Yesterday I heard from a friend of mine?who?s an ambitious writer sort herself?and I was reminded of how important it is for me to be honest with myself about what I think I can realistically accomplish, and in what time frame.
Over the last six weeks especially, I?ve been getting a pretty good lesson about finding out where my limits are?and hopefully about doing a better job of preparing myself for the future. Just before, during, and now after, Liz went into the hospital for surgery, it Yesterday I heard from a friend of mine?who?s an ambitious writer sort herself?and I was reminded of how important it is for me to be honest with myself about what I think I can realistically accomplish, and in what time frame.
Over the last six weeks especially, I?ve been getting a pretty good lesson about finding out where my limits are?and hopefully about doing a better job of preparing myself for the future. Just before, during, and now after, Liz went into the hospital for surgery, it was necessary for me to crank it up a few notches, picking up the slack, especially around the house, and helping take care of her as she recovers.
So during that time I was still working full time and acting as Liz?s primary care giver, sending out emails to our family and friends about her status, and arranging for visits and trips back and forth to the hospital and doctors. Along the way I had a vicious case of food poisoning. And yet overall I still insisted on getting up at 5 am every day to either work our or write, and kept building this Web site?generally acting as if I could do it all and then some, now matter how much got piled on.
And for a few weeks, I was doing it. Until reality hit me. Hard.
Very. Very. Hard.
During those first few weeks I was amped up on adrenaline and wanting to prove that I was Uberhusband, faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and … you get the idea. The thing is, I was amped up?so amped up?that I wasn?t quite thinking right. It?s like talking to someone on drugs. They can jabber on like a maniac and yet also seem full of conviction. You can?t imagine them doing what they say they?ll do, and yet they still seem real convincing.
I was so amped up there was a part of me that didn?t want to come down, because I couldn?t imagine coming down from being up that high and then getting all the way back up that high again. And I had to be up that high. Had to.
How else could I keep it all together?
Times will come about when, at least for a short time, we need to act this way. Sometimes our situation is such that we need to make a short-term sacrifice because it helps someone we important to us, or perhaps is for the greater good. And I?d do it again in a heartbeat if faced with the same situation.
But it was a mistake for me to think that I could keep up the pace. And yet that?s exactly what I thought. In my head, I figured, ?wow, I?m really firing on all cylinders. I?ve turned a corner somewhere. This is amazing. Imagine how much I?ll get done for the rest of my days now that I?ve figured out how to operate at this level. For I am Uberhusband. I am SuperRuss, and I can do it all.
Uh … yeah.
Well, I?m not firing on all cylinders anymore. Heck, I?m barely firing on any cylinders right now. I?m wiped. I?m sleeping in most days?until at least 6 am, if you can you believe it; I took a few days off from the gym. I even went out with the guys on Saturday night. And I still need more time to recharge. Liz is feeling much better now, and I don?t need to be her everything anymore, so I don?t feel so bad not doing as much.
And I see pretty clearly now that the pace I maintained, while sustainable for a while, is a thing of the past. During that short time I was convinced that I had it all under control and that I could keep it up forever. I couldn?t. But who could?
My wife is on the mend and I?m still in one piece, so all things considered I?m feeling pretty okay about the whole thing. Hopefully I?ll remember this the next time I get all fired up about something. I consider myself to be a pretty efficient guy, but just like everyone else, I have my limits. And if I find myself again operating at a pace I can barely believe, I hope that I?m lucid enough to take a time-out, check that pace against reality, and remind myself that if it seems too good to be true, it probably isn?t.