Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Gift of Tired

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how friggin' tired I am. I was feeling kind of hostile toward my tired self. Like, "Snap out of it, woman! You have stuff to do!"

So I pushed against the tiredness, forcing myself to keep moving. One more load of laundry. One more set of weights. Another trip the the grocery store. More tidying, more stories, more songs, don't stop moving or else!

Or else what? Or else risk admitting that this pushing is not working? That I'm operating at about 60% on a good day and want-slash-need more time to myself? (That when I get time to myself, I don't know what to do with it because I truly cannot think of anything that would be "fun" or "relaxing"?)

Yeah, something like that.

It turns out that pushing against the tired doesn't work. You just end up hating everything and eating almost an entire batch of homemade cookies. At least, you do if you're me. (And at least those cookies were refined-sugar-free.)

So I've started taking an approach to my tiredness that seems to work pretty well with my chronic back pain. This really should have occurred to me before, as the two are almost certainly related. When my back hurts a little bit - what I called "the normal amount of pain" until Rob pointed out that it's not normal to be in pain all the time - I can move at my usual pace. And pushing a little bit can get me past the whiny, "oh poor me" stage and into building some momentum for the day.

When my back hurt-hurts - as opposed to the normal hurting - I have to rest. If I can't rest as long as I'd like, which happens if Rob is at work, I'm forced to be extremely careful. I have to take things sloooooow. Sitting, standing, dressing Westley, carrying anything...all become exercises in patience as I move half-time through my day. And I let myself off the hook a little.

It's nice not to be on that hook all the time. Which I think, ultimately, is what this pain and tiredness is trying to tell me.

The tiredness is an invitation to back off. To sit down to eat a meal. To cuddle my kid on the couch instead of obsessing over the clutter on the floor. So much of that time I spend pushing against tired is time I'm not spending with family. Because, you know, emptying the dishwasher is so friggin' urgent and my kid will stay two forever.