I am a recovering control freak. I say recover-ing because I am hardly recover-ed…I’ve got a long ways to go. I hold on to everything too tight and it’s solidified my role as the girl who’s always stressing out. I think I’ve been this way since I was about 5, but it got so much worse when I was at Bastyr. The stress I put myself under as I tried to do 3 programs was just insane and my reserves were already low after undergrad, pharmacy school and a divorce. Oh, somewhere in that blur there was an emergency surgery for a terrible infection after a miscarriage. Instead of taking a bit of time off and getting myself together, I thought “32 credits per quarter? For 5 and a half years? Bring it on.” As if the work load wasn’t enough I thought I’d get myself into a situation that was a little more like a roller coaster than a relationship – you know, just for a little more stress. I can do it, right? The harder I tried to control it the more I lost my grip. My sleep suffered, my complexion was a teenager’s worst nightmare (and I was 25!), my period would come and go every other week, then disappear for several months, and I cried a lot. I was miserable. Yet it never occurred to me to back off, take things a little slower and take better care of myself. I pushed and pushed (if you’ve been following this blog you’ll notice this is a pattern of mine!) and lived in fear of losing control of it all. Simply put, I had a lot to prove: that I could do it all. I’d show up at the gym after an hour of sleep, 12 hours of class and workout completely on empty. It was ridiculous and not very healthy. Then, I’d come home, make food for the next day, study and try to sleep, but could only toss and turn. Then I’d get up and do it again, all the while feeling like I was failing. But I had to do it all…..right?
Some days you can’t – and shouldn’t – do it all. It’s taken me until 35 to realize this and I have a lot of help from my in-house clown. I’ve always taken life – and myself – way too seriously, thinking I had to have to get it all done perfectly and preferably ahead of time. This has lead to hours of anxiety and beating myself up because sometimes you simply can’t do it all and we need to let that be OK (talking to myself here!). Living with a comedian is fun, but I can be frustrating. I will be trying to have a serious conversation about picking up the dirty laundry and of course, he’s making a joke – yes, at my expense. And he’s right, we should all be laughing a little more and stressing a little less…especially about laundry. This will probably be a battle I fight for the rest of my life – I think I’m hard wired to go, go, go – but I’m grateful that I’m learning to laugh at myself more and not take myself quite so seriously. Thanks Joe.