Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How do I walk when I don't want to

I have been asked to talk about how I walk when I don't want to and how I find the time.

My first attempt at answering this question was a bit like swiping at a hungry tiger. I was surprised by my answer as it sounded angry. The truth is that if you want to find time to do something for yourself, you are going to have to make some very tough decisions about priorities. I know it isn't a simple thing even though I don't have children. Believe me, children are not the only unreasonable, selfish and demanding items on our lists. There are expectations in your life, people who expect you to do or act or say or fix right at the moment they demand attention.

When you decide that meeting those demands immediately is not your number one priority, you can expect life to be sticky for awhile. Or forever. Whatever they choose.

It is my contention that life is better when you make the decision to put yourself first. It may mean getting up really early or staying up really late. Most likely it means kids make their own dinner a couple times a week or they eat without you or they learn to iron... Very likely the reality will turn out to be less painful than everyone imagines during the first days/months of the new way of life.

One thing I have chosen is to live with a house that is not quite as clean as I would like it when I want it clean. My house is not messier than ever before, it just may not be clean right now. While there may be a pile of opened mail or uneaten garden tomatoes on the counter, I sleep better, feel better and (I flatter myself) look better.

Luckily for me, I have long believed that if you are coming over to see me, I should be the attraction unless of course a cat vomits at your feet three seconds after you walk in the door. It's hard to compete with the excitement of a retching cat.


My other contention on this topic is that if you do not HAVE to walk (or run), then you probably haven't been walking long enough. Because this feeling, this strength, this putting yourself ahead of others, the health, the determination, the pride...this stuff is big. I am grateful simply because my body will do more than I thought it would. I am grateful to discover that it still heals well. If there is a gift I could give you that would change your life, I think this is it: go for a walk.

What scares me is the day when I can't. I mean literally cannot go for a walk because something has gone wrong with me, or growing old is particularly unfriendly to me. I sort of have a thing in my brain that whispers, "Do it now. Do it while you still can."

Walk around the block, don't set out to walk 13 miles. Look. Listen. Escape. Sing. Set a good example. As much as we hate to admit it, there has to be a part of you that knows that your Important People will still be there (and they won't starve to death) when you get back.


Rose said...

Nothing competes with a cat barfing at your feet--unless it is getting up in the middle of the night and stepping in it!

Aunt Becky said...

Bwahahahaha! The cat barfing comment has been the saving grace of this evening. Seriously.

And you're spot on: you NEED to make time for yourself. No questions.

Badass Geek said...

You are right. The "I don't have time" excuse only goes so far.

dsmcaron said...

I love, love, love stepping in it in the middle of the night! I didn't mean to sound harsh, but the carving out time/priority thing really is difficult even for me, so I think that's the crux of the issue.

Arija said...

Absolutely, just like we air our clothes, we need to air our soul too, take time out for our selves and take our soul for a walk with an open mind, open eyes and open heart.