Since I am writing for a lifestyle blog, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about just that….my real life. Last year, I tore my hip joint which forced me to stop working on my business that I had been building for years. Taking me away from my work and being young with such a major injury produced one of the most difficult years I had ever experienced. Then, this year as I began to heal, tragedy struck again when I had a severe heat stroke. Then not only was I fighting to get better, I became confined to the house which made a transition I had set my mind to overcome, difficult once again. It is funny how we take things for granted for instance, something as simple as going outside and enjoying the sunshine was something I could no longer do (I’ve read 2-12 months). It felt as if the health issues had taken over my life. However, as crazy as it sounds, my marriage has actually never been better.
I had a terrible time coming to terms with my situation. I am a busy body at heart and veer on the side of being OCD. Before all this happened I thought my life was on track. Baby, I was working harder than ever to build my business, maintaining my social circle and living a wonderful life with my husband. I thought my marriage was good, even though I worked 7 days a week and barely had enough time to hang out with the guy. We had extra money to go on fancy dates and my husband had all the freedom he wanted to hang out with his buddies whenever he wanted because guess what?, I was busy. This all sounds fabulous, but it was right at this time when I was so busy making sure my life was on track to success that all the shit (health problems) decided to hit the fan.
Truth is, I was working way too much. I worked even when I knew I shouldn’t. I pushed myself beyond my limit when I was already hurting because I couldn’t help it. I was addicted to success and the high that it gave me. My mind said, go, go go, and my body said, no, no, no. You know who won every time but not for long. Eventually, my body shut down. This didn’t make sense to me until I went to see my naturopathic doctor. She told me that I basically had a nervous breakdown and that my body was stuck in fight or flight mode (is a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival). My immune system was on overdrive all the time. It was under attack by the constant stress that I carried with me day to day. All that said, my prescription was to, slow the f*** down (in addition to herbs and counseling).
I realize now that this moment was my saving grace. Although everything looked glamorous on the outside, I was hurting on the inside and trying to ignore it at all costs. We had money, traveled, had thriving careers and were on our way up. We looked perfect from the outside looking in. But from the inside, I didn’t have much time to spend with my husband and when I did I was in bad mood because I was working too much. It also let me know that my marriage is strong because despite everything I was going through we continued to get stronger, even closer.
Instead of running around the house and getting everything done I stop to (really) hug my husband and to hear how his day went (without being agitated). It has revolutionized our marriage. We have never had better sex in our lives than now and we met when we were in our early 20s, at the peak of our hottness.
How is this relevant to you? If you’re the average American you’re probably over-worked and your mind is probably going a million miles a minute like mine was. I am now consciously making an effort to slow my mind and movement down. I can enjoy life instead of thinking about what’s next. It’s not easy. In fact it feels so unnatural to me but I have no choice because once you’re health is not in your control, you’ll do whatever it takes to get it under control.
If I have any advice to give, it would be this, don’t let stress control your life. Don’t let it ruin all that is good because you’re blind-sighted by your future prospects near or far. Slow down. Do whatever it takes. Work less. Let go of being the best at everything. Be okay with sloppy or average some of the time. Take up Yoga or Meditation. Replace a trivial duty with a hobby for the day. Cut out the unnecessary obligations (and people). Life’s too short. Don’t wait till it’s too late and you’re getting bad news from the doctor. Salvage it while your health is within your hands and not forcing you to go to the ER. Chances are your body has already shown signs of distress whether it’s your aching back or migraines. Don’t just stuff your mouth with painkillers as your body is trying to tell you something. Don’t wait till it’s screaming or just too late.
Even though I found great satisfaction in my work life, it was never enough. The one thing I find fulfilling is my marriage/personal life. It is what keeps me warm in bed at night and wipes my tears through the hard times. For some reason, I was running on a treadmill that I knew would never bring me the kind of satisfaction I yearned for and yet for some reason I convinced myself it would…But now I know only relationships can do that. Only having connections with other souls can do that for me. Now I realize that my greatest success in life will probably not be career orientated. The only way I’ll ever truly feel valued is through the way I touch people’s lives and the way they’ll touch mine.