The first day of my freshman year had to be the scariest first day of my life. I had such fears of rambling around a new school and being late to every class. Even though I had the advantage of attending band camp and having an upperclassman show me around campus on a break, I was still terrified I would earn some awful nickname that first day of school because I couldn’t find the right classroom.

Halfway through the first day, I realized the classrooms were numbered in a specific pattern. Even if I was lost, if I walked fast, I could make it around the whole school before the tardy bell rang following the numbers. I was so grateful for those numbered signs outside the classrooms.

Now, when I visit a new facility, I’m always looking for the signs. Where are the bathrooms? Where is the first room I will need to be in for the conference? Where is the snack room? Where are all the exits?

But just like the signs we follow in facilities, there are also other signs we need to recognize, especially in relation to our bodies. I’ve recently discovered the wonderful sport of pickleball. If you know, you know. It’s been such a new, wonderful form of exercise and I’ve made some amazing friends as a result; but I’m an all or nothing kind of person and stopping when my body is done is very hard to do. The adrenaline pumps, the endorphins release, and I play just one more game. Then another. Then another. And I pay for it the next day.

Listening to my body is important and pushing it when it needs to stop is unwise. Learning moderation and balance is a difficult concept. Even in other areas like yard work, building projects, and community events, I see the signs that my body is done, but I push a little harder, a little longer.

Maybe it’s stubbornness, or maybe pride, but whatever it is, I’ve got to learn to stop and read the signs. I only get one shot at this life, and I need to take care the body I have as best as I can.

All of us have areas where we ignore the signs. Let’s do better this week and stop before we do damage that’s irreparable.

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