I recently had the good fortune of attending the movie The Giver with my oldest daughter, Maria. We had both read the book a couple of years back and were excited to see the show. Thankfully we were not disappointed. The story examines the basic human condition and how we go to extreme lengths to shield ourselves from pain and suffering. The lasting impact of this is that whenever we work hard to shelter ourselves from the pain of our emotions, we also end up cutting ourselves off from the best parts of what it means to be human. After all, joy and suffering are tightly woven in our lives.
We both really enjoyed the film and it provoked a great discussion over frozen yogurts afterwards (Maria is a very thoughtful 14 year old, dad interjects). Upon further reflection, I realized how easily we can succumb to fear and how often we try to numb ourselves against feeling too much. This fear of pain and deep emotions causes us to reject elements of our experience rather than confronting the entirety of what we encounter.
This time of year can be hard on turf managers. We have just made it through the toughest part of the season, dealt with winter damage, heat and humidity, turf stress, crew unrest... the list goes on. One of the most important things we can do in the midst of all the busyness is to take the time to be good to ourselves. If we slide too far at this stage of the game, we can start making unwise choices that can lead us into difficulties.
Yet it can be tough to see the forest for the trees when you are in the grip of personal unrest. I, for one, have had a really long, tough summer and am feeling the brunt of it. I am tired, I have not exercised in a good while, my eating habits have gone to sh*#%t, and I am really looking forward to some downtime in the fall. Despite knowing better, it hasn't been easy to admit to myself that some of the choices I have made have not always improved matters. It has only been through reflection and the support of my loving wife, Jill, that I've come to see the truth of the situation. Together we are working to make some healthy changes in our lives.
We all go through ups and downs in life. This, I know, is true. Heck, two years ago I was in the best shape of my life, was meditating regularly, and eating like an Olympic athlete. I vowed I would never let things go again and that I would stay healthy forever. As the old adage goes, the only truth in life is change, and things have changed. But the best part is they can change again, and they will.
So stay cool, take a step back and do something good for yourself this week. Take a break; go take in a movie, connect with a hobby, read a good book, or even go golfing. Just know that you are not alone in the struggle, there are about 7 billion people facing everyday right along with you.