You know those lessons you think you’ll never have to learn the hard way?
That somehow you are just beyond that experience and it will never catch up to you?
And then you get hit upside the head?
Like when you’re seven and convinced you’ve made your best friend for life… and then they move to Nebraska.
Or you’re twenty and think you’re invincible… and then you break your leg on the first day of vacation.
Or maybe you’re twenty-six and think you can keep working the extended hours you have been, manage a final year of grad classes, maintain the mileage you’ve been running, travel on the weekends, AND grow a human… and be just fine. And then all of a sudden it’s a Tuesday night and you are so exhausted you feel physically sick. And finally, bitterly, tearfully, you admit that you are, in fact, not superwoman.
This was my Tuesday night. And after a fretful session of weighing the pros and cons, I ended up taking a sick day on Wednesday.
But why was it so difficult for me to come to terms with taking that day?
I didn’t have any meetings on the calendar. For about the first time in three months I felt like I was caught up on all of my projects. I knew I was going to check in with emails and projects throughout the day. It was seemingly the perfect day to take. But I still hated picking up the phone and making that call, because I did not want to seem like I was not committed to my job.
Two years ago I drank the Lean In juice. I am a feminist and I’m thrilled about the strides women have made and continue to make in advocating for ourselves and for one another. We are ready to encourage one another and push each other to reach our goals. And it’s excellent.
But what about when we need to take a breather?
Our voices seem to fall flat when it comes time to admit that maybe, for a moment, or a day, or longer, we don’t have it all together. We are so busy trying to prove that we are devoted to our careers, families, causes, and hobbies that we perpetuate this around-the-clock, back-breaking cycle.
The support women provide to each other when we’re leaning in, should also be offered when we need to take a step back.
More importantly, we need to give ourselves the permission to take that step back, so we can be at our best when we are leaning in.
Sometimes, you might not be able to keep all the plates spinning. Sometimes you need to take a break. And that’s OK. You are not any less accomplished, driven, or devoted if you do.