In my office, there are weekly lunchtime yoga classes. I love yoga, but don't love the idea of doing it at work, so I don't participate. Still, I occasionally run into the teacher when I have a meeting in the conference room immediately following the class.
One day, another coworker was chatting with the teacher when I wandered into the room. They were talking about yoga (shocker!!), and asked me if I practiced.
Ever looking for a moment of amused self-degradation, I laughed and said, "Yep, most days. But I tend to fall over a lot."
The teacher laughed, too, which made me feel good, but then she said, "You know, that's probably a good thing. I mean, with yoga, if you play it safe, you'll never fall down. But if you push yourself to the next level, to go just a little further with a pose... well, sometimes you fall, but you almost always get better."
I kept laughing...but I also thought about what she said afterwards, because it had the ring of a Major Life Lesson. Because...well...she was right...
I mean, look at me. I have a reasonably full plate even at my baseline daily routine. I am mother to an almost-three-year-old, super-active girl. I am a wife to a man who loves to talk about music and books and, this week, trees. I work near-full-time hours, and I have a house and dogs and cats to take care of. Lots of laundry, lots of ball throwing, lots of cooking, lots of dirty dishes.
But I can balance it. No problem.
But it's not quite enough for me.
So last year I started working on my "writing career" (in quotes because I've yet to publish anything other than this blog)...and my yoga...so that every night, after dinner was eaten and baths were given and the dogs were fed and the child was in bed, I had a full night's work ahead of me. A thirty minute workout and at least an hour of writing were added to my daily routine. Because I had to push my limits to see what would happen.
And...I definitely fall down sometimes, there's no doubt about it. Sometimes the pressure of daily life builds up until I'm ready to explode, or punch someone. The guilt over never quite doing any ONE THING to the best of my ability, including parenting Zoe, sometimes makes me cry.
But sometimes...I feel better. I get better. In the past year, I've lost about 5 pounds, gained a bunch of muscle and flexibility, and I've written a whole novel. And Zoe hasn't fallen apart. She knows I love her, and she gets as many hugs and kisses as she can handle on any given day. Charles and I still get along great (most days) and have fun times on random date nights or just hanging out on our couch together, watching TV.
So I think, most days, that I've gotten better. But then, sometimes something throws me off balance. And then I fall back down again.
Like tonight. Tonight we got home super-late. I had a haircut appointment that I desperately wanted to keep, and instead of taking two cars to work, which would have allowed Charles and Zoe to get home on time, we took one car since the weather was supposed to be terrible. Quentin, my dog, was inside our laundry room instead of in his outside dog run, again due to weather. By the time we got home, he'd pooped and yakked all over the crate in his room (probably due to fear of thunderstorms), and it smelled like death. So I cleaned that up (he is my dog). Then I made dinner. Then Zoe was wired and didn't want to go to bed. Then even when she was in bed, she kept needing just one more thing. Then I couldn't do a silly yoga pose I've been working hard to master. Then I procrastinated working on my book by writing this post. Then I realized I'm just all-around tired from a few nights of interrupted sleep.
Yep, tonight, I'm falling down.
But tomorrow, I'll get back up. And maybe I'll get even better.