Lack of care and just a “it’s not that serious” attitude I carried all throughout my 20s landed me in the dentist chair yesterday. I had taken the day off from work to finally have my teeth looked at after sleepless nights of pain that the maximum strength Orajel just didn’t soothe. While my dentist took my X-Rays (followed by the speech on how I need to get a handle on my dental health), I started thinking about other areas that I have ignored. It’s funny, when you finally decide to take better care of yourself, you realize that the way you had been doing it has been piss poor to say the least. The binge drinking (or Friday at the bar), the trips to the hookah bar, the late-night runs to McDonald’s and Checkers, the lack of sleep. Everything that you know you should’ve done better, you now wish that it can be reversed. But not yesterday morning. I had a massive cavity. I need a root canal. I ran the risk of gum disease. Massive plaque and tartar (what about all those mornings i burned my mouth with Listerine?) jeopardizing the remaining teeth I have. I walked out of that dentist office with a prescription in my hands and worries on my mind.
My body is falling apart. I kept getting signs, but ignored it. I just knew I would get better; that the pain would go away. I figured I could just eat right and exercise and my body would do the rest. But I know I need to get regularly checked out, but I don’t have the time. Honestly, I didn’t want to take the time off work. When I don’t work, I don’t get paid. Now I have to put my vacation on hold yet another year to pay for this work. What else do I need to get checked on? I should go back to work, since I need the money now. But I have some money saved. Yeah, but now you’ll have to start at square one.
Then came the inevitable; while I was waiting for my prescription to be filled, I toyed with the idea of going into work. I rarely take off work unless it’s an emergency. My co-worker’s fear slowly but surely became my own. I got kids, I can’t just be taking off work like that. You take off work, and you can be replaced. There are too many people out here hungry and ready for our jobs. You gotta stay one step ahead of the competition. After working for a year straight with no break (thanks, government shutdown), I made it my business to take time off for me. That I was going to request more days off from work and just relax. But after years of working in a department where just one person being gone is a strain, I’ve made it close to half a year without taking any time for myself. Even the time that I feel is my “off days”, it’s been compacted with work around the house, or errands that have to be ran. There just never seemed to be enough time or money to really “relax” but did I need that? I took off work to take care of myself and my health, is that not a good reason to stay home? Because I just need to sit down somewhere and do nothing for at least 24 hours? Walking around Target was so quiet and peaceful. I read vegan cookbooks to pass the time (and to also not get sucked into the voodoo that is Target. You know what it is; that need to buy everything EXCEPT what you came in there for…) and I was calm. Looked at bedding and pictures. I got in the car and made a decision that I wasn’t going back to work that day. That I was going to go home, get in bed, and not do anything. That the simple “I just need a day” was enough.
I don’t need a grand reason. I am enough. I don’t need a surplus of wealth. I am enough. I don’t need permission. I am enough. I’ve also had enough.
We each have the choice in any setting to step back and let go of the mind-set of scarcity. Once we let go of scarcity, we discover the surprising truth of sufficiency. By sufficiency, I don’t mean a quantity of anything. Sufficiency isn’t two steps up from poverty or one step short of abundance. It isn’t a measure of barely enough or more than enough. Sufficiency isn’t an amount at all. It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough, and that we are enough.
Lynne Twist, except from The Soul of Money