True or False:
If you're not running then you're not moving fast enough?
Did you answer True or False? At first I answered with a resounding false, but then I thought about it for a few minutes. I think my answer is that while it is theoretically false, my day-to-day lifestyle suggests it is probably true. I think there are lots of women who, like me, are accustomed to looking at the clock and thinking, I only have twenty minutes until I need to leave to drive carpool, but I bet I can fold this load of laundry AND put it away, and still get to the school by 3:29pm. I might even be able to start another load if I work quickly! And I might as well return my sister's phone call while I'm folding. But I need to remember to grab a snack for Elisabeth before I head out the door. Maybe I should just stick it by the backdoor now, and then I'll start folding and call my sister back. Nineteen minutes left? Plenty of time.
Last week I ripped the following headline from an article by Maura Rhodes in Women's Health magazine:
Are you a Stress Seeker? More and more women are overworked, overwhelmed, and overwrought. The bigger problem: They're proud of it! Learn how to break an unhealthy, addicted-to-high-anxiety lifestyle.
I know this article isn't talking to everyone, but I'm willing to bet it's resonating with a few of you because personally, I love racing the clock. I love the exhilaration of doing the dishes while talking on the phone while stirring the soup, or giving my girls a bath while I clean the rest of the bathroom when I have to be out the door in twenty minutes and gosh, I could really use a quick shower myself! I know I'm busy, aren't we all, but until I read this article I didn't realize that maybe the fun of racing the clock is not a fabulously efficient way to live afterall. At least not if you plan on living a long life!
The article discussed how women become so used to an adrenaline-driven lifestyle that no matter what the task, it still feels like a race. They need to do more, work harder, move faster. And apparently, the article warned, you can't sustain a constant, daily adrenaline rush without thrashing your body in the process!
Well, this is all news to me. I am absolutely guilty of feeling a sense of glowing pride that I can sprint all day long and get up and do it again the next day. If I have an empty time slot, I fill it. That's not to say I'm curing cancer in my basement, but we go to the park or run errands or I write a blog post. But after reading the article I'm realizing that whatever it is that we're doing at our house, we are almost always in a hurry.
Long sigh. I guess this is a problem. I'm guessing this is a problem for many of you as well. But I've come to resent those conversations when my husband or my mother says to me in a noble voice, "You need to cut some things out." Good, I tell them, because I didn't like doing laundry or packing lunches for the girls anyway. Just what would you suggest I cut out? And then they're stumped.
I like my life. I like doing all the things that I do with my girls and my house and my writing. But I also don't want to wear out my loyal and trusty ol' body. There is so much that I want to do and see and write about and in many ways I feel as if I've just begun. Is there a Tortoise and the Hare moral waiting to be realized in all of our lives?