Yesterday afternoon at about 4 PM, I remembered that I had signed up to help with voting for my sorority. Yes. I know. I’m 11 years out of college, but still doing stuff with my sorority? Yep. That’s how I roll.
Actually, I’m an advisor for a local* chapter.
* If local = 1 hour drive away, which to me, doesn’t really mean local
So I quit playing on the computer, put on my running shoes, and headed out for a quick 3 miler. Then I hopped in the shower, made myself presentable, and made the drive into LA. I arrived at 6:40 PM (for my shift that started at 7 PM, and was supposed to end at 10 PM). When I left at 11:15, I asked if they were sure they didn’t need me on Sunday (why, oh, why would I have said that?!? I did not want to make that drive again!). I was assured that there were plenty of people coming, and I wouldn’t be needed. I skipped out of the house, into my car, and drove… I had a decent time. I know that they needed my help, and I know that they appreciated it. But still. It was a Saturday night!
Fast forward to this morning. I wake up (later than the hubby, since he was dead to the world when I got home last night), and make my way downstairs. As I’m brewing coffee, I boot up good ol’ email, and see something that strikes fear into my heart:
Hi Lara, Can you come to the house today to help with voting? Thanks!
And that’s when the guilt sets in. Because I really did volunteer myself yesterday. But of course, that was for this morning’s party, not for the voting, which is this evening. And I do really have plans. I promise that I do. But I still feel guilty.
And that’s when it hits me:
I cannot feel guilty for not being available to everyone else, when I have me to take care of.
I could have rearranged my day. I could have left my friend’s shrimp boil party this evening, driving separately from the hubby, and made my way to the house. I could have put off picking up my house & doing laundry (Sunday evening activities – don’t pretend that you’re not jealous of my uber-exciting life). I could have missed another night with my hubby.
But I didn’t want to. Prepping for the week is important to me. Hanging with my hubby is important. Fostering friendships is important. And quite frankly, tallying votes for the sorority house? Not quite as important to me today*.
* I did volunteer myself to participate as an advisor, and I really do like this volunteer opportunity. Since there are 12+ advisors for the chapter, I’m not leaving anyone high and dry. I just cannot do 2 days in a row of driving down there.
And I wonder how this affects my weight loss, and others’ weight loss.
Many of the women on the Biggest Loser seem to have the same problem. They spend all their time taking care of others, to their own detriment. They haven’t learned how to say no. How to tell their kids to make their own sandwiches for lunch – they need to hop on the elliptical. They haven’t learned how to tell their hubby to please take care of the kids, they need to go to the grocery store to pick out healthy choices for the family. They haven’t learned how to say No, I can’t do that for you right now, I need to focus on me.
I’ve got 2 theories:
- Sometimes I know when to say when. I know what I need to do for myself, and I know that doing anything other than those things will lead me down a pathway that I’m not going to be happy with. This is who I was this morning when I sent back the email saying that I wasn’t able to help because I already had plans. This is who I am when I plan my meals, using the Grid, keep to my planned exercise for the week, skip those extra bites of candy and cookies that tend to lie around this time of year, blog daily, and keep up with my chores at home to maintain my home as a reasonably tidy space.
- Sometimes it all comes crumbling down. These are the days that I say screw it, forget the plan. On these days, I order whatever I want to eat at the restaurant, I eat the fries off my hubby’s plate, I buy and eat a tray of chocolate-covered banana chips, and I don’t work out because I don’t wanna. These are the days that I toss dirty clothes onto the floor (or the dining room chairs), the days that I eat all 3 meals outside the house, plus 2 iced coffees, and wonder why my tummy hurts (that may or may not have happened yesterday, except I only had 2 meals, plus 2 iced coffees. Maybe). On these days, I do things the do nothing to further my plan. Nothing to make me a better person. Even if I were volunteering, it wouldn’t be me doing a good thing – it would be me, doing something that I had to do.