Saying Goodbye to the Red Queen
Eating breakfast in the car. Lunch in front of the keyboard. Dinner in the car. Stuffing on whatever’s convenient. Portable. Sweet. Checking for texts. Emails. Messages. Updates. Before anything else in the morning. Many times an hour. Last thing at night. Getting anxious before the morning shower’s even over. Overscheduling. Double-booking. Rushing. Speeding. Being late. Trying to see how many things it’s possible to do at once. Overwhelming your immune system. Logic. Emotions. Getting fresh produce in the fridge maybe once a month. Never finishing the to-do list. Not noticing how you got there. What you’ve eaten. What the person speaking has said. What you’ve read. Being convinced that whatever you’re working on. However fast you’re doing it. You’re about to get in trouble for not having something else done. Constant, constant guilt and anxiety.
Red Queen Days happen – when you feel like you’re running as fast as you can just to stay in the same place.
But I don’t want a life of Red Queen Days. And I’ve gotten close to a life like that. More than “I don’t want.” I can’t. It’ll break me.
So I’m changing. It isn’t necessarily always comfortable, and it definitely isn’t easy, but I’m changing. Less of the above. More of things like…. Mindfulness. Exercise. Stretching. Physical, not mental, exhaustion. Fresh air. Sunlight. Hugs. Silence. Disconnection. Reachable expectations – of self and of others. Empty spots in the calendar. Books. Play.
It’s especially uncomfortable to say this, but let’s be honest: there are a couple of things in particular I want to help myself on: weight and depression. Red Queen Days are little manufacturing plants for both, and I’m not satisfied with taking the all-American route of accepting that. As with many other things, I don’t want too much. I want less.
This isn’t a New Year’s resolution – it’s older than that – but it seemed a good time to say it. It’s funny: this feels oddly like an admission or a confession. But it’s one that needed making.
(PS For an interesting interview on exactly this, check out Zen Habits’ post with Mark Sisson.)