I pride myself on being a fairly responsible human being and a very responsible professional. However I am aware that on occasion I demonstrate a more human side to my professionalism. Shall we say, a more imperfect side.
In late July I picked up for a much needed 12-day vacation. Last summer amidst family reunions and the death of my husband’s paternal grandfather there wasn’t much room for decadent, relaxing vacations. The summer before that we toured the world for other people’s weddings and I traveled bleary-eyed from April to October. Needless to say after two summers without a vacation and seven months of home renovations I was more than ready for some relaxation.
As I neared the departure date my body slowly began to shut down. My word recall was so poor that sometimes I would forget two words in a sentence and not be able to come up with the necessary synonyms to explain to my listener. I stopped sleeping in the early morning hours and my dependable marker of health—my low back—quit on me.
You all have been there. We run ourselves ragged to get to the point of respite only to show up too tired and depleted to rest. In the three weeks before vacation I decided to shove way too much into too few days. But nothing went according to plan, which created more chaos. My computer broke for 10 whole days. 10 days without a decent emailing device, without Quickbooks, without Word, without my logged history of patient prescriptions.
The combination of broken computer and back pain was a clear message that I was supposed to slow down. In an uncharacteristic move I scheduled bodywork for myself for every day leading up to the vacation and stopped emailing. I let myself go on vacation without paying my second quarter sales tax bill. I let myself go on vacation and forget to put a vacation message on my voicemail and my business email account. I never gave my patients an emergency contact and I nearly forgot our passports.
Then I left the country for 12 days.
We are all imperfect people. Our imperfections range from sometimes tailored and smoothed to other times sloppy, erratic and frequent. Being a sane, productive citizen of this world requires a certain level of self-forgiveness and acceptance of our not-doings.
It is one thing to do the wrong thing or muddle an easy task. But often we struggle to forgive ourselves for the things we simply don’t do. All those balls in the air that drop suddenly when we look in a new direction and then we forget that they are lying on the ground at our feet.
To all the patients who have reported this summer that they did not take their herbs or do their yoga routines on vacation—you are forgiven. To all the students who have been off their mat this summer because of travel-recovery, gardening, summer activities, etc.—you are forgiven and welcome back at any time.
Today, this gloriously sunny day, is another opportunity to forgive yourself and move on with life. You are still imperfect. Love your imperfections. Your husband/wife/partner/mother/brother/child is still imperfect. Your boss/co-worker/doctor/lawyer is still imperfect. At moments we all get to be human and messy and make mistakes. At moments we all get to be brilliant and compassionate and composed.
Today on my fourth day home from vacation I am finally rested and recovered from a beautiful trip. I was able to lounge on breezy porches, sail on sunny afternoons in handsome wooden boats, swim in clear water, eat delicious food and laugh with my whole body. All my words are back in place within my head. My back is healed and getting stronger by the day. And my computer, well, it is trying its best. Life is imperfect and I’m okay with that.
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