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Respect – what it means to me

Every year as we get older we tend to shy away from birthdays, acting as though they are less important than our more youthful days. I don’t believe this to be true, as I believe that they become more important now that we have the wisdom to prioritize how to spend our time and appreciate the people around us. As I approach my next birthday (March 25), I found myself wondering what I wanted for my gift. Despite getting older, I am still big into birthdays, and any celebration for that matter. The last year of my life was a good one, but it is life and it treated me to some ups and downs. My husband had lost his job, and I had gotten an exciting new opportunity to rejoin the HCA family. Truthfully, I wanted a money tree and the gift of stability. One of those is impossible, but I have yet to find out which one exactly.

However, one thing was fully in my control: my personal habits.  First off, I know the gyms have died down from the New Year’s resolution makers- but I wasn’t wanting to lose weight necessarily, or “tone up” per recommendations of Jillian Michaels. I simply wanted to respect myself more and to give myself the gift of health (mental and physical). Whether that meant stopping when I was full, NOT having that extra glass of wine, going for a walk, taking better care of my skin, or just knowing when not to spin my wheels on things that I couldn’t control in order to save myself the mental strife. After all, I am stuck with myself for quite a while.

Therefore, I have decided to “gift” myself the gift of a better lifestyle. Since this decision, I truly believe that I have made myself more positive to be around for others. I have stopped working promptly at 5 PM so that I could make chicken noodle soup for my sick husband, I went on a run (yes, only one- but I am not going to beat myself up over it), I have spent less money in the wine aisle, I have gotten multiple compliments on my skin, and the best one of all- my hair seems to be growing back after the holiday stress took its toll.

The blessing and the curse of this so-called gift is that I am the only one that can get it, or take it away. We are in the era of “who can do it all,” but I just want to know why we have to? Why put that pressure on myself when I can enjoy the things that I want to do? Less is more, right? I think specifically in the healthcare industry, there is a constant need to be “on” all the time- this in itself is doing it all!

My challenge to you, is to respect your body and mind more- give yourself a break from the things that we can’t control and give yourself the time to do what makes you your best self. What this means to me, may mean something very different to someone else, but that is just fine! We make hundreds of decisions each day, and most affect ourselves directly. Take a few moments and think how those decisions could be altered to give the same benefit, but to respect yourself more. I think you’ll be surprised how easily this will change the coming year, and the ones to follow.

By Jennifer Stuart

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