I keep hearing words like “self care” and “balance,” but what do they really mean? Well, you learn real quick when life throws you a curve ball.
Let me start by saying that I’m not sure balance actually exists. I believe in seasons. I think there are just some stages of life where you are on the go, and you go hard. Then there are other seasons where you slow down and rest. I’m not sure there’s an in-between.
Here is my personal curve ball life threw me this year; on January 20, I hurried home from church to clean up my house and get ready for visitors that evening. My husband was on his way home, but I was pushing to get things done so he could relax when he got home. I had a plan of attack: garbage, dishes, and then vacuum. My plan went out the window when I slipped and fell taking out the garbage. I dislocated and broke my ankle in three places.
I had surgery that night and now have a metal plate, 11 screws, and a button and string to hold my ligament in place. My genius orthopedic surgeon said, “Don’t worry sweetie. We’ll put Humpty Dumpty back together again.” And you guys, HE DID. But, this leg of my journey (pun INTENDED) has been rough. I had to stay off of my right foot for SIX weeks before I got a walking boot, which took me nearly ten days to figure out how to get it to fit comfortably and teach myself to walk in it. And because it’s my right foot, this has also meant no driving.
Two words: CABIN. FEVER.
You could say this curve ball put me in a place where I had no choice but to rest.
Welcome to my season of forced self-care! Thankfully, my family rallied. My mother stayed with me those first grueling few weeks, and my dad had a temporary ramp installed so I could leave the house on a scooter without worrying about the front steps. My husband rearranged his entire work schedule to wait on me hand and foot, and my kids have been so precious and understanding even though I’ve been down for so long. Friends from church set up a meal train, bringing us meals for several weeks, and I had wonderful visitors. My dear tribe helped chauffeur me so I could get out and have coffee and lunch dates. Every single person in my life has been amazing. My heart is so grateful.
All of this just before turning 40. But I gotta tell ya, 40 feels fabulous because of what I’ve learned so far about balance in this season of curve ball throwing life. Through it all, I think I’ve learned these five things:
- Slow down. Your body tells you when it’s time to rest. So listen to it.
- Accept help. There is no shame in taking people up on their offers to help you during tough times! Stop letting mom guilt eat away at you and take the help!
- Stay positive. Don’t let the curve ball circumstances get you down.
- Pay it forward. Someday, you’ll see a friend in need and you’ll be more compassionate from all you’ve been through. You’ll get your turn to be the hero then.
- Keep your tribe close. You need them. They need you. Be honest and reach out when you feel down.