I was vacuuming near our Christmas tree when I bumped a branch and a pine needle punctured the tip of my thumb. It hurt for a brief moment as I wiped away the blood, but then I ignored it and continued vacuuming. Sometime later I noticed my thumb bleeding again, so I took a washcloth, cleaned it up, and finished my chores.
The following day, because of where the cut was located, I kept bumping it while I worked. It was hard to keep a Band-Aid on it, so each time I hit it, the cut grew. Finally, because it kept getting worse, I went to the medicine cabinet and found a butterfly Band-Aid – the kind that keeps a wound closed, and put it on my thumb. It stayed securely in place and in a few days, the wound healed.
For some reason, this incident stayed with me all week. I kept wondering why it took me so long to tend to the cut properly. I knew when it happened that the location of the puncture would make it vulnerable to further injury. And I actually thought about getting a butterfly Band-Aid. But I was in the middle of a project feeling industrious, and I wanted to finish what I started. So, I ignored the wound and allowed it to grow.
I often joke that in my wisdom years, my suck-it-up muscles have gone slack and that I can no longer push myself to get a job done at any cost. But you know what they say about old habits.
Ah life, a daily growth opportunity 😀.
Just last night, after settling into bed, I noticed my mouth was dry and I felt thirsty. I told myself I’d be asleep in no time and that I didn’t need to drink liquids before bed. But then I remembered my thumb. I got up, chose a favorite cut crystal glass from the cupboard, filled it with cucumber water that I had in the fridge, and went back to bed. I placed the glass on the nightstand after a good long drink and went to sleep.
Who do you think you are to not treat yourself well, I said to myself as I closed my eyes and snuggled under the covers. My small act of self-kindness made me smile as I drifted off.
“Every inch a Queen,” Marion Woodman, the Jungian analyst used to say when she caught herself neglecting her needs. She taught me a lot about self-care in the wisdom years and this week’s little incident was an important reminder. Tiny acts of self-care add up. And how we handle the little things will determine how we handle the big things later on.
P.S. –My new audiobook, Self Care for the Wisdom Years, is now available from Sounds True. You can find it, here.