Sustainability

Radical Self Care

Over the last few months, I have been struggling with my ever-increasing need to care for myself. Of course I have always had to deal with self-care, as middle-aged single woman, it is my primary responsibility. I, like most adults, pay bills, wash laundry, take out the trash, clean out the litter box and file my taxes. But as of late I have discovered totally new levels of self-care that were previously unknown to me.

I feel like I have taken on a new full-time job called radical self-care. I have so many medical, massage and physical therapy appointments. I have several yoga, exercise, stretching and walking sessions each week. Plus I have been doing a lot more food buying and home cooking as well as regularly testing my blood sugar and tracking my food intake.

During this same time, I have also focused on taking care of my home, my finances and my businesses. I feel totally inundated with the element of Earth, which for an Air person feels positively maddening.

I want so much to escape, to fly away, to get above it all. I keep sketching out ways to make sense of all this sensate activity, trying to find a way to “get a handle” on it all. And I am losing the battle. I feel out of my element both literally and figuratively.

Enough already with all this Earth!

But I cannot make it go away. I find myself going to bed exhausted earlier and earlier, and waking up earlier and earlier. I am still not a morning person, but egads, I am now awake by 7am without an alarm most mornings. This fact alone is alarming to me!

And if that were not enough, I am also, dare I say it, making some headway toward some fundamental healing in my legs and hips. I cannot reverse the arthritis, but I am regaining some movement in areas I thought were damaged beyond repair.

But all this movement and self-nurturing comes at a price. I cannot over-commit anymore. I cannot go more than a few days without needing time off to relax and recuperate. I cannot go without eating a nutritious meal at least four times a day. I need 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night. I have to move my body daily to maintain the progress I have made physically. And I have to set boundaries with friends, colleagues and students to make sure I have the time not only to keep my commitments but also to take time out just for my own needs and interests.

In short, this focus on earth has made me grow up and start acting like a self-respecting adult. And you have no idea how irritating that is for me. So tonight, I have a plan. I am going to throw caution to the wind, and I am going to take some time out for me to just be a kid. I am going to watch TV, play games, cuddle with my calico and stick my tongue out at the whole world. Yeah, I am going to focus on what I want and do things that just make me happy. And I will be taking care of my inner child and giving her the best night she has had in a long time.

Oh wait, that is just another way to engage in self-care. Crap! See what I mean? This radical self-care is insidious! Sigh …

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