This morning, I finally got to go work outside for awhile. My sciatica inflammation has eased off enough that I can start doing some physical stuff again. It was really so nice to go out early in the warm dappled sunshine. The weather-guessers say that today could be a hot one--above 90 degrees. If so, that's just the beginning of a whole lot of "hot ones" that will keep on going until October or later. Summer lasts a long, long time here in South Mississippi.
Another thing that lasts a long, long time is bad habits. And I've got one (well, probably a whole lot more than one but never mind that). My bad habit: over-doing. That's how I was raised. My parents were difficult and demanding but, to be fair, they were tougher on themselves than anyone else. They saw real virtue in pushing yourself too hard and working until you half-killed yourself. Desperate for praise, that's what I learned to do, too, and I was really much too good at giving it everything I had. Many times I worked myself until I was literally ill.
It's something I had to try to un-learn when I became disabled with ME/CFIDS. The doctor made me repeat over and over again that I could "work only to the point of exertion but never to the point of exhaustion." The moment I began to sweat was the moment I had to stop, no matter what I was doing. I learned, and I was got a lot better healthwise.....but then I took things for granted and began to over-do again. I lost my remission and have never again gotten it fully back. Today, I still have to remind myself that it's okay to quit in the middle of something, that it's no shame to give only my best effort but not every atom of my soul. It's hard to hold back when there's stuff I want to do.
This morning, there was a whole lot that I wanted to work on in the yard. There's so much potential, and there's so much that has waited too long to be taken care of. I want to do it all. But I can't. And I know I shouldn't even try. Frustrating.
As I stood there in the sunshine, kinda trying to figure out where to start and (more importantly) where to stop, saying my prayers and giving thanks for this good day, I remembered something. It's something I used to say to encourage myself on days when I was so very ill that I could do almost nothing at all:
I can't do everything but I can do something.
That's a worthwhile motto. I like that. And that's what I did this morning. I decided to do just three things. I cut down half a dozen nuisance saplings (there are easily 50 others that I ignored). I moved a broken old hose to my volunteer tomato garden. And I watered the plants. (I didn't have a sprayer but a surprisingly fortuitous crack in the hose made that unnecessary.) It was enough.
Then I walked to the pond. Took a look around. It's a lovely morning, and I accomplished. There's always hope.
I can't do everything but I have done something.
Life is good.