, I had to retreat and recuperate to revitalize myself once again. So, here I am. In one month, I canceled two kidney activities/events that I had greatly looked forward to and planned in advance. I no longer make concrete plans and promises days ahead with people and my famous one liners are: “I’ll try” or “I’ll let you know as it gets closer.” I can no longer fully commit or plan because, you see, nothing can really be planned in life and all you can do is take one day at a time and walk one foot in front of the other with every effort to refrain from backward glances as the regret cloud will sometimes hang and hither to and fro.
I have always been a sprinter and a doer. I am not one to do nothing. I am always doing something. I love keeping busy. I do not know what ‘bored’ or ‘boring’ actually means. I do because I know that there will come a time that I will not be able to do anything anymore when I am dead. I thrive on the taste and sudden surge of adrenaline that pumps me full of fuel to go at everything and anything boldly and without thinking clearly at times and then, out of nowhere, my body throws a massive unwarranted temper tantrum and I am forced to do absolutely nothing. I can now feel my body ready to crash and burn as opposed to when I was a youngster, which has made me proactive versus reactive. Yet, even when my body says and even screams: “Mary, PLEASE do nothing,” I fight back with a loud struggle to try to be the artist to my canvas of life to do nothing.
My father has lectured me throughout my life when my body throws its temper tantrums: “You need to put yourself first and take care of your body in and for the long haul. You need to listen to your body throughout and not when it finally rebels against you. Instead of fighting to find the answers as to when your body rages and giving yourself more stress and anxiety, you need to listen to your body continuously. You need to slow down and pace yourself in little bites and not huge chunks. You need to do nothing.”
I try to explain, “I will be inactive when I am dead so I’m staying as active as I can when I am alive.” This mask translates a deep-rooted fear: “I am scared to miss anything more in my life when I feel like I have missed out on the ‘normal’ rites of passage in life of the majority. I know that I am not invincible, but I do not want to be invisible to my life. I want to be the player playing the game in life and not sitting on the sidelines on the bench watching my life just go by.”
For as long as I could remember, one of my biggest fights and struggles was “Endurance.” I fought my entire life for endurance in pacing myself and slowing down before the crash and burn for all I had to endure in my life. I do not say this as a “please pity me for all I endured,” but I say this factually that we all endure the hurdles of life and endurance for the long-term is needed and often not thought of for the vast majority. I envy the many that live in the here and now and are happy with a quick fix while I wonder intensely and intently about the long-term and if what I do with my days and time will blow up in my face down the line with my body’s explosive temper tantrums. Please do not mistaken this for worry about the future as I learned long ago that this worry is pointless, but I now think twice and even more than about spreading out the plans I do make, the priorities in life, and what I am doing and making of my time. As a wise friend said to me, “We all have the same amount of time in the day, but it is a matter of what we are doing in that day.”
Do you ponder and proactively make efforts to possess endurance in the long-term for all that you have endured? How do you know when to do something versus not do something? How do you try to take in the small bites on a plate that is too big with too much on it? How does one balance and pace for long-time endurance and care than short-time bursts and sprints? Do you think about what you are doing and deciding for down the line of life? Endurance is a choice when we must endure what is not a choice.
I still do not have these answers as I am living through the questions. Now, however, a new line has come as I have aged in playing this game of life and ensuing in prioritizing and boundaries-setting: “I want to be wise by playing smart in life so I do not end up on the bench sooner than later in life.”
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,