I am currently busy putting together a ‘’Survival Kit for Life’’ for a friend. It’s not going to be anything fancy, and I have focused more on the odds and ends I have about my house for its contents.
It is a ‘helpful gratitude’ gift for her. Helpful, because the little reminders will make her smile when she’s facing a tough time. Gratitude because she has truly gone out of her way to be of great encouragement these last few weeks.
And I know that that is what friends do, and the way it should be. But part of who I am is to pause and mutter, ‘’may I never take it for granted’’, and so this small gift – while it will cost me very little in monetary value – is an expression of the gratitude I feel when she sends me encouraging picture messages, or pauses for a quick chat!
One of the suggestions I found was to include a rubber band in the package, with the wording, ‘’Stretch yourself beyond your limits.’’
And I shook my head and said, ‘’No.’’
Reading that took me back to one of the motivational talks my children and I watched a few years back. It was a brilliant talk – a man addressing a bunch of students, and so very applicable to my two who were both still in school and studying. But there was one thing that he said that I just could not agree with. And I told them both, when the clip was done, ‘’do not do that!’’ It surprised me when both of them told ME why it was a bad idea, instead of me telling them. Although they both ended with, ‘’you’ve told us this before. See? We do sometimes listen!’’ 😛
It was that concept of ‘work hard, sleep less’.
For me, it comes back to ‘’KNOW THYSELF’’. (And by extension, know thy kids 😛 )
If you’re the kind of person who can sleep for a few hours and still be fully functional, then yes! That’s great! Do it! Work hard instead of sleeping.
But I know myself! I need 7-8 hours sleep a night. Strange, but true! Occasionally, I can manage a night where I get only 5 or so hours. Sometimes even two of those nights in a row. But then! Oh my! A third night added to that, and the next day even my coffee needs coffee – my brain is lethargic, and I can forget about remembering, or focusing!
I often wish it was different. I know I am not young anymore 😛 but sometimes I feel like I ‘sleep too much and let life pass me by!’ This may seem silly, but I still have a friend or two who will message me at 8:30pm in the evening and ask me what I am doing, and do I want to meet up?
They already know my answer… I’m either on my way to have a quick shower and get into bed, or I’m already in bed 😛 And they tease, ”Okay, old woman, sweet dreams!”
I get up at 5am, every morning. Early riser means early bedtime, ha ha!
There are plenty of things I want to achieve. And I probably could.
But ‘working harder and sacrificing my sleep’ isn’t going to help me. Not one bit!
And… bless my kids and their precious selves… it won’t help them either! Entirely my fault, I suspect. I’ve wired them like me 😛 Except they seem to get by quite well on 6-7 hours. But oh my goodness gracious, I can definitely tell when they’ve struggled to sleep the night before!
Which takes me back to the rubber band….
There was someone who once told me, ‘’You think you know your limits, but you can actually stretch yourself beyond them.’’
And so I tried. I pushed myself harder and ended up stretching so much that I nearly broke – that rubber/elastic just got too thin! (and at that point, so did I! A delightful side effect, but not ideal, since my brain pretty much stopped working!)
I had misunderstood the concept completely! Instead of taking it to mean that there is actually great potential within me, and I need to be willing to explore that (stretch my mind) because I AM actually capable of more than I think I am, I almost made myself ill by ‘stretching myself thin’!
And so, in order to help others avoid the mistake I made, my rubber band note will say this :
‘’A rubber band to remind you that life holds so many great possibilities, and if you are willing to stretch your mind a bit, you may discover great potential in yourself that you didn’t know existed!’’
Maybe even that isn’t the right way to put it? But I like it 😉