Pain in the Neck

I woke up this morning and my body hurts slightly less than yesterday. Yesterday, my neck and shoulders hurt so bad that I thought a body part was going to snap off. It's hard to be in a "good mood" when your body hurts... and mine hurts a lot.

People always ask me, "Why does your body hurt so much? You are in good shape. You exercise regularly. You get 8 hours of sleep. What makes it hurt so badly?"

I don't know. It could be age-related. It could be arthritis. It could be competitive tennis. But I have to admit, I think this started in college.

I knew it was tension then. I was putting all this pressure on myself to get straight A's. That kind of pressure results in everything BUT straight As. Lots of B's and a handful of C's. When you are trying that hard, nothing flows. I thought when I get out of college, it will be better.

Not exactly.

I went from being in college to a secretarial desk job. I was glued to a chair answering phones and typing. Occasionally getting up to get someone a cup of coffee or copying papers. I thought to myself, "When I get promoted from the desk, I will be able to comfortably sit on a sofa and do my work (mostly reading) from there."

It took several years to get "off the desk," but then I just landed on another desk. The next desk was in my own office, but it was too small of an office to accommodate a sofa. So I thought, "When I get promoted, I will have a bigger office and THEN I will have a sofa that I can sit comfortably and do my work."

Eventually, I got promoted. My office got bigger and I had a sofa! But if someone walked by my office and I was on the sofa, it looked like I wasn't working (even if I was.) I suppose I could have closed my door, but the phone was always ringing, so I had to be at my desk. Then came computers and email and you could never be away from your desk.

My neck and back ached chronically from sitting hunching over reading. But it wasn't the desk, it was the stress. I was anxious to get through the volume of material, troubleshoot the politics of corporate life, and always trying to be on top of all that needed to be accomplished every day.

I thought to myself, "One day I will work for myself! I will have a comfy chair to read in, and I won't be a prisoner to the volume of material that I have to get through each day. I will be my own boss and won't have the constant fear of making a mistake, falling behind, saying the wrong thing or just being called out because my boss was in a bad mood and needed to blame someone for something."

But now I work for myself. I no longer have a corporate job. I can now work from the sofa...

But I don't.

I still work from a desk. More specifically, my daughter's high school desk that I took over when she went off to college years ago.

My neck, back, and shoulders still ache, but I am starting to think, it might not be the desk, the job or the work.

I am always searching for a solution. I spent years going to chiropractors, acupuncturists, taking vitamins, stretching, pilates, massage, and exercise. They all worked giving me a few minutes of relief, but nothing long term.

So now I work less, play more, meditate, do yoga, play tennis, eat healthily and limit all stimulants. You know how much that helps? Only a little.

The common denominator is me. I was born this way. Hardwired. It is my brain chemistry that is sending information to my muscles to tighten up like a drum, so I perpetually feel like there are knots in my neck, back, and shoulders.

What I probably need is an elephant tranquilizer, but I have no interest in being tired. I like my energy. I just want to have my energy without feeling like my muscles are constricted like they've been shrunken and dried up like driftwood... ready to snap.

This must be where the expression "pain in the neck" comes from. I suppose I should be grateful because the other expression "pain in the ass" would be worse. Although, I feel like my pain in the neck makes me a pain in the ass.

Meanwhile, my youngest daughter, just shy of becoming a teenager, who has spent the last few weeks of summer vacation sleeping until Noon and spending all day on her iPhone in bed. I am not exaggerating. I mean ALL day. She's not talking or texting on her phone. She simply watches Netflix, plays games, reads fan fiction, draws, looks at Instagram and reads "Top 10 lists" on Buzzfeed.

I am afraid that she will fall into an abyss of becoming a social recluse and losing interest in activities and all that life has to offer. But then I look at myself and say even if you follow all the rules, get an education, get a job, get married, have children, have a career, become successful, save money, move to paradise, eat well, exercise and get 8 hours of sleep every night, you might still wake up wondering why you feel stressed.

But the irony is that my pre-teen is REALLY happy laying in bed all day and sleeping 14 hours. Maybe I should take a page out of her book. Maybe I should take a week off, lay in bed all day, watch Netflix and play games on my phone.

If only someone would do my laundry, grocery shopping, take the dog out, make dinner, do the dishes, pay the bills and organize my life.