Thursday, May 29, 2008

Day 70, Tell This to Your Boss...

Damn! Today I didn't have time for any kind of workout. And by the time I got home in the evening I was too tired to even think about it. It's one thing to feel crappy and choose to skip your training for the day, at least then it's on you and you can accept responsibility and move on. But today I didn't even have 5 minutes for jumping rope. Working 9 to 8 without 5 minutes free is whack.

And the weird thing is, I was so hungry tonight. I stayed on diet but just barely. I know if I had gotten some training in that hunger wouldn't have been an issue. Once again, I don't understand how this stuff works, but doing more exercise leaves you feeling less hungry than just sitting around "resting."

The other day one of my yoga students was bewailing his tight hamstrings. I told him it just took a few minutes a day of forward bends to open them up, and if he was really serious, a 30 minute upavistha konasana in the evening.

He protested, saying that he didn't have any free time in the day and got home only in time to shower and sleep before waking up and getting on a train to Tokyo at 6 a.m.

I told him if that was really the case, he needed to think about getting another job, because that's no way to live.

He said half jokingly, "I wish you would tell that to my boss."

I don't know why but this pissed me off. And those who know me know that I get pissed off maybe once every two years.

I told him I truly felt sorry for his situation, but that, at the end of the day, it wasn't his boss's fault that he's working himself into the ground.

It was his fault. He chooses everyday to keep a job that is literally crippling him. Good on him for at least coming to a yoga class, that's more than 99% of people do, but I find it highly ignoble to blame a lack of self-improvement on your environmental situation.

No one else is in charge of getting "you" right.

Which brings me full circle to my overscheduled day in which I can't even find the time to jumprope. I can gnash and wail about how busy I am, about how many places I have to be at one time, but ultimately, it's my fault that I got in this mess. And I should either shut up about it or change it.

**PS. A few days after I wrote this post I talked to this person again , and he told me that the week after our conversation he had put in his resignation, taking effect at the end of next month! That's how it's done.


Anonymous said...

I always get more hungry when I don't exercise too. I think it is because your body doesn't get the energy boost from exercise, so it compensates by wanting energy from food.

Patrick said...

Yes, and I also think that exercise reduces stress. And when we're stresed we have a natural inclination to reach for foods, especially fatty ones.

I wrote about this in a post on stress on the studio blog.

Kitty said...

Really a good point about stress triggering "hunger" (note the quotes because it's not need of nutrition as much as food-as-medicine. Also I loved what you wrote today, it is so true, I even find if I remind myself that "I chose this" on a crazy-busy day, I can sometimes even change my attitude about it and suddenly instead of it sucking, it's just challenging, you know, in a good way.

Melissa Maples said...

I've been thinking a lot about this post for the past couple of days. I'm like you, I drive my own bus. I haven't had a "regular" job since I was 19, and I live my life according to what fulfills me and makes me happy. That, in turn, seems to make others around me happier, too. So I'm totally with you on that point.

But it occurred to me that it's really easy for people in our situation (no family, no kids), to point at others and say, "it's your own fault if you're not happy." Sure, it could be said that another facet of my control over my own life is that I made the conscious decision not to have children, and subsequently the responsibilities and obligations that go along with them. So in that sense, it's still under my control. But if you're already in a situation where you have a family and/or kids (either by design or accident), and you wake up one day and realise that the other aspects of your life (job/career) are slowly destroying your soul, this puts you in a very tricky position. You now have to ask yourself how it's going to affect the happiness of your children, both short and long term, if you go chasing your dream.

Sure, in the long run, they will probably enjoy having a dad or mom who's happy and fulfilled. Kids do better with well-adjusted parents, that's for sure. But when the flip side of that decision is to put yourself in a position where you maybe quit your job and start doing what you want to do for a living instead, and maybe the first few months or first few years are difficult financially, and *you're* happier, but the kids are having to sit out of class trips because you can't afford to send them just now, and maybe Santa isn't as forthcoming as he used to be... that's got to be a difficult call to make. Sure, kids are resilient, and they might not blame you for it, but it still has to make you pause.

I had some financially difficult years that were part of the sacrifice of not living a conventional corporate office life, and that's okay because I was just looking out for myself, and my own emotional fulfillment was top priority. If I had had a small baby or a couple of toddlers in tow, I might have made very different decisions, and certainly any path I took would have been difficult. Ten years down the road, I certainly wouldn't want some single guy telling me that getting knocked up wasn't an excuse and that I should have opened up that dance studio anyway and taken the money out of the kids' college fund to make up for the fact that I quit my job, hoping in the long run that I could put the money back and the kids would have a happier mom. Sure, if it all turned out well it would be great... but choosing to risk it is easier said than done when you don't have a crystal ball.

I'm not saying the guy you were talking about isn't an excuse-maker, just that people's situations are often more complex than their own personal comfort, and it's too easy for us to point the finger and judge them for the decisions they make in order to support their families.

Patrick said...

Re: Melissa's comment

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. You raise some interesting situations, but I think in all of them the responsibility for unhappiness ultimately comes back to the experiencer of that unhappiness.

This is the Buddhist in me talking now, but a negative response towards any given situation, even tough ones like an unwanted pregnancy, stems from our inability to truly accept the present moment, without expectations of how it should be.

So, maybe in the scenario you're talking about, where the parent hates his job but has to keep it for the kids, the change would come from starting to cultivate appreciation for how the work supports the family or something. I don't know, I still don't buy that anyone has to keep a terrible job.

In any respect, the first step towards any of this esoteric stuff is understanding you are the only one responsible for you.