So many times I’ve said that I feel like I’m barely “keeping my head above water.” Metaphorically speaking in the sense that I’m on the verge of “drowning.” However, today, I realized that I was looking at it from the wrong perspective. It’s not that I am metaphorically drowning but that there are times when life feels like I’m swimming in a pool or a calm lake. But other times it feels as if I’m swimming in the ocean. Why the swimming metaphor instead of the drowning one? Simple! Drowning infers that I have, or am in the process of, giving up. Well giving up just isn’t my style. So I realized that it’s not that I’m drowning its just that sometimes there is so much going on, so much on my mind, that I feel like I’m swimming in the ocean.
So for those of you that have not that the opportunity or pleasure or swimming in an ocean let me help paint this picture for you. Swimming in a pool is the easiest form of swimming. You are in a controlled environment-no need to worry about Mother Nature, or the temp of the water, or the current, etc. You are in probably about 80 degree water, no animals, no current, no weather elements to factor in….So even if you are Michael Phelps, sorry but you aren’t considered an expert swimmer in my book until you have done some swimming, and survived it, in the ocean-especially the Bay Area waters! Yikes, even I’m not that daring! Here is why. Swimming in the ocean you have the elements of weather to contend with, the current (which can make you swim your hardest and get no where), you have ocean life, etc. It takes a lot of energy and a strong person, physically and mentally, to be an ocean swimmer.
Today I felt like I was in the middle of the ocean swimming and just realized it. I thought I was in a pool but when I came up for air I realized that I was in the middle of the ocean swimming. Why is that? Well I have two jobs-I went from no job for a year to two now. I am going to school three times a week and somewhere in there I am trying to have a social like and some time to myself to rest/relax. But today, this week, as much as I’d like to think I am Super Woman, I know I’m not. I know that she is just a character I can be for Halloween and a comic book character. She is fiction and this is real life. I am not 21 anymore where I was able to work three jobs and go to school full time. There is a lot more going on in my life then there was when I was 21. I am not the same person physically or mentally that I was at 21.
While this is not my giving up speech, it is my coming to face reality speech. Drowning isn’t an option for me, what is an option is trying to figure out how to keep swimming without “killing”: myself. We all have our limits, and knowing our limits is what is important. Knowing what we are capable of doing and doing it successfully is important. It is not about quantity but quality sometimes. I drove my life into the ground by not keeping up my quality of life b/c I was trying to do too much. I am not going to get caught up in that again. So while I may not spend every minute of my free time with my friends, it’s not b/c I don’t love you, it’s b/c I love myself and I know when I need some R & R time. We all do…. learning to say “no” sometimes is a good thing. I know that I can’t be going to school and working and have the same social life I did when I was unemployed.
Caring for you first is what is important-it’s not selfish. It’s like someone once told me, it’s like the emergency procedure instructions they give you on a plane. You set up your oxygen mask first before you help anyone else, including your child. What good are you if you are unconscious!
So today was a combination of my body physically telling me to slow down/back off a little and my mind needing some R & R. It was a warning sign that I chose to pay attention to, knowing now that if I hadn’t paid attention to it, later on down the road it may back fire on me.
So I choose to see these times as me swimming in the ocean and fighting the current. Not b/c that’s not the direction I should be going in., but b/c life and no one is perfection. We need to work hard to play hard and to reap the rewards we want in life. But in the process we also need to know our limits and know when we need a little break. Trying to drive on an empty tank won’t get you far.