It started first thing this morning.
I woke up, showered, and made myself a piece of toast. It was Ezekial bread, to be exact. You know, that ridiculously expensive bread that is supposed to be better for me so I pay the 6 bucks a loaf even though it’s probably the same as just buying Pepperidge Farms? That toast.
I set my toast on my nightstand when I leaned over to pull my wet hair out of my towel, only to discover my dog Walter was licking my toast. Now, Walter doesn’t have very many teeth so brushing them is an impossibility. For that reason, his breath is unusually horrendous. This single piece of toast was probably work about $0.50 and my dog was ruining it with his dead-fish breath.
I made it to work on time, though I was starving. I started a new workout routine last night and so I knew I needed to eat. Instead of going and getting myself something nice to eat, there was leftover caramel-covered popcorn in the office and I decided to eat a handful of that.
It’s pretty similar to a slice of Ezekial bread, right?
As the day wore on I spilled coffee on my white shorts (who wears white shorts?!), I overbooked myself and forgot to eat lunch, picked up lunch for a few of us in the office and then ate it so fast that I gave myself heartburn, and by about 2pm my body had the shakes and the chills.
“You look tired,” one co-worker said. I wasn’t tired. I slept great last night. And I really wanted to make it to my gym class since I JUST FREAKING STARTED THIS NEW ROUTINE.
I took an ibuprofen and a sudafed, drank a bunch of water, and charged ahead full-speed.
Until an hour later.
My husband called me to let me know he was on his way home from out of town. “What’s wrong?” he asked.
“I don’t feel good.”
“Oh. Are you a
“No, I’m at the office,” I said.
“Go home, then. Right?”
I spent a tremendous amount of time and energy trying to feel well enough to get to the gym because I said that I would. I fought through my work because I made promises I needed to keep. I still had to get to the post office to mail a book and get a check to the pest control company. Oh and Open House at school is tonight…
Go home, Erin.
It’s my biggest flaw. I make plans and then hold myself to them with such fervor that it rarely occurs to me…I don’t have to.
I don’t have to go to the gym.
I don’t have to finish my work or go to the post office or (gasp) go to Open House.
I don’t have to do anything.
I can just go home, drink Emergen-C, have soup, and then go to sleep if that’s what my body needs. The worl
d will still turn, the post office will re-open, and my child will still get into college.
I’m writing this because I want to make sure no one else misses the opportunity to go home. As much as it feels like you cannot simply go home, you can. Everyone else, everything else can wait until you’ve taken care of yourself. I know, I know. I didn’t think it could all wait, either. I’m telling you. It totally can! It turns out that most of the population does, in fact, continue thriving without you being present!
Now, will my son’s new teacher think I’m a slacker for not coming to Open House?
Will it be even harder getting back into my gym routine now?
Will the person waiting on me to send them the book be really, really, really mad I didn’t send it today?
TOTALLY COULD HAPPEN!
Also, though, despite all those maybes, I’m a human being who gets to decide when and who she takes care of first. It would be fantastic if someone was standing next to me all the time saying things like, “Erin! Time to eat. Erin! Let’s have a rest. Erin! Sleep in today!” Alas, as it turns out, that someone has to be me.
You’re totally allowed to show up for yourself first. You’re allowed to say no. You’re allowed to let other people down. You’re even allowed to make them mad. But you must take care of yourself first. Starting now. Promise?
I’m now going to take a bunch of cold medicine with a giant jug of water, snuggle into bed with my dogs, and wake up to see how I feel in the morning. (Heck. Maybe I’ll sleep in.)