Auckland, New Zealand

June 11, 2017

Health and Baby Goats

Sunday has rolled around again, and it's been a week since my "embrace discomfort" self-call to action.

So, how'd I do? Not great, actually!

Instead, I sort of hit a wall and a bit of a breaking point in this adjustment in my all-new life. The first couple of days of last week weren't pretty, and instead of going after discomfort and trying to grow, I switched it up, and decided to do less, and focus on my health.

Growing up in the US, my cultural inclination on health - both mental and physical - defaults to "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." American culture is reactive in terms of health - in general, we see doctors and therapists when something's really wrong, instead of viewing them as a proactive tool where a little bit of focus and effort when things are going well can prevent or reduce the future bad stuff.

Observing cultural attitudes toward health as I traveled gave me a lot of food for thought, and in the past few years, I've tried to be more proactive and less reactive in my health. I eat well, exercise often, and am able to keep a pretty healthy work/life balance.

But I've had a blind spot - and a big one - since moving to New Zealand. My emotional health.

I'm a person who tends to react to emotional problems by digging in, understanding and empathizing with the underlying causes, and working tirelessly until they're fixed. It's a pretty solid strategy for normal-sized issues. But it's overmatched when the underlying stuff is big (like, say, figuring out all the relationship dynamics, negotiating life and work in a new culture, finding a new sense of home, and re-building a social circle, in the span of a couple months.)

In those bigger situations, eventually, I just run out of reserves, and things start to fall apart.

I've remembered that our emotions, just like our physical muscles, have limits - and when they're worn out, they just need some rest, some recharge, and some videos of baby goats sproinging.

So this past week, that's what I've done. I haven't solved my visa, my long-term goals, the exact future path for Ink and Feet, the new business, the social life here, professional networks, or even the other leaky pipe under the house.

I've just taken that time and energy and put it toward being healthy.

And it's really worked. None of the underlying challenges of an upside-down life are any different. But I'm more capable of looking around, breathing, and having hope despite the messiness. And that little bit of health, I think, is what's really going to make the difference. :)

So here's to our health this week, and to all things you do to keep your head, heart, body, and spirit humming.

Have a wonderful week,

-Steven

p.s. The best thing I saw all week was this thought-provoking reaction to the push-back on the Fearless Girl statue that appeared on Wall Street a few months ago. I love that it leaves us, as art often should, a bit complicated. :)

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