can't pin me down

"So busy I forgot to eat" and other lies

"I was in the zone and totally forgot to eat!" "I didn't even come up for air until 6 pm, and then I realized I hadn't eaten!" "I was flowing so much that I didn't even realize I was hungry until way past my lunchtime!"

I have told this lie at least a dozen times in the last year. Most of the time, I don't even know that I'm lying, in that it isn't a conscious choice - it's how I experienced the day. But, goodness, if you dig into what thoughts form the bedrock of a day like this, it's a pretty pernicious little thing to say, and to believe. 

Here are some of the thoughts, beliefs and actions that form the bedrock of a day where I "forget" to eat:

  • I can grab a snack next pom break.
  • I slept in so I don't have time to eat breakfast before work, I'll make up for it at lunch.
  • I don't have time to make food for lunch today.
  • If I get up and eat, I'll lose the momentum and I can't afford to do another warm up today.
  • I'm not that hungry yet. 
  • Once I get really hungry, I'll know and I'll take a break then. 
  • I'll be better at dinner. 
  • Tomorrow I'll do better - today I just need to catch up.

How many things in our lives do we set aside for the sake of "the flow"? How many plans do we cancel, or not make at all, because we have to meet some productivity standard? How many human bodily needs do we deny because the work "demands" it? How many of us are sacrificing sleep, food, movement, or just fun, until we hit an internal milestone? 

There are a thousand think pieces out there about glorifying busyness, glorifying the production over the process - who cares how long you had to work, or under what conditions, if you get the article published or the class prepped or the research done? 

Every time you put the work first, you reinforce the idea that you don't deserve to do other things until the work is done. There are some times (I call this "the finish line") when you simply have to grind to get things done, but ideally, this isn't the norm. If you're structuring your days so that the work always comes first, you're creating and reinforcing a hierarchy that puts the work above YOU. 

The work is important. Deadlines are important. But you can't do any of it, at least not long term, or without great cost, if you don't also take care of yourself. So pay attention to the messages you send yourself, subtle and obvious, while you work. The dichotomy between work and everything else is a false one. Work is a part of life, not the other way around.