Saturday, August 28, 2010

Leah Eventually

My partner has given me this loving new nickname to describe my personality. I am now Leah Eventually.

All right, I'm a chronic procrastinator that uses the excuse "I work better under stress!" Everything from doing the laundry to writing my 20-page master's thesis gets put off until the last pair of socks is on my feet and the timer is ticking down to the last few hours before my final class. I'm sure the appearance of several gray hairs over the last year are due to the stress caused by waiting until the last minute to get big projects done, be it something for work, school, home or (yes, even) leisure.

I woke up a few weeks ago in a sweat at 3 AM. There was an awful pain in my chest, and every breath was insufficient for bringing oxygen into my blood. I started panicking, and woke up my partner to find the blood pressure monitor. I thought I was having a heart attack.

My life started flashing before my eyes as my too-calm partner wrapped the cuff around my left arm. What did I do wrong? Was I eating too much junk food? Not exercising enough? Exercising too much? Had all this stress finally done me in? Who would cry at my funeral? Would anyone even show up?

According to the monitor, my pulse was 65 beats per minute. Normal for me. Blood pressure? 100/70, slightly higher systolic than normal, but otherwise... normal.

So one drink of baking soda diluted in water later, and I realized that for the first time in my life, I had heart burn. And realized it's about time that I reduce the stress in my life. I've been under a lot of stress in the last two months for various reasons, and I think it's time for it to stop.

That day, I meditated silently for the first time in my life. I've done yoga before, and consider that a movement meditation, but sitting quietly and just being aware does something for me that I didn't think possible: I calmed down. It felt good!

I haven't meditated since then, honestly, but I'll get it into my routine....eventually.