Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Helping Myself

As laid back as I like to think I am, I tend to get a little obsessive about things (I’m SURE you haven’t noticed). For some reason my brain pushes everything into black and white categories. Success or failure. Working out or not working out. Being productive or being lazy. I struggle to figure out how to allow myself to lounge in the spaces in between – those gray areas without extremes. Which really is where I probably should be spending most of my time.

Lately, and by that I mean for the past year or so, I’ve been on a self-help kick. Books, books on CD for the car, seminars, focus groups – I’ve been burying myself in it all. And for some reason last week I just decided that it’s time to take a break. A self-help vacation, if you will. I’m thinking this is a good thing especially because when I told my husband my decision there was a careful pause and thoughtful assessment before he quietly said, “I think that is a really, really good idea.” Kudos to him to being able to bite his tongue all this time.

So the second I decide this, the mailman delivers another book on CD, and I get invited to a weekend seminar by a motivation speaker. Sheesh. It’s like giving up alcohol in time to start a job at a liquor store.

But I guess the point here, of course, is to stop with the extremes. I don’t have to completely give this stuff up forever. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I want to wander in that middle territory, the restful place where the pendulum settles. For example, I don’t need to live and breathe Crossfit – I can just do it 3 times a week and enjoy it. I don’t need to completely abstain from wine, or chocolate, or bread 100%, as long as my body responds well to the foods I put in it most of the time. If I slip up on the rules of a Paleo diet, it doesn’t mean I need to eat baked goods morning, noon and night instead.

And I don’t need to turn to an endless parade of gurus and books to tell me how to be happy. Don’t misunderstand – I’ve taken away a lot of good things from self-help publications, and I’m sure I’ll continue to read some of them. But for the moment, I’m going to pick up a good novel and generally try to find that happy, relaxed and productive place that I probably already have the road map for. And if getting (and staying) in that place involves the occasional glass of good wine or item from Upper Crust bakery, so be it. Let’s see if I’m happier for it in the long run!

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