One aspect of my personality I can never avoid is the fact I become quite ‘addicted’ to things. I don’t mean that in a very bad alcohol / drug sense, rather that when I get in to something, I tend to get a bit hooked on it. Most recently, it’s work: I start getting in to things and despite the stress I sometimes feel, there is a part of me which still wants to keep going when I get home – it’s more the feeling of getting things done often rather than the work itself. (I would like to add here that I don’t keep going when I get home – the company I work for is not that kind of company and I still have some will power!) Other times it is rowing that reels me in – once I get in to my training, I want to keep training harder and harder to see what I can achieve. These are just two examples (cooking more, keeping the house neater, doing more DIY, practising my Spanish more and seeing friends and family more often are others) and the problem is, it isn’t possibly to do all of these things to the extent I want all at the same time. It’s not even possible to do more than two or three of them! The more I train, the more I need to sleep so the less I can work and see family, or the more I work the less time I have to train – vicious circles!
So, it got me thinking about the people I know and I think these obsessive and compulsive personalities are more common than we might realise. I look at so many people at work who are driven to work more and accomplish more. Then I look at the people I know at rowing, many of whom train 5 – 6 times a week as well as having jobs and families. The thing is, how many people do it because they want to, or because they feel compelled to. What I mean by that is, how many people work longer hours and often in the evenings because they genuinely take pleasure from it. Or is it because they want to be seen to accomplish more? How many people at rowing train more and more because, even though they will never get where they desire to be, they just daren’t see their name slip down a score list. Neither of these things are bad, if you do them for the right reasons, but sometimes I fear people don’t.
Knowing what I am like, as I get older (and hopefully slightly wiser) I try to keep myself in check. When I am on top of everything, I work as hard as I like, I train as hard as I like and I do whatever else I want / need to do. But, when it starts getting on top of me, I often find myself continuing at the same pace because it’s what I expect of myself and believe people expect of me. Perhaps that is true, but if you already push yourself quite hard, there is always some room for slack. So, when times get tough and I feel like the ‘addiction’ is turning sour, I drag myself home or let myself have a night off training. Because, quite honestly, there is enough in life to cause you stress without piling more on yourself! With that in mind, tomorrow I have a day off to, quite frankly, do whatever on earth I want!