I stayed home this morning and slept as late as my dog would allow. That isn’t normal for me on a Sunday morning because I love being involved in my church. Attending Bible study and worship are not just Sunday morning habits, but vital parts of being in a community of faith. Normally, there is no question where I will be on Sunday morning because the decision isn’t made on a week-by-week basis according to how I feel when I wake up. The decision was made many years ago upon becoming a part of the faith.
But today was different. Mid-afternoon yesterday I looked at my wife, Linda, and said “I’m making the call now to stay home tomorrow. I’m just too exhausted. I need some rest.”
For many years I’ve been a night owl and can regularly stay up until 2:00-3:00 a.m. and then get up at 5:00 or 6:00 to start it all over again. But when I push for too many days in a row, my body quickly lets me know I’ve crossed a line. I start showing signs of congestion, a sore throat, not to mention the obvious tiredness. I shouldn’t push to that limit, but I do. Loving my new job and wanting to spend more time at it than required is a good news-bad news situation that lends itself to pushing harder than I should.
Our bodies are incredible creations. They tell us when we need to sleep, when we need to slow down and when we need medical attention from someone more knowledgeable than ourselves. They can direct us away from or toward foods according to what the body really needs to be healthy. But the problem is that we don’t listen often enough. We set our agenda and go full throttle with no Plan B.
The hard truth is that we’re mortal. Aging brings increased physical limitations. I’m not a teenager or young adult anymore. I need to accept that fact and adjust accordingly.
I’m sure I’ll push to my limits again, and probably sooner rather than later. But if I’m smart, I’ll remember Leap Year Lesson #8: Listen to your body.