A little less of a superhero

by Anna Blanch on October 19, 2011

For the first two and a bit decades of my life I ran roughshod over myself. Tired or not, sick or not. If i had things to do, they got done. If this involved sport or some other punishing physical endeavour then all the better. It was not unusual for me to play a game of cricket, travel to an away swimming carnival, run 5 to 10k in training for cross-country, and play or umpire a couple of games of netball in the same weekend. I was constantly multi-tasking and was pretty much always engrossed on school work or a book. My family values productivity and a work ethic that finishes projects well. I was a ball of energy that nothing could get in the way of. Joining the army only exacerbated this natural inclination. I used to marvel at what I could get done in 5 minutes, or in a day, when push came to shove. I pushed myself hard, physically, psychologically, intellectually. It seemed fine. I learned my limits and they far exceeded my expectations.

I even earned myself an accompanying nickname ‘superanna.’

But to what end?

I used to put it down to a lesson i’d been taught as a swimmer. When you’re swimming competitively you’re taught to swim ‘through the wall’ – that is, not to glide up to it, but be powerful and the wall will stop you. The image is always one, though of swimming through it.

Overachiever is probably word that could be used to describe me. Self-motivated certainly was.

But is the purpose of life. Is it really ‘higher, faster, stronger’?

maybe. maybe not.

I often say that life is about choices. But sometimes choices are made for you.

Life came crashing down around me. The house of cards I built that relied upon extreme physical fitness and a mind that was prepared to push beyond the barriers anyone else thought sane came crashing down and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. I thought I was a failure for a little while.

I certainly understand how superheros feel when their powers are taken away from them.

A few years down the track and some of my superpowers are back. That in and of itself is — and i don’t used the word lightly — a miracle. They are back, but not in the same way, and there’s definitely kryptonite and other forces that can strike me down to deal with and to be careful of.

Now. Now, i like to think I’m a little wiser. Now, I’m learning to listen to my body.

I’m learning how to say ‘no’. After this summer I’m learning to really listen to how tired I am and how much sleep I need. I’m learning that my worth is not in the responsibilities I have. I’m learning how to relax a little more and not be so hard a task master on myself.

I don’t have to save the world…..at least not every day.

Today for instance has started slow. But, i’ve learned to be okay with that. Because I know what the purpose of my life is…and it isn’t about how much I get done. My purpose is to (glorify and) enjoy my God, to love my neighbour and to serve others with my gifts and talents. That’s it. It’s that simple.

Well, maybe not simple. But that’s what governs my choices.

I’m a little less of a superhero, but i’m more human because of it. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Life: UnmaskedThis challenge and invitation from Joy in conjunction with post I wrote about “getting real” prompted my involvement with This Life: Unmasked.

This is my sixth post for the challenge. Here is my first: Life: UnMasked, my second, Ready or Not and my third, Is the Heart Home?, and my fourth, Like Fireflies in the Night and Swallows in the morning, and my fifth, This is a Choice.

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  • @drgeorgemorley

    This is a brave post, and I'm really glad to read it. I think these are hard lessons to learn and live by. All power to your elbow!

    • http://goannatree.blogspot.com Goannatree

      to my elbow? I'm confused. Thanks very much for your kind comment nontheless!

  • @drgeorgemorley

    "all power to your elbow"… nice old-fashioned encouragement for vigorous physical chore – scrubbing the front step, boiling the laundry etc. And in my lexicon a handy catch-all to avoid naff Christian-speak while offering encouragement, mutual solidarity, etc! How about, "Go, girl… in a balanced and mellow way!"….?!

    • http://goannatree.blogspot.com Goannatree

      i like it. i like it alot. I just learned something new! thanks.

  • knit4him

    I struggle with this, too. Our favorite line to quote or rather paraphrase in our house from Superman is "You're not a super(woman) you know." I know – but still try. Thanks for sharing today!

  • http://www.joyinthisjourney.com Joy

    I can relate to much of this, though I was never extremely fit. I could multi-task with the best and accomplish so much. And then all of a sudden, I couldn't any more. I'm learning to relax and not find my worth in the things I do but in who I am in God.

  • Pingback: Just another day… — Goannatree()

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