Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Speed Limits . . . . (#8 of 11)

I have run smack dab, headlong into a major obstacle to my downsizing/moving project.

I ran into fibromyalgia, which I sometimes forget that I have.
I usually control the fibro by limiting my activity, eating right, and resting frequently. On “good days,” I feel fine. But one of the symptoms of fibro is forgetfulness, made worse by my age-related memory loss. This combination – feeling fine and having a poor memory – sometimes makes me forget that I have fibromyalgia.

For example, last month a colleague invited me to a job interview with her boss. Forgetting that I’m planning to retire, I said, “Sure!”, jumped into my car and drove forty miles down unfamiliar roads in the near 100 degree Florida heat, forgetting to bring a bottle of drinking water. My friend and I trudged through miles of hospital corridors to the interview, which lasted a long while. Afterward, heading back to the parking lot, I became painfully aware that I had forgotten to bring the cane that I keep in my car.

I had been hired! Spirits high, I did a little shopping on my way home.

Back in the villa at last, exhausted and aching, I collapsed and slept until my husband served dinner, and then I collapsed again.

I spent most of the next few days horizontal, more tired, weak, and internally disrupted than I had in months. I phoned my friend’s boss and explained that I could not accept the job because of the fibromyalgia which I had forgotten I have. 

That was by far not the first time I’d made myself ill. My enthusiasm for new projects and adventures springs eternal, and from time-to-time I over reach my limits, taking on something I used to be able to do very well B.F. (Before Fibro), and forgotten I can no longer do.

Now I am awash in refashioning my home, my professional career, and my lifestyle. At the start, in my enthusiasm, I planned to clear and pack a room a day. Now I’m finding that I am worn out by Noon. Pushing too hard makes me ill, and so, predictably, I’m in a fibro flare-up, wiped out, hurting all over.

The first principle of the art of decluttering, according to Leo Babauta, is: Set Limits. I need to continually remind myself to remember that I have fibromyalgia, and slow down, take my time, set limits to match reality, which is no more than a room a week, at best. 

The short list:
  1. Set limits.
  2. Be realistic.
When I find myself worrying about whether I’ll meet the schedule I’ve set for accomplishing this enormous task, I remind myself . . . I’ll do the best I can, and it will take as long as it takes. The only pressure is what I create for myself, and I must stop doing that. I really, really need to “take it slow.”

And with this realization, The Simple Life begins, as a mindset, an approach to living.

(To be continued next week.)