I used to be a Holic. True story.
The only way to expand that, would be to clarify that I used to be a Holic-holic.
Chocoholic, workaholic, shopaholic, javaholic, shoe-a-holic, stressaholic, do-a-holic… Listaholic? You name it, I would ‘holic’ it.
Not only would I ‘holickify’ it (I just blew the dictionary’s mind), my overachiever instincts would kick into overdrive, and I wouldn’t just sweat the small stuff, I would stress them so hard that I pretty much sneezed diamonds on a daily basis.
And you know what’s worse?
I was kind of proud of it. It was like a twisted badge of honour to talk bout how many health warnings I’d received over my bad ass frettery. I’d be there, all swigging of thousands of caffeines, while tapping away on two to four typer-devices, while thinking of new things to get addicted to, and new crises to create for myself.
WHAT A RUSH!
I was *that* girl.
And I had friends, of course I did. And co-workers. And people in my life who wanted to help me.
And I though they were SO CUTE, thinking they could do my life the way I could do my life.
As a matter of fact in my heyday I was pretty sure I could have done my life, their life, their kids’ lives, and still have time for a new neurosis before sundown.
It was exhausting being me, but somehow I confused that level of pulsing pathology with THIS IS FUN. It wasn’t until one day when I dragged my quivering carcass into a nutritionist’s office, hoping for a pep talk and some herbal boosters that I met the beginning of my end of myself.
After drawing blood, and weighing and measuring and poking and prodding, she sat me down and said very gently, “You HAVE to slow down.” I laughed the kind of laugh I imagine an Immortal might laugh if a well-meaning neighbour told them they weren’t going to live forever.
SLOW DOWN? I didn’t do slow! I did fast! And faster! And Turbo! And turbo-er! Speed, progress, world domination!
But she continued to hold my hand, and gaze at me with the sad confidence of a mom who KNOWS that her toddler is not in fact going to find the gateway to Dora’s explorable world at the back of the TV. She said, “Listen, you HAVE to slow down. Look,” she said, pointing to some swirls and whirls I couldn’t decipher, “Your digestive system is shot, I’m sure you have pre-ulceric conditions, if not full blown ulcers. Your insides are clogged, your skin is in protest and you can’t be happy with your weight. Why are you slowly killing yourself like this?”
IS there a BIGGER BETTER WAY TO DO IT? <– That thought half crossed my mind.
But the semi-sane part began to struggle out of its coma to ask questions, and it prodded my conscience to do the same.
And if I was, what was it for?
Was my job at the time my absolute dream job? Was I fulfilling a bigger destiny, realizing my Life’s Purpose?
Was I building my legacy?
Or was I just another adrenalin junkie, thriving on impossible deadlines, feasting on the rush of accomplishment, functioning on a waaaay overdrawn health account?
In that moment, I knew I had a decision to make.
I’d love to say that in that very instant, I switched gears and became a super zen nouveau hippie, who embraced all, loved all and learned how to Let Things Go (first person to even HUM the song from Frozen gets an e-evil eye). But that would be a lie.
But it was the beginning of the end.
I began to question my choices more.
Did I need that? Did I need it now? Did I need it THAT way? Did I need to be the one to accomplish it or could I actually try that brave new thing called “delegation”? Or “trust”? Did it need to be chocolate? (<–um, hell yes)
Over time, through myriad trials, (many of which may make this blog because blogging a day is HAAARD and I’m really trying to save the ones where I just post pictures of my desk for much later) I have really learned to breathe and release.
Bad days still come.
Today was epically horrendous.
My classes were bad. I mean cataclysmic-ally so. With administrative witnesses.
My health hasn’t been great.
Some major plans for the future my husband and I made fell through tonight.
And I wash my hair with vinegar, which is now dripping odoriferously down my back and soaking its funky way deeep into all my clothes.
But still, I can ask myself some beautiful questions that bring me back to the centre:
Am I fulfilling my life’s purpose? Perhaps, perhaps not if we’re talking about careers. But i think my life’s purpose at this point is to keep getting my thoughts down, for my friends, and for my family and for people grappling with stress, and teaching, and diabetes and parenting and Questions About God.
I once said “in every let down, there is a lesson. Find it, and you will also find that all is not lost.” I meant it for my son. But I believe it’s pretty universal.
So I, wife, mom, teacher, diabetic and 5 days a writer, am going to keep looking for lessons and putting them here, so anyone who needs them can get them.
Another question: Am I building a legacy?
I’d like to think so.
Carry on, dear friends! Have faith, have hope.
And also perhaps a cookie. For courage.