Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Taking Care of Myself

Why is it so hard to put myself first?

I have been having a bit of a rough week physically. Monday I pulled a muscle in my back. Tuesday I felt feverish and sick to my stomach. Nothing serious, I just wasn't at the top of my game. Normally I volunteer at a local farm on Tuesday and Wednesday morning. The farm is just over nine miles away by bike. On Tuesday I didn't go in because my back was still sore and riding that far and then doing all the work on the farm didn't seem like a good idea.

I wanted to go this morning because I felt bad missing the entire week. I set my alarm for 6:30. At 5:30 I woke up and could not go back to sleep because my mind was racing with all of things I needed to accomplish today (go to the library, get groceries, make dinner, clean the kitchen, go to the market, finish up a cover letter and resume for an internship...). At 6:00 I finally stopped trying to sleep and got out of bed to start working on my cover letter and get ready for the farm. I didn't get enough sleep, still wasn't feeling a hundred percent, and was still determined to go.

Why is it so hard to put myself first? Why do I feel like I'm letting everyone down when I take a day to slow down and take care of my body? I used to run my body into the ground whenever I was getting sick because I refused to say no and admit I needed a break. I'm trying to break that habit, but it's a work in progress. Even though I knew that taking the day off was the best thing for my body, I was plagued by irrational fears that people would judge me or think less of me for not showing up.

I didn't go to the farm today. And that's okay. I'm learning to listen to my body and follow through on what it needs instead of worrying about how other people will perceive my choices. Easier said than done, but I'm getting there.

Monday, April 11, 2011

How I spend my time

When I found out we were moving to Austin, I wanted to be sure to find ways to become involved in the community and to reach out and meet people.  Getting off my couch and out the door is easier said than done, but I am working on it. Right now I am volunteering at a few different spots: two farms, the farmer's market, and the local community bike shop. It may sound like a lot, but it comes out to about 20 hours a week. Still plenty of time to job search (although my motivation is admittedly lacking in that area), grocery shop, cook, and read.

Now that I don't have to wait tables or work retail in order to pay the bills, I am trying to focus on my interests. I do not want to jump into something just to make money and then get sidetracked from my long term goals. Fortunately, we are in a position where I don't need to be working full time in order to make ends meet. Instead, I can focus on activities that bring joy into both my life and the world.

The big news in my life is that I now have a community garden plot! The first place I looked had a year long waiting list. I emailed the other nearby community garden, but held out little hope that there would be a spot available. When I did not hear back in two weeks, I figured it was a lost cause. On Friday night, I got an email saying there was a spot available and asked if I was still interested. Heck yes I was interested! I've worked on a few farms both in Oregon and here in Texas, but I haven't actually had my own plot. It's hard to garden in an apartment without a yard or even a balcony for potted plants. The plot had been abandoned by its previous cultivator and was overgrown with weeds. This morning I started attacking the weeds with my bare hands. I got about two thirds through when I realized that my failure to wear gloves was tearing my hands apart. I'm going to head back out (with gloves) tonight to finish the weeding and to work in some compost and soil. I'm starting a little late in the season, but hopefully I'll get some juicy tomatoes and other treats as summer approaches.