My name is Wendy and I am a procrastinator. Okay. There. I said it.
Now I can analyze why I do this…but I won’t. Because that’s where I have been for years and years. Trying to figure out why I just don’t get to doing so many things that I really WANT to do. Good things. Valuable things. Smart things. I say it’s God’s big joke. I have a business called Fit2Finish and I don’t finish anything. People laugh when I say this, but it’s really not funny.
What is funny is our tendency to “go into” as a business or career or volunteer service solving the problem we have (our problem) for other people. That is, we become financial planners because we grew up in a family that failed for lack of financial planning. We become experts in child rearing so others won’t fail as we did at disciplining our children. We become fitness professionals so others won’t grow up fat like we did.
Isn’t it interesting how our shortcomings impel us? But I wonder if they allow us to feel better about ourselves without addressing our own issues. Without starting at the beginning and admitting we have a problem.
So, today I have been illuminated by the behavior of several friends. One who says she wants to help me with a project, tells me its a great idea, says “let’s meet” but then doesn’t get back to me. Or when I email, she says “after company leaves” or “after the weekend away that’s planned.” ‘After’ just keeps getting further and further away.
Another friend wants to help me with a project. She doesn’t tell me it’s a great idea but she cc’s me on emails inquiring about applying it, acting on it, finding space for it. When I reply she gets right back to me with a response. She offers to put me up at her place if I want to travel to follow up on a contact I’ve made with someone who lives in her town. She is clearing a path for my project.
Honestly, both of these friends are driven by fear. The second one knows it and has let it empower her. The first one doesn’t and has let it take charge of her. In fact, she is filling her schedule with things that make her feel active which “explain” why she can’t get to the other. Fear is sly. It hides itself well.
I have been friend #1 to myself for so long. I will get to the good that needs doing after these…after that…when things settle down…when there is more time… the truth is, when you wait until ‘after that’ to get started, the time does not present itself. Time is not like that. If there’s no time now, there won’t be time then.
So I thank both of these friends. In the ‘right now’ I must seek just to move things forward. Set a course and commit to walking it, at whatever pace life allows today. I don’t know what tomorrow may bring. But whoever comes after me will be better off if I have done my part today.
A friend is having surgery tomorrow. Needs his meniscus repaired. He messaged me on Facebook a week or 2 ago to ask whether I thought he should get a second opinion. Because, after “this guy gets the MRI results he might not want to do what I want to do.” Which, I subsequently found out, was to avoid surgery and “just rehab the knee to make it work so I can run again.”
I explained what I knew about menisci and their pesky tendency not to heal themselves because they don’t have their own blood supply and rarely are near enough to steal from a nearby vessel. He thanked me and continued to peruse the online sites for orthopedists with extensive sports medicine backgrounds, shopping for someone who would favor a return to action, even if surgery became necessary.
He found said doctor. Tomorrow is fix-it day. Thursday begins his return to action.
Funny, though, through this interchange of messages I have heard the heart of this man. Mid 50’s. Active. Has an outdoor lawn business. He needs his body to work well. It pretty much always has. When stuff like this upends us it makes us face the reality that, with or without our permission, time marches on. Our bodies don’t stay young forever. At some point, we can’t stem the tide of age and gradual (if we’re lucky) decline.
Oh, if extreme illness or circumstance have brought us to this realization earlier in life, it seems unfair. And indeed, it seems to be. Still, for those of us who are given our half-decade of relatively good health and physical performance, we consider this a raw deal. Why can’t we slow down time? How can it rob us of all the good years we know we have left?
No one can slow time, except God himself. But I wonder if the myth we hold onto – that we should be able to – may be a carrot dangled by the Great Liar himself. “Ah, there’s plenty of time, don’t worry.” “Look how healthy you are, you’re gonna live forever!” “Oh, even if something happens, you’re strong, you’re in good shape, you can get it back.” “Pay no attention to Father Time.”
And this deception takes our attention from truth: we must use well the time we have been given.
We must care for our time. Our bodies provide a tangible sense of this and an active practice for this. Things last longer and perform better when they are well cared for. For the timid among us, that may translate into (self) preservation. A kind of “don’t sit on the good couch” approach or a “put it in the safety deposit box so it can’t get stolen” approach. For the bold among us, that may translate into 3 hour workouts everyday, every week until I collapse in exhaustion. Neither under-use nor over-use are good care.
Neither honors the gift – of time in a body for exactly one life. It’s meant to be used, but also maintained for optimal performance. God alone knows our optimum.
Our time in our body is finite. Bodies well cared for last longer and perform better, but use them we must. That’s why they were given to us. But responsibly, respectfully, and attentively. It’s a give and take approach. God has given, we take and give back. When something gets rusty or run down, we check under the hood. What we can’t fix with a bit of rest or a change in routine we get checked out by the best mechanic we can find. Then, we weigh their advice and choose how to proceed.
Sometimes, we have to downshift, and watch the newer, younger models whiz past us. Let ’em feel good about passing me. I’m incredibly grateful just to still be in this race, engine running fairly well. We do know how that worked out for the tortoise.