Yesterday the best I could do was not my best. Does that make sense? No? Sorry, let’s try again.
Yesterday I was exhausted. I came in from work at 5, after an extra after-school class and collapsed on the couch for “just five minutes, I swear”. I had plans to make a red curry with mackerel (definitely a “best for me” choice), but over and over again I made the choice to stay where I was. There was a voice in my head saying over and over again “I just can’t”.
I was exhausted. What was the choice? Because I did think about it, I really did! I could have whipped myself up and got things done. Maybe I should have. I had spasms in my injured calf muscle from standing and walking all day, though. And I really felt like I needed the rest.
I didn’t make great food decisions though. I wasn’t up for cooking and grabbed snack foods and tea enough to float me away to china. Then I shut myself and my brain off a little from my family for a couple of hours – just being barely available. Later, I managed to put my children to bed, way later than usual, but it meant I had enough energy to be actually calm and present with them, which generally makes the whole process go more smoothly. And then I did a some slow-motion correcting which probably took me twice as long as normal.
I had no problems falling asleep though. But boy did I have problems waking up. Rather than my target of 5am, I slept in ’til 6:45 and getting these words typed will put the rest of the getting ready process under pressure. And yoga will have to wait until later.
So, I feel critical of my actions and choices. The whole evening feels littered with choices that could have been made “better”. And I have to face the consequences in not having gotten enough accomplished yesterday as my workload piles up in the home, with school-work and artistically. I’m getting anxious about how long it’s been since I’ve taken some time to draw.
All the same, I’m wondering if some of this internal criticism is too harsh. I was tired into my very bones and the twitches of my muscles. No amount of consciousness of choice could have given me back the energy I was missing. I don’t like to admit how often I get sudden energy crashes, because it reminds me that I’m getting old and it worries me that maybe I’m dying even sooner than average.
So, there we are – that’s what I meant when I said the best I could was not my best. I think I probably didn’t do 100% the best I could, but on balance, I probably mostly did all I was able for. Just because I’m disappointed with how the day went doesn’t mean I actually had the choice to do that much more. And today is Wednesday and there is the chance to catch up on some of the stuff that got pushed off.
So, I think I need to start thinking about balance. My work-week this year is actually ridiculously unbalanced and front loaded in terms of immediate commitment. The start of the week tends to be when I’m most motivated to get “extra” stuff done, but there’s no actual space for it, so I spend a few days banging my head off a brick wall, wishing to do more, failing and beating myself up for it. Then, later in the week when there’s actually some space to do some more, I’m exhausted and I’ve gone all “fuckitwhatsthepoint!” and “i’llstartagainnextweek” on my whole life.
So, balance. Observation, attention and acceptance. I couldn’t do much more these last two days. Be prepared for next week to be much the same. But the week is not over. It’s only Wednesday! What is it with my mind that it likes to leap so far into the future Wednesday is a half-day, so now I’m thinking about Thursday, and that’s definitely in the second half of the week, and that means week over! So … next week then?
That’s not a healthy way to think of things. Just practically speaking, it’s a poor way to organise my time and consider what space I have for doing what things. It’s also very counter to my wish to be more mindful and present in my days.
So, there we are – it’s hard to shake the feeling that I’m just making excuses for myself, but paying attention is about more than just trying to do more. I want to do better in life, by actually living in it, and that means paying attention to and accepting the bad days as well.