80 minutes

A few months ago I was experiencing a lot of discomfort in my back. I’d come through a rather demanding period that had been hard on my body in a number of ways. I’d fought off a cold, had a kiddo who hadn’t been sleeping well, I’d upped my time at the gym, and I’d been traveling. Between all of that and managing life in between, the stress and movement felt like it had solidified in the muscles in my back and neck. Sitting at my computer on a Wednesday afternoon with a bit of time before I had to go pick up my little one, the thought occurred to me, “I need a massage!” 

I called up my favorite place near my house and patiently waited through the recorded customer service greeting. Excited at the prospect of relaxation, I asked if they might miraculously have any openings for an 80-minute massage in the next few days. The silence dragged on longer than I was hoping for. Finally the gal on the other end of the line said, “I can get you in Saturday for a 50-minute massage.” That sure burst my little bubble of anticipatory massage relaxation. Based on how my body was feeling, that was definitely not going to be enough. She dug through the calendar after I somewhat begrudgingly agreed to the 50-minute session on Saturday, and then said, “Oh! We do have an 80-minute opening with a new therapist Sunday morning if you can come in first thing.” Heck yeah I could come in first thing! 

Then she asked a question that gave me pause – did I want to cancel the 50-minute session on Saturday since I was going to be scheduling the Sunday morning appointment? 

I thought about it and noticed the thoughts pinging around my head. Isn’t one massage enough? Who gets two massages on back-to-back days? Isn’t that greedy? I should just cancel the shorter one and keep this one. 

And then it occurred to me- I didn’t get to feeling this way in only 80 minutes. It had been a long time coming and a lot of different situations had occurred that got me to my current state. Why would I think that LESS bodywork would be what I needed? I asked her to keep both sessions and hung up the phone, feeling proud of myself and still wondering if I should feel cringier than I did about it. 

Saturday’s appointment came and went, and the front desk staff asked if I wanted to book another one while I was there. I leaned in conspiratorially and half-whispered, “Nope! I’m coming in tomorrow, too!” Instead of judgy eyebrows or pursed lips, she burst into a huge smile and said “That’s amazing! Good for you! That’s going to feel so good.”

Now, I didn’t need front desk Sally’s affirmation, but it did feel good. I walked out of there proud of myself for taking care of my body and asking for what I needed and wanting to help myself feel better. 

In a lot of my women’s leadership groups, we talk about the concept of “enough” and how often we get tripped up or hold ourselves back when we think something we are asking for might be too much or when we as humans might be seen as too much. The problem with this is there’s no objective definition of what any of this means! Who actually knows what enough is for someone? What actually is too much for someone? 

All I know is that my back didn’t start feeling that way in only 80 minutes, and it didn’t feel right to me to only give myself 50 or even 80 minutes to help it feel better. Too much? Enough? When I define this for myself, I would say I was spot on. 

- Nicole



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