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Thursday, December 22, 2016

The "No Matter What" Committment

I have always put great stock in keeping ones word, in saying what one means and meaning what one says, in honor and commitment. None of that has changed.

I also used to be known for my "no matter what" commitments. If I said I would do something, I would move heaven and earth to make it happen. Long hours, no problem. Stress, no problem. multiple irons in the fire? Juggle faster. If it was winter and I had to make connections, I would leave hours in advance, if necessary, to make sure that I got to my destination. If I ended up sliding off the road (which did not happen often) as soon as the tow truck cleared the area, I was on my way again. I was loath to use the disclaimer "weather permitting" and pitted my big rear-wheel-drive rambling wreck of the year, 4 studded snow tires firmly affixed, against roads and conditions that often had me passing multiple 4WD rigs of the road on either side.

I still put great stock in keeping ones word, in saying what one means and meaning what one says, in honor and commitment.

But.

The time has come for me to back away from those "no matter what" commitments.  It is not going to be easy, because, after all, I still WANT to be that young, bulletproof go-getter. My mind doesn't always pay attention when the body says "Hey! Wait just a bloody minute! Remember ME... the one that really can't..."

But the truth is, I am not that young woman any more. I can't shovel our 200 foot long driveway and clear it of ice and snow, quickly, in the morning after a day of snow, a day of rain and a night of zero degrees. I can't comfortably spend a day running about in town, slide home on inhospitable roads after dark and jump up before dawn the next day to do it all over again. Doesn't mean I don't want to, but the body has other ideas.

I still put great stock in keeping ones word, in saying what one means and meaning what one says, in honor and commitment. And therefore I know it is not going to be easy scaling back, sorting out commitments and learning not to always lead with "I can do that." Because, even if I can and want to, it does not mean that -- here and now -- I should.

Many of you have fought and are fighting your own battles against programming over the years to put everyone else first. Women, especially, with our maternal hormones assisting, appropriately prioritize our kids needs. And then wants, wishes... It can get out of hand. Hubby figures in there too, and year upon year it becomes habit. And it often gets extended beyond the family to our social groups, churches, jobs...

"You gave your WORD." Powerful stuff, and rightly so. But I am no longer that bulletproof youngster, that eager maiden, that busy mother. I am a crone, and as such I give my word, to myself, that I will listen to my body, will mind my energy levels and will speak this new truth as exactly as I am able.

You may hear "I would like to, though this week is already full." Or "I wish you well. This is my time for planting and the soil and air are right for it. I hope you enjoy your day as much as I will enjoy mine." Or you may hear "Sounds like fun, but not now" or simply "No." Or alternatively "I'll be there if it rains!" or " I really want to and hope I will be able to. May I let you know later?" Please understand that I am doing my best to say what I mean and mean what I say.  And understand that it isn't because I like you any less but rather because I need to prioritize my needs a little bit more.

And, being human, I may forget. I know, even when I was that bulletproof young'un, I tended to over commit. I hope that any of my friends who read this will continue be willing to ask and invite. I know most of you don't live in "my world" -- one that is closely aligned with the cycles of the earth; day length, temperature, precipitation, planting and harvest, and critters and with less attention than you likely can imagine to weeks and weekends, to time by the clock, to the routines that town and city folk take for granted. So, please ask me what's on my plate. I can (and possibly will!) talk your ear off about the seedlings, varieties, experiments, precipitation or lack thereof and the antics of the fowl and goats and the latest hex signs I am working on. I'll try to be aware of your eyes glazing over and I am pretty sure I will notice your snoring when you fall asleep. By the same token, if I go off on a seemingly endless litany of "exciting things" that are happening on the farm, please ask me, if you are sharing an event or asking for my help in some way "you sound very busy. Are you sure you can do this?"

And remind me about this post if you need to. I may need it.