God got my attention.
And it was difficult.
From January of last year to now, there have been a series of events that scream, “Here’s your wake-up call. Don’t be a moron!” Bear with me as I ramble.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the grind of day to day living that we forget about “living”. Our time is broken down into a series of tasks and micro managing our minutes. Meetings, children, bills, spouses, significant others, deadlines, housework, jobs (…and the list goes on and on) fight for our attention every single moment of every single day. It’s no wonder that we escape to our worlds on the page! But even doing that can take a toll on our brains and body.
I feel overwhelmed just writing that last paragraph. How do we do it all- it’s mind boggling. So what’s my wake-up call? Life is finite and things can change in the space of a heart beat. I don’t know why it took a whole year of events to get me to realize that statement. I mean, I knew it, but I would brush it to the side like an annoying fly.
This past year, my cousin was surprised by a triple by-pass and his wife had a double mastectomy, a young friend and her baby were killed in a car accident, my neighbor was diagnosed with sarcoma and has undergone radiation treatments, her husband has tongue cancer, a close friend was diagnosed with ALS and is in the final stages- we only have 15minute visiting windows, my best friend’s daughter had a baby and was diagnosed with thyroid cancer (she’s 22), my best friend’s mother was killed in a wildfire(it’s been a very hard year for her), and this week our very good friend and Muse Track guest blogger, Will Graham, had a stroke and surgery on his carotid artery. (He’s fine and recovering nicely.) The icing on this questionable cake is the fact that I turned 50. Not a bad thing by itself, but coupled with the events swirling around me, it acts like a very loud alarm clock!
Life is a gift from God. We don’t always use that gift wisely and sometimes do things to screw it up royally, but it is still our gift. Here’s the trick- we don’t know how long it will last. I know there are things I can’t control. I can, however, watch over my body and feed it physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s something the big guy upstairs has been nudging me to do for quite awhile. Nudging is putting it mildly- He’s been hitting me over the head with a baseball bat to get my attention.
I started with the basics:
-I’ve lost 26lbs so far. Weight Watchers is my new best friend and she’s been very easy to hang with.
-I walk 3-4 times a day. I found I enjoy moving better when I do several short breaks rather than trying to do a marathon.
-I take a stretch break every hour I’m at the computer. A few minutes of yoga stretching does wonders for the body and mind.
-I make sure I’m getting enough sleep. One of the first things Will said when we visited him in the hospital was that he was lightening his stress load and working on getting more rest.
-I’m meeting friends to simply visit more often. Visiting is a lost art in this complicated, fast paced world of ours.
-I’m kissing my husband more often. This one might sound strange, but it’s fun and brings us even closer when we take time out to have quiet moments.
-I love to laugh and smile. I try to take a few minutes on You Tube to watch a funny animal video, a comedian, or hysterical animal voiceovers. I’m cracking up and my day seems lighter!
-I turn off all noise makers and electronics in my house for 15 minutes most every day. When was the last time your house was totally quiet and you weren’t staring at a screen? This is when I try to listen to what God is teaching me. Not always easy, but so worth showing up for!!
This isn’t rocket science. This isn’t even new advice. It’s a gentle reminder for you all to be good, really good, to yourselves. It took a jarring year and a birthday milestone to rattle my priorities. I’d like to say that I’ve got it all under control, but that would be a lie. Hopefully I’m developing tools to “stop and smell the roses” and not get totally sucked back into the grind.
I wish for all of us to be happy, healthy, and peaceful every day. It’s a stretch, but it can be done.
PS. I started off wanting to write an article about how to stay healthy while being a productive writer, but this is what came out. I hope this resonates with some of you and we’ll get back to tips on being a healthy writer another time.