Funny thing about survival: you can get so caught up in it you lose the time you need for everything else. That’s how it is for a lot of us who work for ourselves, sometimes at the cost of our health. We work hard, very hard, and free time stops being when we punch out of the clock at five in the evening. Free time turns into once a month when the cell phone blissfully stays silent and we’ve gotten our work caught up enough that we feel comfortable in stopping to watch t.v. for a few hours.
I think this past weekend highlighted for me more than ever the price I paid for freedom. It being Thanksgiving, I thought perhaps I would be left alone on Thursday at the very least. Thanksgiving is purely an American holiday – it started out as thanks for a bountiful harvest in America’s early beginnings, became a New England fall festival tradition over the generations, and wasn’t made a “legal” holiday until President Roosevelt. For many native Americans like myself, it happens around our own season for fall festivals so that the two are slowly becoming intertwined. While other Americans are eating turkey, some Americans are hanging all week long at a powwow. This means that Thanksgiving time for some of us is also a religious holiday.
So this year for Thanksgiving we started off our festivities on Thursday morning by throwing popcorn into the fire. Then we stampeded into the kitchen, cooked our hearts out, and ate. And then we ate again while watching the t.v. (not football). And sure enough, the emails piled in from people who wanted to know where I was, why their work wasn’t being delivered, and completely ignoring the fact that it was a holiday.
“The cooperate mentality has gotten too big for its britches,” I grumbled to myself, and IMHO it’s true. When I was little, in the 1970’s, things shut down from Thursday until Sunday on Thanksgiving – which by the way is a good and proper length for a festival. You didn’t pester families on their day off unless you were visiting. You didn’t force your employees to work on Thursday at the very least. It was a day of thanks and rest, and people got to do just that.
(Of course, without the dollar store being open that Thursday morning I wouldn’t have been able to run out and get my last minute popcorn which we forgot to buy. I admit to feeling guilty the entire time I was out, too – if one holds the belief a day is a day of rest they should not be hypocritical and force others to work. Still, we could have done without the popcorn for the day and did it on the next day I suppose. Next year I have to make sure it’s on the shopping list in advance.)
I knew that some of my clients aren’t even in America and wouldn’t know or understand the holiday, but I was surprised to see the out of country people let me have my Thursday and the American clients rally at their computers. And I ended up working for a bit as I answered emails and looked to see what I could swing out in five minutes or less. I should have ignored the emails until later, but survival kicked in. I’m just incredibly fond of paying my bills.
My family had a lot to be thankful for this year, partly because of how hard I work to survive. We had a turkey AND a ham, we’re buying our own house, buying a car, my youngest managed to stay reasonably good until her senior year and still counting, my b**** dog recently started trying to be manageable… the best part for me, my stories are gaining a following because – hyuck – people like to read what I write. My husband’s work is partly thanks to this. My work is responsible for the rest. And the price I’ve been paying for this was going to come due eventually. It came on Friday.
Black Friday. I had told my adoring husband that I had no clothes save for a single pair of jeans, so he dragged me to the store to buy some. I bought a nice pair of jeans, size 20 (biggest I’ve ever been), and come Saturday I got up to get dressed.
They didn’t fit.
Commence heartfelt tears – the price of working so hard is my health. I’ve been doing nothing but sitting here at the computer and eating in the past year. And it showed.
So now, like the corporate mentality, I am too big for my britches.
Mind you, I’ve struggled with my weight for my entire life – since I was a tender 14 years old. My body just doesn’t like to let go of fat no matter the lengths I take, and I have taken some incredible lengths. I know more about working out, how to eat, what exercises burn what calories, and various other things than a fat chic should with no success. Jane Fonda didn’t scare me. I’d do her workout twice without batting an eye. Yoga is so familiar to me it’s downright boring. Walking and running are my favorite pastimes – time being the key missing element in that equation. I think like a skinny person. My body wants to be a fat person. So the fact that I’m a size 22 may just remain a reality until the day I die.
But starting yesterday I tried to fit some activity into my daily regime. Again. It won’t hold – I go through fatigue periods where its hard to get out of bed. But while I have some energy I’ll do what I can when I can. Thankfully I have a treadmill in the house a friend gave me a couple of weeks ago.
I know what I need. I need to work less. Blast you, corporate survival, that you make so many of us skinny people fat!
If I lose an inch I’ll keep the world posted?