Life is this dance of personal needs/wants and those of others. The question is how to do it with as little foot-crushing as possible and still love the dance.
My body is sore today. I woke up feeling like I’d just completed my first marathon, which seems strange considering I only did a little over a mile on the treadmill yesterday (a strenuous mile, but only a mile, nonetheless). Of course, I knew the aches and pains weren’t from yesterday, they were from the day before when I went to the multi-generational center, paid my $13 for a year-long membership, and then worked out for 45 minutes. Mostly, I tried to emulate what few kettle bell exercises I could remember from some videos I’d watched without revealing my obviously novice status in public. Then I flitted from one machine to the next checking out what was available. At the time it didn’t feel like much of a work out. At 3 in the morning last night, my body thought otherwise.
I joined because some days, like tomorrow, scheduling my workout with fitness buddy is challenging; life gets in the way. It’s her Planet Fitness membership that I have been sponging off of for the last month and a half or however long it’s been, and while it’s so much easier to stay motivated with a fitness buddy, occasionally she is seriously resistant to going. But, I need her presence to harken the doors of Planet Fitness unless I want to join myself, which I don’t.
So, it’s nice to have an alternative, especially one that has so many others perks that I could stay seriously occupied with little effort, if I had that kind of time and I took advantage of even a fraction of what’s available.
Plus, they have kettle bells which I have been wanting to work out with! The down side of it is that they apparently close from 1:30 to 2 for cleaning (a factoid I discovered by arriving for my workout at 12:45) and their hours are much more limited (not open on Sunday).
But I’m sore. And part of me feels guilty about working out without my fitness buddy, especially since it’s not as enjoyable although less constricting.
This and our conversation last night got me thinking, how often do we modify our true desires out of consideration of another and is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Now, in reality, I would have to say it’s neither good nor bad, it just is.
But, our conversation got me thinking….
Brandi was bellyaching about always back-burning her needs. Everyone else’s came before hers and she was tired of it. I reminded her that we train people how to treat us by what we tolerate.
I know the issue. It’s that those of us with an acute sense of responsibility don’t blow them off lightly. So even if you’ve back-burnered some else’s demands, the awareness of them still lingers like so much smoke from a burnt meal. You can totally chuck it, but the smell still taints the air.
And so it is with juxtaposition of desire for self with eternal demands. Ultimately this dance called life is chocked-full of conflicting wants and needs and because we aren’t in this alone, compromise is inevitably a part of that. It is up to each of us to decide for ourselves what works for us and what doesn’t.
And as mentioned in yesterday’s post:
If I am rooted in certainty about what my values are and I honor my priorities, then the whole mess becomes so much easier to navigate. It’s not that I disregard my own stuff, but, for example, when it is more important to me to be present for a friend in need than to watch a TV show that my DVR is recording anyway, the choice is easy. The key, I think, is making sure I make self-care enough of a priority so that when I am delaying personal preferences in favor of someone else’s needs, I don’t feel cheated in any way. I chose consciously and I didn’t subjugate my own needs only to breed resentment because it feels like sacrifice.
For myself, I am still trying to figure out how to forestall the pull of external claims on my time without allowing guilt to wreck self-care dibs. I am trying to remind myself that I, too, deserve to be treated like my needs are important. But I know that no one else will learn that about me if I don’t learn it about myself. The balance between self-care and care of others may continue to be an unsteady ride at times – it’s not a skateboard I always float well – but in the end, I do know that Eleanor Roosevelt’s advice is sound:
“To what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.”