That’s another awareness and consequence of a long recovery: I know when something is outside of me and when it’s self-imposed. Much of my stress is the later kind and it exists because there is so much that I want in my life. That, however, is a related consequence: Recovery has given me dreams and desires and hopes and ambitions. There are so many things I want to learn, try, do and be. I forget—over and over—that I can’t have it all at the same time. (But even as I type this I think to myself, “But if I got really, really organized…)
Hence I am reminding myself each day this week that most of my problems are luxury problems. I just got back from a great mini-vacation and there is a lot to catch up on at work. I have dance class and meditation class, and I’ve been asked to give a talk for a local church and a workshop for a local school. It’s all stuff that I love. But I’m tense and stressed.
So in my car each morning I’m taking a minute to reframe all of this. Yes—I have a great big demanding job with a terrific organization, and I’m writing—which is my lifelong dream, and I’m asked to speak on recovery and caregiving—topics I’m passionate about. I also have great self-care habits—hence the dance and meditation. And meetings. And sponsorship. And…
So I say out loud in the car, “Yes, I’m stressed because I have a big job and work I love and a column to write and classes to take and papers to write and friends to see. When I start to think it’s hard to keep in touch with my friends and that this is a problem I have to remind myself: Luxury problem! I have friends! I also have an income so I can pay for my therapy and workshops and the girly things I love.
When I catch myself grumbling, “How can I do all of this?” I switch it around to say, “Look at all of this that I do!” I have to say it out loud though; I need to hear from myself how good my life is. If I listened to my head or my worrisome tummy I’d think these are real problems.