Don't Overdo - This card is part of the Four Agreements Cards by Don Miguel Ruiz

I am the champion of overdoing things.  I’m unembarrassed to say that I am likely the very best, or at least in the top ten.  I pushed the limits in every aspect of my life, because I was so dissatisfied and unhappy.  Overreaction was a defense against my sad state.  If I was involved to the point of excess, I had less time to think about how my life was going.

I started overdoing as a child.  I don’t remember any examples, but when I consider my childhood, excess is always present. If I called Mom, she could list hundreds of examples.  I tried too hard when I was a child; I did too many things that drove my Mom crazy.  And as I moved into high school, I was already lying to my friends about the experiences of my life, making it seem more interesting — strange, because my life really had been very interesting.

Starting when I was 18, I exceeded the boundaries of safety and common sense, by refusing to take my insulin for 10 months.  I knew I was killing my body; but I was getting thinner, and being thin was by far the most important goal.  I know many women among you will understand, and some men too.  Disgust for my own body was reason enough for me to try such a senseless action, and success in making a newer, thinner body was enough to maintain it.

I overdid in school as an adult.  I have spoken of this before:  In my first year of graduate studies, I tried for a prize for the highest grade point average, but my schoolwork had to be done two weeks before the end of school.  I stayed up late, I read a dozen books, I probably wrote 60 or 70 pages of final papers, twenty or so at a time.  I worked like I ‘d never worked before.  And I won the prize — $75.  I couldn’t wait to tell my parents about my success; my Mom’s reaction was, “I hope you didn’t do that for us.”  Of course I had done it for her.  I’d been taught as a child and a teenager that less-than-perfect grades were unacceptable.  Recently, Mom and I have had a good laugh about that contest.

In the 1980s, I overdid along with the fashion industry.

1980s Fashion Icon Madonna (Picture courtesy of Google Images)

I did the big hair, (hairspray, brush, hairspray, brush, hairspray — on and on.)  I did the clothes, and loved them, too.  I lived far, far beyond my means financially; during that time, I accrued debts that I still owe.  Everything was too much, too much, too much.

The 90s were more of the same, except that I married my beer-drinking, pot-smoking third husband, and I tried to keep up with him smoking dope.  When I finally smartened up and left, I moved 1600 miles away to stop those excesses.

In the late 90s and the 00s, my body did most the overdoing, although my depression also had a large impact on my physical symptoms.  Finally, though, by the end of that decade, I finally recognized my lack of boundaries.  I began to set boundaries, but I never succeeded completely until last year, when I took an enormous step in the right direction.

I am far less prone to excess now, because I am happy.  Except in the number of posts I publish every day — I think I’m still a little out-of-control about that — I am enjoying living a simpler life, with far fewer incidents of overstepping boundaries.  And I am living in peace, for the first time in my life; I no longer need to hide from my fears.


7 responses to “Overdoing

  1. Pingback: More about Overdoing | Diabetic Redemption

  2. Somehow I always was kind of laid back. Not too driven, yet not always accomplishing what I should have as tween & teen. Recognizing this in my 20’s was huge. My issue was perfection.

    Good self awareness anytime is welcome.

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