About 7 years ago, I really, really needed some time off.
I don’t remember what all was going on or what the latest stress was. I just remember that I didn’t feel like I could go another day without some time to rest and recuperate, and that I felt trapped by my schedule and like there was nothing I could do.
I looked at my schedule for the next day, and couldn’t come up with anything I could cancel or postpone.
A shift at work? Can’t just take the day off on no notice, certainly without some more physical symptoms.
Patients? I was just starting out in private practice, and being professional was very important to me (not that it isn’t now, but I’m not quite a stressed about looking the part.)
A meeting I had waited a month for and had already been rescheduled 3 times? I couldn’t possibly move that….
And so on and so forth.
I went to bed feeling tired and powerless, and not looking forward to tomorrow.
At 3:44 in the morning I work up to my phone ringing. A friend of mine had gone into labor and was leaving for the hospital, and wanted to know if I could go with her.
Of course I could.
As I got dressed and raced out of my apartment I did a quick mental review of my schedule.
Work? Call around 7:30 and tell my assistant that she would be alone for the morning, explain what she had to do and where to find all the equipment she needed.
Patients? Text them around 8 and explain that I would need to reschedule, I had already warned them all that I had a birth coming up and might need to cancel appointments this week or next.
Meeting with student representative? Reschedule for the 4th time, no problem.
And so on.
In the end, my friend had one of the fastest births I’ve ever seen, and I made it to half a shift at work, then to the meeting and then saw three patients. (I may have had caffeinated soda for the first time in a year).
And the whole day I knew I was in charge of my schedule and not the other way around.
Ever since then, when I feel like I have no choice about what I am doing with my day, or upset that I can’t take time off to do something I would like to, or just generally overwhelmed with all the wonderful things my days are full of, I ask myself if I could cancel/change/reschedule things if I had to take a friend to the hospital, and the answer is almost always ‘yes’.
And that means that what I am doing with my day is a choice.
I am choosing to be reliable, and professional, and driven, and busy. And if something more important comes up, I can choose to do that. But I choose the path I follow.
And that makes all the difference.
Are there days you need to remind yourself that you do have a choice?
Hi! I’m Havva Mahler, a practitioner of Chinese medicine: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, reflexology, tuina, sotai and a bunch of other words you’ve probably never heard of ?
I also spend a lot of time thinking and learning about human behavior, because so much of our health is dependent on our actions.
You can find more thoughts on health, wellness and personal growth on my blog, and you can also sign up here to get future blog posts delivered by
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