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My Grand Idea to Spend More Time Outside, and How That Worked for Me

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

So... here's something really interesting. This morning I posted about nature, and how I need spend more time outside, and made a decision to do just that. The universe must have been supportive of me in that moment, because I ended up working just a half day at the grooming shop, then I went directly from there to my boss's house and pulled grass out of an ajuga bed the size of a football field. Naturally, it was a bright and sunshiny day - warm actually - not a cloud in the sky, and I got really hot and really tired, and I pulled weeds until my hand cramped up, my fingers got numb, and my arm started to tingle.

Then, finally, when the last weed was pulled, I collected my very tired self and took my now twitching hand directly over to my daughter's house where I dug holes, and helped her plant shrubs and ornamental grasses in heavy clay soil filled with rocks.

When it was all said and done, I had worked a 13 hour day. Hard work, hard dirty work, hard dirty mostly outside work. I think the only time I sat down all day was when I was driving from one job to another. Here's what I look like right now:


OK... You're right, that's not actually me. Close though. And I have to tell you, even though I got plenty of sunshine, fresh air, and exercise, I don't feel all that nourished! In fact, I feel pretty much drained... There must be a lesson here somewhere. Maybe it goes something like this:

Just because somebody offers me $50 dollars to do something, it doesn't mean I HAVE to say yes. Saying "no" to working too hard is the same as saying "yes" to taking better care of Shirley. Also... just because my daughter wants and needs my help, it doesn't mean that I HAVE to say "yes" when I'm running on empty. I could say "not today."

I seem to have a pattern of putting my personal comfort last. Everything and everyone comes first. If I'm tired, I just tough it out... after all, they need me. It feels good to be needed, it feels good to be important, it feels good to be indispensable, and then later, when I'm worn out, I sit in front of the computer and wonder why I've got no energy.

Next time I decide to spend more time outside, I'll need to be way more specific when it comes to what I'd be DOING out there! Plus I really need to pay way more attention to my own need for comfort, rest, relaxation, and fun! So, I'm paying attention now, and I'm getting this posted so I can take a shower (no I haven't done that yet - remember the picture?), and go to bed.


Cindy H said...

I know exactly where you are coming from! I used to be just like you! It's weird, but since my injury and disability, even though that has changed my life in some bad ways, it also seems to have changed my life in some good ways, most prominently in that I don't seem to be as hard on myself as I used to be.

I was always the "tough" one with a high pain tolerance and the "anything you can do, I can do better" attitude. I used to feel like "I don't need a man! I don't need any help! I don't need anybody!!!"

When I first hurt my back I was in major denial for a while. I couldn't accept that I needed help! I HATED asking anyone to help and tried to continue to do it all myself, but with a back injury, you are certainly taken down a peg or two when you are in such pain you can't move and you know it's because you were just being stubborn and hard-headed about things!

I still don't "accept" my "disability"...I still try to do everything I can to stay healthy and strong with a positive attitude, but I now tend to take better care of myself!! Now I know my limits and recognize them and know that it's okay to ask for help sometimes.

I worked very hard as a single mom for many years and it's okay to now be grateful for the loved ones who are willing to help me now. I try to be kind to myself.

I certainly don't recommend severely injuring your back - but I do recommend that everyone realizes that it's okay to say no, it's okay to pamper yourself now and then, and it's okay to be lazy some days and just lie in the hammack and look up at the sky!!

Shirley Twofeathers said...

Hi Cindy! Thanks - and I totally agree. A nice lazy day in a hammock! Sounds yummy!

Melissa J. said...

I'm with you! I developed serious ongoing fatigue about 3 years ago and it severely limited my activities until very recently. I'm on the mend, thank God. During that whole ordeal, I realized that if I don't have energy to do something, I damn well better not do it. Why does it take something like a health crisis to make us women understand that? Even though I'm feeling a million times better, I'm still not back to 100% yet, and I feel perfectly fine saying NO. I have to take care of me.

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