Breaking Your Own Rules

by Emma in


How do I manage to have a marriage, two kids, and a full-time job while also maintaining a fitness routine and working on two blogs and a book? It's simple. I'm really uptight much of the time. I'm a stickler for routines, guidelines, and goals, and the only reason that I'm able to keep this nuthouse in business is that I almost never step away from what I'm supposed to do. I'm supposed to run on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. I'm supposed to blog on Sundays. If I want to lose the rest of the baby weight, I'm supposed to avoid consuming milkshakes that contain the recommended daily allowance of fat. That said, life is pretty damn boring if you always do what you're supposed to do, and I sometimes feel like giving my inner drill sergeant a break. I don't always feel like running, writing, or making healthy choices. Ninety-some percent of the time, I do it anyway, but sometimes, I manage to defy my own rigidity.  I take a half an hour to read a magazine even though the brown rug under my feet is caked with sick amounts of white dog hair. I order myself some lovely Aveda products even though money is tight.

I imagine that we all have these feelings—these desires to break free from "supposed to." And that's good, right? We should indulge ourselves at times. But where do we draw the line? How much rebellion from the routines, guidelines, and goals is okay before we suddenly lack anything resembling self-discipline? Before we no longer feel good about ourselves? I want to be the kind of woman who asks a lot out of life, who sets lofty goals and makes sacrifices to reach them. But I also want to be the kind of woman who breaks her own rules once in a while and—this is important—actually breathes deeply enough to enjoy it.

I don't have any clear answers. This balance thing is a real art form, no? I think I've got the self-discipline thing down; it's the rule-breaking thing that I need to work on. To quote the delightfully irresponsible Ferris Bueller, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." Is this post a thinly veiled mini-festo meant to rationalize my break from blogging this weekend and my intense (but yet to be indulged) desire for a pumpkin milkshake? You better believe it.

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I Want to Know Do you forget to stop and look around once in a while? Have you ever called in sick and taken a Ferris Bueller day? (When I lived in D.C., I once drove to New York for the day with a friend who was in town.) Do you tend to be too uptight, or do you break your own rules too often? Or maybe you think you've found a good balance?

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