Sacrificing fun

It’s January, and work is totally kicking my ass. This happens every January – the need to finalize year-end books for the CPAs for taxes, year end results and profitability (or not), just the general rush-rush-rush to get everything done. Just about every January of the last 15 to 20 years has been like this, and I should be accustomed to it by now. However, this year is different. This year I have a new part-time gig, am self-employed full-time, and have my former full-time job presently contracting with me yet still expecting that I will be at the office more than is necessary.

The juggling is constant these days, and I am growing really tired of being so nice. My former full-time job is “former” for good reasons; the local owner’s refusal to face reality is driving me insane and I am again allowing it to happen. What is wrong with me? I go in to the office on Monday with some resolve to talk to him about getting someone else and next I know I am nodding and agreeing to see them through the end of January, when this year’s financial crisis will hopefully be over.

Between that, the asshat of the weekend who was so unprofessional (understatement of the day) in his communications with me and just the general ebb and flow of work, I am feeling the weight of it this week. Had asshat client not been such a bully my work view would likely not be so dismal. But it’s water under the bridge and I refuse to communicate with him much less work with him any further despite his genuine-sounding apologies and regret for losing his temper. Anger management counseling and therapy might help you retain your next accountant; I am done. His CPA is in Paris for 2 weeks, but I explained the situation to his associate and she completely understood, having experienced the same sort of white-hot temper from this guy as well. Fortunately my backlog is overflowing and I do not need the additional stressure and drama.

The flip side of my life seems to be no better, and I need to make some adjustments.

During training with J on Monday he was talking to me about rest days. Again. I mean, seriously, how many clients does he have to talk about taking rest days? I feel like the exception once more. But looking at my calendar, because I keep track of these things, I have had 2 days off since October 17, 2015. My first run of 55 days at the gym was kind of exciting and rewarding in its own way, but I needed to take a break and I did. Then the gym was closed on Christmas, so I took a day off then as well. Now it’s been about 3 weeks and I feel as if I am due again for respite.

My blood sugar numbers remain good, improving since the holiday madness has passed and I have returned to more normal eating patterns. Where I have described training and practice as “fun” on occasion has turned into more and more drudgery. The current routines are challenging for sure, yet I feel so bedraggled after getting started it sucks any and all joy I receive from the activity. Usually I am focused on maintaining my form through an entire set, counting reps in my head, and get a noticeable buzz from completing a series in what feels like the right ways. I noticed this morning that I felt so tired and drained that it was all I could do to even care about form after awhile. It is not a product of my mood – I was actually in a very cheerful state last night and again this morning – so much as malaise born of fatigue. A rest day is in order. I know this. I feel this. Yet I can feel myself forcefully resisting.

I actually thought about it yesterday, long and hard. Tuesday’s are primarily self-employment work days and therefore more unpredictable than the rest of the week. Monday and Thursday are anchored by training, Wednesday and Friday are in-office days for standing meetings. Tuesdays, though, can be crazy, and yesterday started with a 7 a.m. meeting, making a pre-work practice impossible; even I refuse to get to the gym at their 4:30 opening time.

Resolve to take a break faded by late afternoon, and I found myself in the gym last night. It was busier than I have seen maybe ever, with the cardio area upstairs overrun with people. But I managed, and I was pretty proud of myself for doing so. The room I utilize was quiet by the time I got there, though, so all was well. I pushed myself and got through my 3 sets, and while I was dripping sweat and dying by the time I was finishing that final set, I was pleased that I had held on and finished it. This morning was fine, gym atmosphere was fine. I was in a good mood, looking forward to today’s planned routine. Until I wasn’t. I was about halfway through the second set in the first series and abruptly decided it was 2 sets and done with that today. My energy was just out the window. I did follow that with a favorite miniband workout, because I was there and still had 20 minutes. Ugh. Hyper-responsible me needs a vacation.

So tomorrow I train with J and then probably I will take a break on Friday. I had planned to skip the gym on Sunday, but I seriously doubt I can hold out those extra few days. My leaning toward burnout is presently pretty strong.

Intellectually I am absolutely sure that taking a day off and break from the gym is the right thing for me to do and J is right (as always) to encourage that for me. Emotionally, though, I am torn and feel guilty about it. I have worked so hard to get myself worn into a groove of going to the gym and working hard while I am there, and now I am taking breaks and unplanned days off. Yes, even I know how crazy that sounds, but it’s the way my head works. I am trying very hard to unlearn that behavior, but it is what it is right now.

Balance is always something that eludes me. Either I am on and running at top speed or I am idling and not making any progress at all. One of the things I tend to do to recharge my batteries is lose myself in reading, another sort of obsessive compulsion that can overtake me and allows me to completely relax. And right now is no exception – I am getting lost in reading self-help type books on managing diet and nutrition and health. This in itself is not a bad thing at all. I have known that diet was my next big project to tackle, and it’s good that my reading obsession has snapped to this particular focus.

The anti-diet book I am currently reading is one J loaned me and it has taken on life of its own in my head. Yes, I am very excited about a book about not dieting; any doubt you may have had about my geekiness are probably now dispelled. On my desk at home there is a notepad with pages of scribbled notes of things I want to remember or to go back and review and write a post about the books and my thoughts on it. As this author has several other books presently residing on my electronic bookshelf, I am looking forward to diving headfirst into the rest of his realm.

Am I learning much about improving my diet? Not specifically, no. However, I feel as if there are systems explained that will help improve my life. I struggle with self-judgment, and I am ruthless in my ability to find fault with myself in the smallest of things. This year I am seeking professional help for the issue, to see if I can train myself to be kinder to me. As a specific example, after this many months of working with J, I am only now starting to feel like I am doing okay and making incremental progress in my ability with all he is teaching. Another is self-employment – I have been at this less than 6 months and have enough clients and work to keep me very happily busy and profitable this year. Hopefully an evolving and changing outlook on nutrition and food will offer me the same sort of lightening up on my draconian sense of self and allow me to appreciate any and all successes.

Today, though, I am struggling with the idea of taking a day off from my practice. J encourages it, heck, if pressed he might actually do his best to insist upon it. But I have yet to learn how to completely balance my anxiety about this new habit with what is actually necessary to proceed. Maybe I will still be up early and simply immerse myself in a book?

I will figure it out. Tomorrow is training day, so I have time to adjust to the idea of no practice on Friday. Probably. Hopefully.

And people who do not know me well are surprised that I think I’m a little (or a lot) crazy.

4 thoughts on “Sacrificing fun

  1. listen to your body! take a day off – you’ll do better. don’t burn yourself out. I understand the temptation/need to go every day – and I do. Except i also travel a lot for work and my travel routine is minimal at best – so those are my days off. And if I have done too many in a row (usually after 9) – D cancels me for a day. Good luck with work though!

    • Thanks, SAK. I felt so much better after writing the post, even if I do sound like a whiney little girl about it. Then I had coffee with one of my long-time clients this afternoon and his sound advice provided me a work/schedule/life/balance epiphany perspective and the error of my recent ways became so much clearer.

      I don’t know just yet what I will do about the gym on Friday; I guess I will wake up and see how it goes. But either way, my new master plan is to smart small – a day off from the gym every other week and do yoga or row at home, etc.

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