This becoming a tortoise is not something that I have started recently. I have been working on it since my therapist put me on six months of absolute rest over five years ago.
You would think that this would not be too difficult. You would be wrong.
I actually had to ask my therapist what rest actually means. I also had to have her write out a list of dos and don’ts.
- Light exercise – Walking, strolling, etc.
- Light housework – Vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, dishes, etc.
- Listen to uplifting music – No heavy metal, hard rock, etc.
- Watch uplifting movies – No sad movies or overly tense ones.
- Read good books.
- Eat healthy foods – No dieting, no bingeing, desserts in moderation.
- Take time for my youngest child – She was only 9 at the time and is the only one left at home.
- Go outside – Sunshine, nature, flowers, light gardening, etc.
- Go play with my friends – Go to the movies, go out for ice cream, go to the water park, etc.
- No I cannot be a brick wall – My grown children must handle their own frustrations and rely on each other.
- No babysitting – This is the part most difficult because I love having my grandchildren.
It Is Harder That It Looks
While this list doesn’t seem all that difficult, you might be amazed at how difficult it was and is for me.
I have had to learn to say “No” to my children, my parents, my family, my friends, church, school, etc. Even if is something that I know I would enjoy and want to do.
I am still trying not to feel guilty every time I say “No”.
I Failed Resting For 4 Years
This is what really amazed me. I had followed the dos and don’ts so carefully. I even eliminated 90% of my activities:
- No email – I checked it about once a week and usually hit delete without reading.
- No Face Book – Unless one of my children called and asked if I had seen the latest picture or video.
- No news – I stopped reading the paper. I stopped following my news feeds. I figured if it was important enough someone would tell me. This is actually true, Daughter called me to let me know that Son was alright in Korea when it was bombed.
- No politics – See “No news” above. I love my country and feel strongly about politics. I stopped talking about it and left the room when others did.
- No blogging – This changed to napping.
- No working – All (almost) of my businesses went into hiatus.
- No networking – I stopped social networks, business networks, network meetings, etc.
- Cooking fewer days a week – I cooked only one or two days a week
- No planning BBQ’s or family get-togethers – I simply attended.
- No heavy housework – Once a week I vacuumed the main floor. I cleaned my room.
- No babysitting grandchildren – I did play with them though.
The remaining 10%:
- Reading books – Stayed up several nights
- Attending family activities – Fun and games
- Hanging out with my youngest daughter – The Energizer Bunny.
- Enjoying my hobbies – Maybe a little too intensely.
I still failed.
Resting Is Hard Work
I know that resting and hard work are opposites, but my life seems to be one big oxymoron. Hence the name of my blog: My Ox is a Moron.
I have to remind myself every day (sometimes multiple times a day) that being the tortoise is okay. Things still get done. Just not as fast as I might want.
My one son actually tried to show me how to rest. He sat back in a kitchen chair, put his feet on the chair in front of him, crossed his arms and did absolutely nothing.
I looked at him and shook my head. That just seemed so wrong. It didn’t feel like resting. It felt like being lazy.
I don’t do well when I am required to sit and rest. I get bored very quickly and feel the need to do something.
I have many projects that need to be done and they are things that I enjoy. Crocheting, sewing, playing the piano, and writing are encouraged because they fill my emotional bucket.
While I enjoy them and can lose track of time doing them, I feel selfish when I spend all my time doing them. Even though I have written permission from my therapist to do them, I still feel selfish.
Last year I finally past my 6 months of absolute rest. It only took me over four years.
When Does Resting Become Lazy
This is a question I struggle with all the time.
There are days when I am so tired I just sit and veg on my computer and watch TV. There are days when all I want to do is nothing. Sometimes I resent having to do anything at all.
Is this lazy? Or is it just part of living with the fearsome foursome? I don’t know.
Maybe resting is not doing because you cannot and lazy is because you do not.
Must ponder . . . .
There are several advantages of being a tortoise.
- They carry their houses with them and can nap whenever they want.
- The don’t need to hurry because their shell protects them.
- They live to a very old age.
- They get where they are going sooner or later.
So where do I get a shell? I’m still working on that part of it.
I must admit that being a tortoise allows me more time to enjoy the scenery and find joy in the journey.
So, maybe that is the best advantage of being a tortoise.
And the secret.