It’s a strange morning. I’ve been pedaling hard for weeks. Sometimes when you’re working this hard, it’s because you’ve got your eye on the prize. You’re going somewhere in a hurry. Working towards a specific goal puts a fire in your belly and you go go go.
But there are other times when you work just as hard not because you’re working towards something — but because you’re afraid. You worry that if you stop moving, it means you’ll stop treading water. And because of this you’ll sink like a stone to the bottom.
Both ambition and fear can cause a person to run — and run quickly.
I’d been moving rather quickly lately. And I never really stopped and asked myself why. Never asked myself if my motivation were ambition or fear. I just went. Because it was probably equal parts both.
And it’s not like they’re mutually exclusive anyway, ambition and fear. Ambition often has an edge of fear on it, the worry that you’ll run out of time before you achieve everything you set out to. And the feeling that you have to work harder than other people, make something of yourself — well, it can come from believing that you aren’t anything until you make yourself something. A deep sense of insecurity.
I’ve been moving quickly the past month. Hadn’t taken a day off for a while, let alone two. Until the past few days, when I was leveled with a bad migraine. I lost my ability to speak and to see. Taking the abortive medicine (triptans) helped hold the scarier symptoms at bay, but they do drain my energy and make me hurt all over my body. It’s a bit like being hungover.
I slept for most of two days and finally woke up this morning migraine-free. The temptation now is to jump right back in. Because part of me is hyperaware that I could get sick again at any time (whether from migraine or something else), and I need to get as much work as possible done before that happens.
I want to pedal hard again. I do.
But I know that the safer course of action is to wade my way in slowly, cautiously, making sure I’m ready to go back in before I get too far from shore.