I went for a walk this morning, by myself, since the dog was at the park with his real friend. I didn’t go the whole way. I’m not quite 100%.
But I could have gone the whole way. I wasn’t that far from my turn-around spot. But I felt really crappy and just wanted to go home.
And I said something to myself that I realize I say quite often to myself: “This isn’t a punishment.” Like, I am not obliged to go the whole way out of some sense that the misery going the whole way would cause me is what I deserve. I can turn around. I can try again tomorrow. I walk because I like it. It’s okay to not do it.
I get caught up in this sometimes about crocheting, too, that I can’t take an evening off because I have to get this done. And then I have to remind myself that I crochet because I enjoy it, not because it’s a punishment. I don’t have to keep going through unhappiness. It will be fun again tomorrow.
I’m a middle-aged woman, who didn’t decide I deserved to be happy until I was well into adulthood. And I’m only now–now that I’ve decided that wanting a baseline of pleasant comfort with myself and the world is not some decadent sinful evidence of a kind of moral gluttony–realizing just how often I do things–even things I enjoy–to the point that they make me miserable. I am having to develop or perhaps redevelop a sense of “okay, that’s enough for today” that uses the arrival of unpleasantness as a cue that I can stop.
Even now, admitting this, I feel a desire to explain that I’m not suggesting that everything be fun all the time and that one should never have to struggle. Even as I know that, for my own well-being, I have to learn to say, “Okay, that’s enough for now,” even with things I really enjoy, I feel this overwhelming pressure to assure you that I know we all must suffer and that I’m not trying to get out of my share.
I mean, I haven’t even gotten my internal indicator recalibrated to accept that its resting state should be at “let’s do things we like while we feel like doing them” and I’m already worried that I’m a hare’s breath away from “let’s only do things we like, ever and let the world go to shit around us.”
I guess that’s one way to keep myself on the Puritan misery path.