Wild and Precious Life

Life seems to go by faster and faster and at a more relentless pace than ever. We talk about multi-tasking. We have drive-thru’s and fast food, instant coffee and streaming on demand. We have task oriented apps for our phones, alarms and checklists and reminders. Check the box and feel accomplished at the number of boxes checked each day, or don’t check enough boxes and beat yourself up with negative thoughts.

Today was my first day off after working three 12-hour shifts in a row. I enjoy my job, I love what I do . . . even after 29 years of it. Twenty-nine years! Many changes have taken place — new medications, new procedures, better monitors, upgrades in policies (while some policies are stuck in the middle ages), and advances in travel nursing post-pandemic.

Myself. I have changed in the last 29 years as well. I’m obviously older. Tired. Thirty years of systemic lupus is taking a toll — heck, I’m not even as limber or energetic as I was three years ago. It’s been a fight for me to accept the changes, until the past week or so. I’m tired of being tired and pushing myself to go-go-go all the time. This body needs time to rest.

Naps. I recently wrote in my journal that “naps are the bomb!” Especially in the heat of summer, a nap is a blessed event. I wake up at 0430 routinely whether I’m working or not. I’ve noticed I’m at my best in the morning hours. At noon(ish) I have found that if I lie down and nap – even if just a 20 minute power nap – I feel much better. In the heat of the day, I may just sit and read or play the Sudoku puzzle and then about 3 pm I’m ready to get back at it. The dogs are ready to be walked and the temps have reached their high and are headed back down, albeit slowly some days.

Pacing. It’s okay to work on things for a set amount of time and come back to it later. I’ve been working on weeding the front flower beds for the past week. In the mornings, the area is shaded and so pulling weeds and digging roots is not as difficult. Throw in the days I have to work, or have appointments, or it rains . . . and my work gets interrupted. I’m still making progress, just not all in one fell swoop. That’s okay.

Comparison. There is nobody who has the exact same issues I do. It would be so easy to see other “old house homeowners” on IG and feel bad that they get more accomplished. Rene works from home and has no children. Jeanne is a stay-at-home wife with grown children but her energy could spin circles around me. Laine is married to an advertising exec and has her own bridal shop, but with no children and being able to design wedding gowns from afar — they have the ability to travel more and two incomes to boot. My job and my kids are not limitations, however, they do play into the pacing aspect.

Expectations. It’s difficult enough to have to rearrange MY expectations. When others comment in regards to what I am or am not getting accomplished (according to their expectations), it stings. I try to put myself in other’s shoes and see their perspective. I might ask questions or suggest, but to blatantly tell someone they should be doing more is beyond me. I certainly am not perfect, but to expect someone living their life to conform to my expectations just smacks of ego. I am not living my life to make anyone else happy.

Staying active. It’s important to me to be as active as possible. A body in motion tends to stay in motion. This is where the pacing comes into play. I have X amount of energy each day. Intense activities that require more energy, in turn require more rest. Exercise does lead to a greater sense of well-being, and increases mobility but there is the need to recuperate afterwards. Doing more is not the answer; I have learned that for myself. It does not require an explanation to anyone else not in my skin.

Change. It is extremely important to be open to change. I change my plans . . . frequently. I used to be quite rigid but it gets me nowhere when outside influences affect my plans. I change my thoughts, my ideas and my perceptions. Whether it is reading or research, learning better or more efficient methods, or just a change of direction — making those changes is my prerogative. Life is not set in stone, it is fluid as it evolves around us. Especially when the change does not affect the outcome, what does it matter? “Well you said this!” to which my answer is usually, “I changed my mind.”

I have one wild and precious life to live. I spent the first 30+ years attempting to make others happy and wasting my time. Which leads me to close with this thought below:

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