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Published January 21, 2014, 04:14 PM

50/50: I’m invincible, I’m powerful, I’m exhausted

In our quest to do it all, have we lost ourselves? I’m sitting here in bed, notebook propped upon my leg, writing with the hotel pen, taking a break at my conference. I take a minute to just breathe. Deep breaths. In and out, noticing the air coming in through my nose, filling my lungs, then releasing and creating calm through my whole body.

By: Susie Ekberg Risher, INFORUM

In our quest to do it all, have we lost ourselves?

I’m sitting here in bed, notebook propped upon my leg, writing with the hotel pen, taking a break at my conference. I take a minute to just breathe. Deep breaths. In and out, noticing the air coming in through my nose, filling my lungs, then releasing and creating calm through my whole body.

I try to think back to a slower time. We have four children, so of course I’ll need to go back before that. College? No. High school? Junior high? Grade school? I’m starting to get a little nervous. Have I always lived a larger-than-life life?

I settle on age 5. After that my hamster on a wheel mentality was slowly established until it became the new normal.

Are you like that? As soon as one obligation ends, leaving a hole in your schedule, do you rush to fill it in? Do you feel uncomfortable? Lazy? Unproductive?

I believe that a person’s life is precious and valuable no matter what they are doing (or not doing) but unless I’m constantly contributing to society in a meaningful way, I feel that I have no worth. I’m just taking up space. Knowing I feel that way makes me sad, but it’s my truth right now.

To ensure that I always feel worthy, I need to make sure I’m operating at 20 percent beyond what I feel to be comfortable. I’m Wonder Woman.

One more favor, two more phone calls, three more errands. Although we may not hold anyone else to our ridiculous and unhealthy standards, we expect ourselves to be Wonder Women, don’t we? Ironically, that’s my nickname. It’s not always a good thing.

It’s fabulous and important to feel powerful, but I don’t think that means never saying no to others or yes to ourselves.

Can we write another definition for Wonder Woman? She is someone who loves herself so fiercely that she eats well and gets enough sleep. She’s so strong that she’s able to say no. She’s so caring that she’s willing to let others take care of themselves AND her sometimes.

Life isn’t a sprint. It’s not a list of things we have to check off. It doesn’t help to look at the person next to you and compare their life to yours, scared you aren’t doing enough. This life is your life. It’s your one big beautiful chance to figure out who you are and what makes you happy. The only two meanings to life I’ve ever figured out is to love and help each other, and to have fun.

Old Wonder Woman only focuses on the first, but New Wonder Woman says, “Martinis at 6, girlfriends?” I vote for the new.

Now my column’s done and I’m off to take a nap.

Susie Ekberg Risher is a writer living in Fargo. Follow her on a yearlong journey to lose 50 pounds – half through emotional work and half through physical effort.

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