Monday, April 18, 2022

I am not lazy


Nope, the dogs aren't lazy either


Some learning comes late. 

Once upon a time, I was a bright, curious child with a brain that wasn't wired along the same neurotypical pathway as most of my age mates. (Though that piece of understanding didn't come until my late 30s) And I got a lot of feedback - some meant kindly, some not so much - that I was lazy. 

 "Needs to apply herself more" was a consistent refrain on my school report cards. 

Another common theme was that I didn't stick with things. My mother always said I was 'jack of all trades, master of none.' 

If you hear those messages repeated often enough, they become internalized. They get validated. And they change how you see yourself as well as your own choices. 

So I learned to view my eclectic interests with suspicion and tried to focus on what a not-lazy person was supposed to be like. (Though I'm still not sure what that really is.)

Never mind that I completed my graduate studies, became a physical therapist, and had a very successful near 25 year practice. 

Never mind that I have written poetry for my entire life, starting in elementary school. 

Never mind that I took up long form writing and have written a dozen novels since 2004. 

Never mind that I started taking pottery lessons 15 years ago and am now the glaze technician for a studio and have my work in a gallery. 

Simply because I have had a hopscotch-like path through various interests makes me somehow suspect. And because along the way, I let other interests go, I must be a quitter. 

My past is littered with exercise equipment that turned into dust-gatherers. With workout memberships unused. Despite the fact that I prescribed exercise programs for hundreds and hundreds of patients over the years, I am shit at following them for myself. Clearly, I must be lazy. 

I am finally ready to tell that internalized voice to shut the hell up.

I am now closer to 59 than 58. Aside from living through a pandemic, the past few years have been rough personally. Between the changes of menopause, a need to be on annual cancer surveillance because of a genetic mutation, a preventative abdominal surgery, a fractured/dislocated shoulder, and a ruptured spine disk, my body has been through a lot. My left arm (broken shoulder) and left leg (S1 radiculopathy) were noticeably weaker than my right and it was interfering in my day to day life. 

A month ago, I remembered that my health insurance partially subsidized zoom based yoga classes. So I actively suppressed the sarcastic mocking from my own brain (lazylazylazy) and signed up.

For the past month, I've made the commitment to classes - 3 a week. For now, I will continue with them. Perhaps at some time, I will do the classes less frequently. Maybe even stop altogether. And you know what? It won't be because I'm a quitter or because I'm lazy. 

Sometime, we need certain activities in our lives because they serve a purpose. And it's okay to let them go if they don't fit, or no longer serve, or you discover something else better. 

So this is my reminder - to myself and to anyone else who needs it: you are not the stories others made for you. And I am not lazy.

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  1. My husband was a professional guitar teacher, musician, electrician's helper, pastor of a church, and a telephony technician. He worked every day of his life from the time he was 9 years old. His mother wondered to the day she died when he would get a real job.

    1. Oh, the messages we internalize. And, BTW, your husband sounds like a fascinating human!

    2. I am 63, had a "real job" that made my family happy but I *hated* it. I now do 6 or 7 different jobs to make enough money for the mortgage and other bills, and have never been happier. If one job is boring, I just concentrate on another for a few days. OK, it is not that easy. But, I was frequently bored, I now never am, and my work is loved by all who pay me for it (even if they do get angry at how long it takes me sometimes).

    3. Our society has really made a mess of things in that we end up tying our self worth & identity to our jobs, rather then have the opportunity to pick work that feels related to our full selves and still be able to feed/support ourselves & loved ones.

  2. I just learned I have a genetic mutation, too. My mom got tested after she learned she had breast cancer because she had a suspicion that maybe her sister and her mom's cancers weren't as 'random' as they had been told. Sure enough, she's missing half of the RAD51C gene. I tested, and have the same thing. Now my girls are getting tested.

    I'll be having preventative surgery as soon as I can get in. They recommend between 45 and 50, and I'm 48 now.

    2022 has been really sucky so far. I'm just really hoping my girls don't have to worry about this, too. They both want to know.

    1. Oh, no! I'm so sorry, Kim! Living with that sword of Damocles over you is terrible. And my boys need to get tested, too. I'm here, anytime you want to talk. xo

  3. I'm so glad that you're telling those internal voices to shut up! I can't imagine thinking of you as lazy, yet I've often thought of myself that way, mostly because I could never live up to some impossible expectations. I'm not a great housekeeper. When I had small children and a full time job I couldn't fit workouts into my regular routine. I like to sleep.

    Now I realize that those things don't make me lazy, and that being able to do all of them (and still sleep!) would have required superhuman powers.

    Enjoy the yoga for as long as you want. Then move on! Add to your amazing collection of experiences!

    1. Yes! Absolutely. As I ponder all of this even more deeply, I remember my father telling me (I was probably in my 20s) that I didn't have to choose a career or a job that would be my one and only forever. That it was okay to change and grow. It was a remarkable conversation that has stayed with me all those decades later, especially as he was a child of the depression and I would have assumed he'd think otherwise.