Exhausted as I sit here and type my first blog post. My fingers have stopped working and my hands are struggling to direct these limp sausage-like knuckled appendages toward the right keystrokes. I can’t straighten my hands and extend my fingers fully without that all too familiar painful resistance of fatigue and muscle soreness. This is only a short list of the physical conditions I’m currently experiencing.
I’ve been pushing as hard as I possibly can for some time now. I have been pushing both physically and mentally, expanding beyond my capacity for months now. I’ve been tweaking my routine to improve efficiency and production by giving up everything that can possibly drain me in a non-productive way. Things like getting up at 4:30am, taking cold showers, giving up alcohol, working 7 days a week, giving up coffee and sugar (for lent), giving up personal relationships, giving up television altogether, trading workout time for work time, minimizing personal time to a few minutes a day, and the list goes on.
To different people, the idea of personal optimization and hard work means different things. I think we all hold ourselves to varying degrees of a high standard. Who am I (or are you) to compare the effort of others? What is your measuring stick? Is there a standard? No, but we continue as if there is.
Speaking only for myself; and in complete honesty, I can say with definitive certainty that it’s because I compare myself to others.
“Don’t compare yourself to others”, I was told. Yes, thank you, that’s very helpful, (sarcasm intended)… no shit.
I’m sure there have been times where you may have thought the same thing in listening to the podcast or (hopefully) reading the show notes. However it’s not that I forget the guidelines on how to proceed forward in the best way possible, it’s that walking the walk is most certainly tougher than talking the talk.
But talking is the first stage in making that transition.
Somehow I think this comparison to others; as destructive as it can be, serves us in a way I can’t quite grasp at the moment. Perhaps it gives us the gumption to reach for the next rung on our ladder. Perhaps it enlightens us to things which we hadn’t previously considered striving for. Perhaps it’s some sort of unconscious trigger mechanism that; unless recognized, gets processed into some sort of destructive pattern.
Again we come to recognition…
I’ve been tapping my own personal rev-limiter for about two weeks now. Pushing myself well beyond my known capabilities, accepting responsibilities and physically exerting myself in every direction simultaneously. I have continued to wring every single infinitesimal drop out of myself and the result is absolute exhaustion on multiple levels. Physical, emotional, and creative exhaustion. It’s not that I won’t stop, it’s that I cant- or my life would REALLY begin to suck.
Only when I started struggling with the most basic elements of my daily ritual did I realize what was happening.
It’s not a question of will. It’s not a question of hope. It’s not a question of mindset, attitude, paradigm, character, integrity, faith, vision or desire. Those things are intact and well. I’d never have made it this far if ANY of those things were in disarray. (The single parent crowd knows this all too well.)
However to the rest of the crowd; to those who haven’t walked in the stiff and uncomfortable shoes of a single parent, dispensing any advice to us is very often fruitless for both parties. Sure it’s well intentioned however, it falls short of useful due to the untold and unknown complexities that often can’t be explained (or comprehended) by the “normal” people in our lives. This is often where we turn for help. Perhaps we (single parents) should begin asking our brothers; those with similar circumstances, instead.
I can drop a myriad of cliches here, however, I’ll spare us both the indignity.
I’ll say this to myself and if you want to listen in- you may…
It’s okay to slow down and catch your breath for a bit. It’s okay to take your “union 5”. It’s okay to allow yourself a “cheat day”. It’s okay if you can’t be relentlessly knocking off check-box items from that endless “to-do” list which will get you “back on track” (whatever the heck that is…)
Like me, I know you have the resolve. I know you will not stop. I know you may be slowed yet undaunted in the face of daily adversity and the looming mountainous obstacles ahead. And like me you should not be troubled by this. Perhaps as you catch your breath you should peer backwards momentarily and see just how far you HAVE come… It’s probably a lot farther than you’ve given yourself credit for.
Slowing down or even pressing “pause” once in a while is completely acceptable because you and I both know that “quit” is no longer part of our vocabulary.
Lean on us brothers, that’s why We RAD DADS is here.
Keep fighting the good fight!