Three very different marathons have been going on in little ol’ Eugene today: a chocolate ice cream-making marathon in my kitchen, a sexy-time marathon in the apartment next door, and an actual running marathon. In turn, I am a soup of emotion: melting truckloads of chocolate made me merry and anxious – perhaps with a greater dose of the latter – listening to unending love-making made me distressed – their intimacy made me reflect upon my lack thereof, owing to debilitating deep-rooted personal insecurities – and watching my Twitter feed get bombarded with announcements of race-finishers made me feel slothful. And even though each of these feelings is worth talking about (especially the sex-makes-me-nervous one), today I’d like to address the feeling of idleness I habitually face.
Heck, I’d feel lazy too if I was watching marathoners run past my kitchen window while I was making ice cream, you may be thinking. And that’s totally permissible, just not in my case: As someone who struggles to physically relax – I have been compared to a caged tiger when I haven’t left the house for a while – “lying low” in the kitchen as opposed to pounding the pavement merits applause. What’s more, considering I ran eight miles yesterday, beating myself up about not running today is plain wrong. Limits, girl.
And that’s exactly it: I haven’t got a firm hand on my limits. An overachiever by nature, I struggle to be content with doing just enough; I can always read more, write more, exercise more, party more, talk more, organize more, learn more. More, more, more. Isn’t that exhausting? Yes. So why don’t you stop? Because feeling idle is far worse than feeling exhausted. Or so I think.
Guilt and regret are my number one tormenters. Together, they bully me into doing, doing, doing all. the. time, chillingly convincing me that if I don’t do this, this, and this, I’ll feel unfulfilled and empty. I do not know the last time I woke up after 9.30am, watched a movie in the daytime, or had an afternoon snooze; even as a small child, nap-time was a battle, as was watching TV. This is not to say that being on-the-go 100% of the time is simply in my bones, it just illustrates how deeply rooted my fear of not being good enough is: If, during childhood, I deduced that naps meant missing out on things, which meant inevitable failure (duh! not..), you can see why being stuck in my kitchen this morning while people were out conquering a great triumph was unnerving. The good news is, this is all changing.
With every little step in the right direction – take, for example, finishing making ice cream this morning instead of throwing down the spatula and racing onto the course – guilt and regret become less and less domineering. Unless Orlando Bloom promises that if I completely veg out he’ll marry me, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to live a sedentary life, but that’s not to say I can’t choose to read a book on the sofa all afternoon if my heart so desires. The real challenge will be hanging out at home all day, eating normally – none of this skimping-because-I’m-doing-less nonsense – and feeling accomplished.
1 day down, many more to come.
Do sedentary days bother you?
How do you deal with guilt and/ or regret when it comes to allowing yourself to veg out?