My brother Chris has a dog named Roscoe, who, though highly energetic and playful, is very well-trained. When Chris gives Roscoe the command of “Leave it,” Roscoe does just that, whether it’s dropping a toy during a game of fetch, or not touching something icky during a walk in the woods, or stopping in his tracks when running full-tilt. It’s pretty cool.
I’ve had that “Leave it” command kicking around in my head the past few days. I had a lovely Thanksgiving in Alamosa with my sis and her hubby. We ate scrumptious food, went hiking, went running, stalked a local deer herd [or did they stalk us? Hmm.] and generally had a good time.
Then we all got bitten by a stomach bug.
It was gross.
Mentally, I progressed through several stages. Stage One: indignation. Hello, what happened to my kick-butt immune system that has not let so much as a cold penetrate its defenses since December of 2010?? Stage Two: resignation. Uggghhhhh. Stage Three: practicing philosophy whilst curled up on my couch under an enormous blanket, nibbling Triscuits and watching back-to-back episodes of “NCIS.” Tony DiNozzo is one handsome –
No wait, that’s not the philosophy I meant to talk about.
I think our bodies sometimes know things that our minds don’t – or at least, that our minds don’t accept. There we are, cruising along in our lives, chock full o’ confidence: confidence in our ability to balance everything; in our fitness; in our control. And then, no matter how well we think we have reinforced ourselves, life pounces (in my case, a germ, but it could be anything), and…splat. So much for control.
And the kicker of it all? How often does it happen that when we’re sick, we don’t think about our health, or about doing what it takes to recover, but rather about the other stuff in our lives? As I laid there like a rag doll in bed, and again as I sat on my couch, these little nagging thoughts kept circling my brain like one of those miniature train sets: You have laundry to do! You have bills to pay! You need to go grocery shopping! You need to write this week’s blog post! You need to unpack! You should go outside for fresh air! You are LOSING the fitness you were just getting back!
Well, my body put those thoughts pretty quickly in check: the exertion of shuffling out and back to collect my mail felt comparable to running a 10k, and the very thought of lugging laundry around or using the mental energy required to pay a bill had me eyeing my bathroom again.
I started to gain some sense.
It was okay to relax. It was okay to get nine-plus hours of sleep. It was okay to let laundry, bills, and groceries slide a day or two (it’s not like I was eating much anyway). Giving my running shoes a break for a couple days wouldn’t kill them, or me, or my over-all fitness level. I even learned to appreciate some smaller things in life – let me say right now that the people who invented Saltines, Triscuits and Ginger Ale do not receive nearly enough in royalties.
When your body says “Leave it,” it’s best to do just that.