A New Life in Seattle

A New Life in Seattle
August, 2018

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

When You're Hot But Your Life Has a Headache

We've all been there, so we know what it's like. You're in an overheated state...but your partner has a headache or isn't the mood.

Your partner's not the only one. Sometimes the lifeforce behaves like that too. You're halfway through that novel you'd wanted to write for so long...you've written 1000 words every day...and you see yourself completing it--when suddenly, one day just like any other, the force says 'Sorry, baby, but I've got a terrible headache. I can't.'

Or you've gone three whole months without smoking...your lungs are clean...you feel so fine...you've beaten the worst of withdrawal, you know--when suddenly, one day just like any other, the force says, 'Be an angel. Just this once. I can't tonight.'

Or you've gone a whole year without sugar or meat--when suddenly, one day just like any other...

Falling off the wagon usually refers to addiction. But we can also relapse from any new habit we've struggled to form. The mischief begins with a headache of will--a plaintive expression of pain or fatigue. Then, with astonishing swiftness, the will's headache becomes a condition--and the very force of habit that had kept us going blocks us from returning more easily each day. Soon we can't imagine ever getting back into the mood.

I relapsed from working out for half of January. I blamed the best of headaches: writing deadlines that I had to meet. But the two or three day break from fitness turned into a couple of weeks and I began to wonder if I could ever return to the gym. I knew a month off would undo me. And yet...I simply couldn't go back.

Not until...One day like any other day I heard a voice say to the lifeforce that had such a terrible headache:  "Hey, you just lie there and get well. I don't want what you don't want."
    --Really? That's so sweet of you!
"Sure. I'll just go off to the corner to satisfy my unspeakable cravings."
  --You wouldn't!
"Close your eyes, dear, and ignore me. I'll do a few light sets of pushups--"
  --You swine!
"--and thirty, forty situps--"
 --Disgusting degenerate!
"--and I'll sign off with few dozen crunches."
   Oh! Oh! Monstrous beast!

 The game only needed a couple of days to get my juices going and prime my muscle memory. On the third day I returned to the gym as if I'd never left it.

And the moral, for me, of this true tale is this: never argue with, or fight against, a partner or lifeforce with a headache. Give them a dear hug while wishing them well...then go off to the corner to do what you can to outfox the damnable headache. Forget what you can't do and do what you can. If you can't write 2000 words, then write 200 or 20. Write a blog or a string of cool Tweets. Feed your craving sips of soup in the in the form of the actions you can take. And feel your confidence come home.

You'll be surprised at how quickly that nasty headache disappears.

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