Angst of an Overachiever

I recently returned from a seven-day journey to Baja with plans to revive, renew, and detox at a fabulous physical and spiritual wellness center south of the border. I also went there to rid myself of pounds gained during COVID, and to get back on track toward a healthier lifestyle – or so I thought.

I had planned on experiencing a luxurious spa and fabulously healthy food in 5-star accommodations overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I got all of that, and ohhhh so much more! What I had not anticipated was to be turned upside down and inside out by a cadre of some of the most respected medical practitioners in Mexico as they gently extracted tidbits and probed their way through mind body and soul. To describe it as a life-changing experience would be grossly underestimating the experience.

These clever practitioners dug into my psyche to see what drives me, a former homeless kid and high school dropout, to set seemingly unattainable goals in my “sunset” age.  I told them that other than a few blips in the road, I was in control and living a pretty normal life for a human. They made it very clear I was certainly not.

Throughout my life, I have imposed impossible milestones for myself, setting a frenetic pace over a lifetime of clawing my way to success. I went from childhood abuse survivor to dancer/ model/ entertainer, to mom of a most special child, all with a single-minded mission to not be that unfortunate kid of the past. Instead, I would be an exceptional human and change the world for the better while I was in it. Piece of cake.

Yes, I raised hundreds of millions for disability causes, laid my soul bare to write a personal memoir of my journey, became a speaker and author, left a beloved organization after 40 years of building it into the finest of its kind, and held a broken heart together after losing my beautiful son Christopher.

With a stiff upper lip, shoulders back, and head held up, as my British heritage demands, I had made lemonade, as they say. I became a nonprofit consultant, wrote another book, and created the Christopher Smith Foundation, a Caregiver organization to celebrate his amazing life. And, I took on important causes across the US, helping them to dream big, as they should.

When most people at my age would be dipping toes in azure seas, I am still running full tilt on a quest to make the world better for people who need help.

Back to the retreat; at its conclusion, I met with the professionals who had come together to discuss as one, how to fix this crazy woman who thinks she isn’t malfunctioning.

And so…I am following their advice, I have slowed down a tad, paused to reflect on all the fabulous and exciting years and all the amazingly good and kind people I have met on my journey so far, and I have given myself grace and a massive hug.  I am stopping to smell the roses, getting up at 5 a.m. to walk, stretch and reflect. I will love and live more, and most important, remind myself every day that it’s what’s in the heart and soul that really counts.

Oh yes….and losing those pounds of course!