The Centers for Spiritual Living’s (CSL) theme of the month focuses on the pursuit of self-care and what it means in our lives.
I tend to be a driven person. I was driven when caring for my kids and by my various jobs and commitments. Having been raised by a father with an A-personality, I learned very young what this lifestyle looked like. My father, who was raised by alcoholic parents, chose to break this cycle by becoming an engineer. When he was not working on projects for space travel (through his work), he was heavily involved in Boy Scouting (I was born in the middle of four brothers). It seemed he was busy from daylight to sundown (or longer), involved in various activities or projects.
Then, when he was barely 50, he had his first heart attack. I watched him change his lifestyle, his eating habits, and his outlook on life. But alas, the damage was done. Even after bypass surgery, he still lived less than 20 years. Of course, he died working at his dry cleaning business after retiring. He had a massive heart attack, and the doctors said he was dead before he hit the floor.
You think I would have learned from his mistaken lack of pursuit of self-care! But after all, I was raised believing I was an unworthy sinner, which added to my lack of self-care.
My mother, now in her late 90s, seemed to understand this better.
I’ve had a few of my own health scares.
Thankfully, these scares were not as severe as my father’s heart condition. But as I get closer to my father’s age when he died, I think more and more about this.
My life changed after the fire on Labor Day, 2020. The trauma of losing nearly everything we owned made me really look at my life. I realized all the years I had wasted trying to please everyone else. I am not as driven as my father, but I put up with a lot of stress from my first marriage, people, bosses, and such rather than looking out for myself first.
My lifestyle changed after the fire, just like my father’s changed after his first heart attack. But too often, I push myself to get one task or another done quicker and faster than necessary. Even this last week, I had to stop, slow down, and reflect on what I was doing.
After watching my father, I know that self-care is necessary for life. It is not the self-centered exercise I once believed.
Every day, I need to stop and remember what is important in life. Of course, it has gotten easier these last few years. But like my father, I find myself lapsing back into that destructive behavior.
Thanks, CSL, for bringing this issue back into my consciousness!