I start my vacation next Monday. I take my annual trip to Florida, specifically Sarasota so I can sit in the refreshing waters of the Gulf of Mexico and renew my spirit. Unfortunately, my wife won’t be traveling with me but I’m thinking that with my goal of renewing my spirit the alone time might be just what I need. Water has a restorative power for me. The beach is especially restorative. The sound of the waves lapping at the shore…I spend as much time as I can on, in or near water.
This summer I hit my first year on the year on the upside of 55. Growing older doesn’t scare me…anymore. What scares me is not being the person I want to be or not allowing myself to be the person I need to be.
I’m an avid listener to Gary V and I think frequently about his comments about Mondays. I used to be that person who hated Monday. I used to be that person who frankly hated Sunday because it’s the day before Monday. I would frequently refer to Sunday afternoon as the “Sunday blues.” When I changed my attitude toward my life I changed my perspective about Monday. Gary was a huge help when I heard him say, “Fuck Mondays. What if I told you this was the last Monday morning of your life? Yep, you’re going to die this week. Would you still complain about your crap job or that thing you don’t want to do? I doubt it. You’d be thinking about all the big things you want to get done. That’s the way you should think about every Monday.” All I have to say is “Thank you, Gary!!” Those words resonated so much for me that I made that change. For the past several years I have approached the beginning of the week with the idea of gripping it by the throat, making it mine and killing it.
I’ve also found every once in a while I need a reminder. I can allow myself to become so focused on whatever that I struggle to see the forest through the trees. Most of us can feel like that. That’s not the problem. The problem lies in getting so off track that we start forging our own unhealthy path and don’t even realize that we’re off track let alone when the wheel started to slip.
In my life as a social worker, I’ve worked hard to develop a solid self-care plan. I’m not perfect. I don’t always follow the plan. More than likely it’s because I stopped paying attention that I’ve allowed myself to continue traveling down the road still on cruise control not paying attention to the traffic in front of me. When that happens, the inevitable also happens. A crash is right around the next corner. If you’re like most people you’ll blame others, your job, the stress in your life, the health of a family member, etc., whatever we can find to blame so long as we don’t need to accept responsibility. But that’s the problem. As long as we don’t accept responsibility for our behavior nothing will change. I don’t know who said it first and frankly, it doesn’t matter but we’ve all heard the quote, “Insanity is how we define doing the same thing over and over expecting the results to be different.” Bob Newhart once did a sketch where he played a therapist and repeatedly told his patient they needed to “stop it!” I’m not naive enough to believe it’s ever that easy for many of us, but I do realize it’s a great place to start.
Yesterday I struggled through my day. I saw clients who were also struggling with their mental health symptoms. Some of them are seriously mentally ill while others keep doing the same things expecting different results. I returned home last night and needed to do a quick systems check so I could get my head screwed back on straight. This morning I met with a client who is 30. I’ve known him since he was 12 when he first came into treatment. He has taught me and reminded me of so much during the session and probably doesn’t know that he was probably more helpful to me that I was to him. For that I am grateful. I am grateful I woke this morning and my eyes were allowed to open and see, my heart was beating and my lungs filled with air. As cliché as it sounds, those are the things today for which I am grateful.
Today starts the retooling process. The start of Chris 5.5+. I’m not sure what the result will be but I have a good idea. After all, it is a process.