The Guilt Cycle

Today, I did nothing. Well, not nothing. I went to work, and then after that, I just sort of fizzled. Oh, I can come up with excuses–I did my training run on the treadmill yesterday followed by nine hours on my feet at work, getting home with just enough time to grab something to eat, unwind a little, and then go to bed before having to get up early for work. This, plus a broken night’s sleep, left me feeling pretty drained. But the sun was shining, the temperature was actually above freezing, I could have handled taking the dog for a long walk, or even doing some upper body exercises. Instead, I opted for none of that, and with doing nothing has come a lot of guilt.

First, there’s the guilt for not being a better dog mom. Let me tell you about my awesome dog. Tony is a rescue–some asshole abandoned him and I was lucky enough to adopt him from the Humane Society. He’s affectionate, playful, only barks as a warning (he’s not one of those yippy dogs), smart when he wants to be, pretty well behaved–someone put a lot of work into training him (all the more reason they’re an asshole for dumping him in the streets), thinks he’s a sixty pound lap puppy when it’s actually more like your lap and both armrests of the recliner, is currently hogging half the bed but is also keeping my feet warm. Really, I have no idea how I was the one fortunate enough to adopt him.

He also came with heartworms.

If you’ve never had a dog with heartworms, then you’re doing it right–keep it up. I learned on his first vet appointment that these horrible, long, nasty things were entwined around his heart and in his bloodstream, which meant my poor dog was on doggy bedrest for the next eight months while we attempted to kill the parasites. We started with the basic heartworm medicine I give him on a monthly basis. This was used to kill the young worms in his bloodstream and to start weakening the walls of the larger worms in his heart. After six months of meds, he got a series of shots designed to kill the large worms, which would take a couple of months to do the trick. Throughout this whole time, his physical activity had to be limited to regular, brief walks. Anything that caused his heartbeat to pick up could dislodge the bits of dying worms before they’d properly dissolved and clog up an artery, causing his heart to stop. So running was definitely out of the question. Even a lunge after a rabbit had me worrying he was going to hurt himself. Fortunately, Tony made it through with flying colors and he is in perfect health, as happy as a pup could be.

So, yeah, I feel like shit every time I skip an opportunity to take him outside and let him stretch his legs and play.

Along with dog mom guilt comes personal accountability guilt, the feeling that I am letting myself down, that I am throwing all my hard work away, that even missing one day is a failure. I know (hope) I’ll get some sleep tonight, that tomorrow’s weather is going to be gorgeous (compared to earlier this week), so Tony and I will have a good time working on my three mile run, but it doesn’t stop me from thinking what a waste of a day. I can be damn good about beating myself up over every little thing, but this doesn’t feel like a little thing. Yes, I’ve got eleven and a half months to nail this, but at the same time, I know those months can go flying by if I let them. I can’t let myself get caught up in thinking I have plenty of time, because I don’t. I have a lot of work to do, a lot I want to achieve, and I’m just hoping a year is enough time to get it all done. I can’t let myself fall behind. I know I need to stay on top of each day to make being healthy a habit.

There’s some unhealthy thinking wrapped up in there along with the potential for a positive outlook. I know this. Just like I know that some days I’m not going to want to feel like doing anything, and it’s okay, but if I give in without even trying, that’s where I’m going wrong. Like today. Part of me wanted to try. Lazy me won out.

Whatever. Score one for you, lazy me. Healthy me will kick your butt tomorrow.

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