I like how my friend “Juan” puts it. There’s a reason you get sick. Some negative energy or stress in your life is rearing its ugly head. This makes you sick. Or, better, when you are stressed, your body is busy dealing with that. Your defenses are down. And, you get sick. And believe me I am sick. I’ll spare you the gory details of my sinus and ear infection…it’s not pretty. But, it got me thinking about how I have always done this. I always get sick when I get stressed.
Normally, I have this natural tension valve that automatically shuts off at the first sign of too much stress. I just quit. Stop working. My college roommate Chris knows exactly what I am talking about. He loves to tell stories about how we would both be working on “important” papers; and, at about 11:00 pm the night before it was due I would be in bed with the paper done…or not. Actually, as he puts it, I would start to yawn and stretch and whine and end up asleep in bed while he stayed up until 5:00 am finishing his paper. I cannot tell you how many papers never were finished because of this tension shut-off valve. It’s a miracle I ever graduated from college. And, I’m not sure who’s more amazed…me or Chris.
I’ve already told the story of how, when I was in 1st grade, I just froze and “shut off” when the stress of writing my letter to Santa got to be too much. (read “I’m Special”) But, another time comes to mind. When I was a kid, I was dragged to every sporting event in Pleasantville, Iowa. And, believe it or not there was a time when I actually “played” in sports. In third grade, I was signed up for little league baseball. It lasted… until the stress of playing got to be too much. I think somewhere in the Clark family photo archives there is probably a picture of me sitting in the outfield picking dandelions right below a sign that read “Winners Never Quit and Quitters Never Win!!!” Obviously, the sign had no affect on me whatsoever. Clearly, baseball was just too stressful.
Two years later I walked off the court in the middle of a little league basketball game because the coaches wanted to play “shirts vs. skins.” This meant I would have to take off my shirt. And, this definitely qualified as a too much stress moment. That was it, no more little league basketball for Tyler. (An interesting side note: one of my few other encounters with basketball occurred in junior high. I was asked to video tape the high school girls varsity team’s games. This lasted only because it meant I could travel–my first step into the travel industry–to other sprawling cites like Prairie City, Eddyville…you get the idea. Also, it was an opportunity to be artistic, which I know was appreciated by the basketball girls.)
When I am done…I am done. Finished. I couldn’t go any further if I tried. Unfortunately, in my adulthood I have learned to bypass my stress threshold. And, when I do that, I get sick. This whole decision process pushed me beyond what my body could handle. (read “It’s hot as hell up in here“) The biggest reason I didn’t decide to take the job was that it was going to be too stressful. I really believe I made the right decision. And, now I am done.