Starting Over

Don’t call it a comeback…

I’ve started going to the gym before work again.  On Monday when my alarm went off I immediately turned it off, rolled over, and went right back to sleep…just as I had done the last two weeks.  But after 5 minutes of laying there I knew I had to get up and go.  And I actually did.  I was so proud of myself for getting up on Monday that I was able to easily rise out of bed today.  Fingers are crossed for tomorrow and the rest of the week.

I’d forgotten how much better I felt during the day when I worked out in the morning. I feel calmer (though it’s probably just that I’m tired) and more focused.  I’m able to tone my anxiety down quicker and compartmentalize better (This is a school worry.  You are home with the kids.  Stop thinking about this).  And this is just after 2 days.

But 2 days seems to be the most I can do these days.  Usually by day 3 I convince myself I need a “break” and the one morning off turns into a week or more.

It’s amazing how much easier it was to work out when I was unhappy.  When it was hard to be at home or spend time with Mike I would always find time to take a break at the gym.  When my dad died and I spiraled into my summer of self destruction, running was the thing that was able to pull my back to the surface long enough to take a breath.

But now, bed and home are my safety nets.  I like being here.  It’s cozy and warm and far away from the anxieties of a bad marriage and an overly stressful job.  It’s hard to get up and go.  It’s hard to leave the place where I feel the safest.

But I’ve done it twice this week.  I managed to get myself up and go, even when I did it alone.  So I can do it again, I know I can.

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The Best Intentions

“Good intentions never change anything.  They only become a deeper and deeper rut.” ~Joyce Meyer

I’ve just turned 34 and I’m no better at this than I was at 24.  I make lists.  I make plans.  I identify things that need changing.  I’m proud of myself.  I’m able to take the first step.  Sometimes I’m even able to take the second step. I stick with it, for a day, maybe a week.

And then nothing.

I don’t know what it is.  I decided just one day off is ok.  I decide I need a break. I decide, for whatever arbitrary reason, that I deserve a break. Or I lose my cool. Or I break my promise.  And my one day turns into two, or three, and then, inevitably forever.

Why is it sometimes I can do it and sometimes I can’t?  Where in my brain is the motivation cortex?  The place that is supposed to help me keep going and reach my goals even when I want to quit.

I could blame the pregnancy right now and it would be so easy.  I’m exhausted and uncomfortable and will be for the next 2 months.  But that would be taking the easy way out because in reality, I was like this long before I became pregnant and long before I had two rambunctious boys to take care of.  I feel like I’ve always been of the “lazier” variety, of the “blame everyone but me” variety, of the “let’s make excuses” variety.  And as much as I make the conscious effort NOT  be like this, I always end up right back here at the starting line.

But I can’t stop, right?  As I do at the beginning of every month I have to believe that this month will be different, that this is the month where everything will finally stick and I will emerge victorious and transformed.  No more excuses.

The first step, no matter how many times you have taken it in the past, is always the hardest.

Until we meet again…

“You shouldn’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself. Every so often, everyone needs to give themselves a big ol’ bear hug and treat themselves to some TLC.” ~Sean Covey

I feel like this every year, at least once, but especially around this time.  The crushing feeling of being overwhelmed by the shear force of life.  I’d like to think that it’s simply because of crunch time at work.  I’d like to think it’s just because of the amount of money needed to sustain a family through the holidays.  I’d like to think it’s the looming deadline of baby 3 approaching quicker than I can prepare.  I’d like to think that it’s the idea of endings and beginnings coming in a few short weeks.

I’d like to think it’s just one of these things.  But in reality it’s all of them…happening at the exact same time.

I tend to have problems feeling overwhelmed.  I can’t even go to places like Target during busy times because I immediately just want to shut down and get completely exhausted at the thought.  I wish I handled stress better.  I wish in the almost 34 years I have been alive, I would understand what to do in these situations, before they even get overwhelming.

I feel like I’ve lost my way.  I’ve been yelling way too much, trying to escape way too much, instead of getting to the root of why I feel this way and actually doing something about it.   I haven’t been that nice to my family. I’ve haven’t been that nice to my friends.  I haven’t been that nice to myself.  I simply haven’t been the person that I want to be, the person I know I can be.

I’m caught up, once again, with the feelings of inadequacy, longing, and simply “keeping up” with those around me instead of living my life in the simple way, with the simple moments that I crave so much.

It’s time to take a break, from all the competition, the Facebook syndromes, the constant need to be the best.  It’s time to refocus on the important things.  As I tell my students, I need to “worry about me” instead of constantly worrying about what is going on around me.

I need to stop thinking that if I’m not constantly “connected” that I am going to miss something important.  It’s because I’m so overly connected that I actually AM missing the important things that are going on all around me.

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The Great Balancing Act

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” ~Jim Rohn

I feel like a failure of infinite proportion lately. I am having trouble achieving balance in my life. It feels like if I am doing well in one area, another one begins to suffer and I’m not quite sure how to handle this.

Things seem to be going pretty well at work. My students are learning, my planning is always completed on time, and I have been receiving accolades from the people from “above” who have come in to watch me teach. But I have also been spending way to much time on these items. Planning has been taking place at school, yes, but also on the week-end and during the week, much to the chagrin of my family, and even me.

It seems that the reason things are going so well and I am doing so well, is because I am putting all my time and effort into it, which would be fine if I were not a mother and a wife and also did not have outside-work goals of my own. At what point did I begin to sacrifice my happiness and my family’s happiness for doing a great job at work?

The truth, that by the time I put all that effort into the work items, I have no more effort to give the people around me, the people I truly care about. I become short-tempered, short-fused, irritable and down-right mean, which is of no fault of anyone’s but me.

When was the last time I worked on an art project with my two little ones? Or built a pillow fort? Or made some weird looking house out of legos? I can’t even begin to tell you. Because when I’m home it becomes about packing lunches, making dinner, cleaning, or simply doing more school work because, somehow, the 10 hours I already gave the place isn’t enough.

And don’t even get my started on the last time I went for a run when it wasn’t dark out, or the last time I read a book, or even the last time I went and just enjoyed dinner with a friend. I can’t even remember when those last happened. Those seem like luxuries I can no longer afford. And I can’t tell you what my son’s homework was from last night because I didn’t have time to help him with it, dad did. I can’t even tell you what my kids are asking for for Christmas this year. Though I can tell you the last work e-mail I wrote, and I can tell you the last spill I cleaned, and I can tell you the last television show I turned on for the littles while I tried to get these things done.

And really, if I’m being super honest, I put all of this pressure on myself EVERY SINGLE DAY. I feel that if I’m not doing all these things someone is going to get mad at me, or rate me unfavorably, or simply (totally egotistical right here) outshine me. The sad part isn’t that I care about these things. The sad part is that I care so much I’m letting other, more important things, slip by the wayside.

I spent almost the entire weekend worried about a field trip we are taking on Tuesday. Worried that certain parents are going to get mad their kids aren’t going (even though THEY didn’t pay after the 15 notes I sent home), worried about what we are doing with the kids who aren’t going (which teacher is staying back?), worried about an upcoming observation that has yet to be scheduled…I worried so much that I missed out on truly enjoying my weekend.

It’s hard to tell myself that it’s ok to step back and take a moment. I KNOW deep down inside that I will still do a great job even if I don’t spend every waking hour on worrying about school and completing school related tasks. Everything will still get done. I KNOW this. But yet, I still don’t do it.

I didn’t run this week-end, I told myself, because I wanted to get the house cleaned, spend quality time with the kids, focus on family. Well, I didn’t run, but the house is still a mess, the kids are napping, and I binge-watched Netflix the other morning since they were at the grandparents.

I feel like I have these great ideas and great plans on ways to get my life back to how I truly want it to be. Yet, I do nothing about them. Planning and doing are two separate things I don’t seem to have the energy or the attitude for the one that actually takes an effort.

I need to be OK with not being perfect or the best. I need to be ok with a messy house if everyone is happy. I need to stop putting everyone else in front of my family and myself.

I need to stop. I need to breathe. I need to listen.

And then…I need to act.

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