The real deal

I’m tired. My heart hurts all the time lately, and I don’t know whether that’s anxiety or something more deadly, and it scares me, but I don’t know what to do about it. Most days my stress level is through the roof, and I’m sure my blood pressure is higher than my doctor would like it to be, but I don’t know what to do about that, either. I go to the gym, I get plenty of exercise, I watch what I eat, I do all I can to take care of myself. There just isn’t much time and there’s so much to do and to worry about. There is so much that is just not the way I would like it to be.

Stress at work, stress at home. Even the weather is stressful. Winter just won’t quit, and I’m worried about the snow on the roof, keeping the driveways at both houses open, and about possibly losing power this weekend in the predicted ice storm and what I’m going to do with my mom if that happens.

There is no time at which I feel on top of things; no time that I can take a deep breath and just be. I try so hard to embrace it all, to let it all be what it is and be okay with what it is; to keep my mind and my heart open and present in each moment. Sometimes, though, even that is stressful. I find myself thinking ahead or worrying about something in the future and I think Damn! I blew it!

Lately, it’s when I start feeling sorry for myself, and/or beating myself up for not being who I want to be in every moment, that the alarms start to go off. Thank goodness. I didn’t have those limits when I was younger; those red flags that tell me now that I’m headed for trouble, that I’m overwhelmed and sliding down the slope straight into the abysss.

Yesterday I heard the alarms, saw the red flags, and instead of ignoring it all and trying to soldier on, I said wait a minute. What do I need? I sat still and listened, and the answer was: TIME. So I took the afternoon off from work, and got a couple of big things done at home, and I felt better about the weekend and the resulting shorter list of things to do, and less overwhelmed in general, thanks to my decision to take a few hours’ vacation time.

I was not a wife or a mother when I was younger, so I get that I’ve been lucky that my time was mine mostly for the largest part of my adult life. I really try to avoid feeling sorry for myself or heeding the siren call of resentment telling me that it’s not fair that this is the way my life is now.

Of course it’s fair, and more than that, it simply is what is. Never in my life have I been clearer about what I was doing and why I was doing it. Living with and caring for my mother at the end of her life has been the hardest, but best part of my life in many ways. Despite the fact that much of the time lately it feels like it might be the end of my life, too, I know that it is the right thing to do, and the best use of my time and energy right now.

hope it’s not the end of my life, but if it is, at least I know my life will not have been wasted. Major karma between me and my mom, and I feel confident that we’ve cleared that up, and beyond that, honestly, what else do I have to show for 57 years on this planet? Nada, zip, zilch, zero. I was too caught up in faulty brain chemistry to contribute much for most of my adult life. I was becoming who I needed to be now, I guess, and I take comfort in knowing that I made it. If nothing else I was able to take care of myself and stay alive long enough to be able to take care of someone else and for me, that’s enough.

So my challenge is just to maintain my health; manage the stress as best I can, continue to do the things I know I need to do – the gym, eating properly, getting as much sleep as possible – and just keep going. Keep listening for the alarms, and watch for the red flags. Put my needs first when I need to. Meditate. Practice mindfulness as much as I can remember to. Acknowledge my gratitude as often as I can remember to.

I’ve come across several articles and blogs this week about self-care. It’s on all of our minds, whatever path we’re currently on. But writing about it, reading about it, or talking about it is not the same as doing it. Taking the afternoon off yesterday was the real thing, and it made all the difference.

What do you need right now? Listen to your heart. What is it telling you?

7 thoughts on “The real deal

  1. Literary Remains March 9, 2019 / 9:48 am

    Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not guaranteed. Right now is all you have to manage and if you don’t take care of yourself, nothing else matters.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Candi March 9, 2019 / 10:34 am

    Stress, overwhelm and sadness all mixed up with love and determination, well done for being so strong xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. thehummingbirdsjournal March 9, 2019 / 2:25 pm

    I’m glad that you saw that red flags and acted upon your need for time. Lately, I’ve been learning to notice the red flags in my life and taking a moment change what isn’t working in my life. Stay safe with the weather!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nadine March 10, 2019 / 10:50 am

    ❤️❤️❤️Truly lovely. Wonderful what you are doing for your mom. Acts of love like yours must be what give true purpose to life, adding positive energy to the universe. Doing a different and very special kind of mothering — mothering the being who mothered you. What a perfect cycle. Thanks for sharing. It’s a bit of light in the darkness.

    p.s. by the way have you heard Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast, Magic Lessons? Sometimes I listen (the episodes are all from a couple of years ago) and feel replenished afterwards. Such a soothing, compassionate creative energy. Maybe you’d like it too. They are free to listen via her website, and are also on iTunes. Not sure about android.


    • wsquared March 10, 2019 / 11:52 am

      Thanks, Nadine. ❤ I have listened to every episode of Magic Lessons, and I loved the book Big Magic. I found the podcast last winter when my mom was ill and I was desperate for inspiration. It was a lifesaver! Thanks for the reminder – I may go back and listen again. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nadine March 11, 2019 / 3:06 am



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