The Resolute Quitter

Someone once told me that to write I need to write about what I know. Luckily that’s all I know how to write about anyway.

In the past four years I’ve quit every thing I’ve started. You name it, I’ve attempted it…and then quit. Run streaks? I quit by week two. Running? I used to run 25 – 30 miles a week, and now I’m lucky if I even walk two. I’ve signed up (and wasted a LOT of money) on countless 5Ks, half marathons, and marathons only to quit about half way through…when I had decided that it got too hard. Being more environmental? I’m pretty sure I threw away a pile of paper yesterday instead of recycling it because the recycling was full and I just needed it out of my house. Hell, I’ve even quit my marriage. At this point the only thing I haven’t quit is my job, but I did switch schools so maybe that counts?

I wasn’t always this way. As a matter of fact, I used to be exactly the opposite. I would make a plan and resolutely stick with it, no matter the consequence or if it was the best decision in the long run. I was just that stubborn. I would see it through to the end even if it killed me. I used to think this was one of my biggest character flaws, but now I’m not so sure. The tenacity that would once push me over the finish line has now been replaced with apathy and indifference. I would do anything to get it back.

Maybe I’ve spent so much time quitting lately that it’s just what seems normal and comfortable now. I’m used to it. It’s familiar. It’s has the feeling of that soft, comfy shirt that is completely stained and threadbare. You need to throw it away. You want to throw it away. And yet, you can’t bring yourself to do it. As if parting with that one thing is going to increase your sadness even more than it already is.

Fear has become such a major part of my life over the past few years that it is literally ingrained in my soul. The fear of failure keeps me from making the big leaps. The fear of judgment keeps me from making the choices I know I need to make, the choices that are the best for me. Fear of retribution keeps me on my feet at all times…constantly looking over my shoulder and waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’ve spent so much of the last few years of my life being scared that I have barely lived at all. I’ve made so many goals and had so many things I want to accomplish which have all been brushed aside because of fear. And I don’t want to do that anymore.

If you know me at all, you know I love New Year’s. The blank slate, the new beginnings, the chance to start again all resonate with me on a deeply pure and spiritual level. I tend to make resolutions, grandiose goals, and big decisions all to have me eventually quit. I just can’t keep living my life like that anymore. I think this year I’m going to dump the resolutions. The changes I want to make within myself are big. Every single thing I want to change about myself I can control. And I don’t need resolutions or a New Year to do that. I can just do it. Plain and simple. It’s really that easy.

Of course, coming up with the idea to do something is the easy part. The hard part is the follow through…and that’s exactly what I plan to work on first.

The other day, as we were driving through the city on the way home, two runners crossed in front of our car. Joe’s immediate response was about how it was cold and they were outside running and that they were wearing shorts. It’s true, it was about 25 degrees…it was cold. But all I felt was the formidable tug of nostalgia. I remember thinking that I wish I was a runner. Or more clearly, I wish I was still a runner.

So you know what? I’m going to become one again.

The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things

Tis the season.  For families, and holidays, and presents, and cheer.  Like most, I love this time of year.  The chill in the air, the twinkle lights everywhere, the break from work and school (and many annoying responsibilities).  But I’d have to say, Christmas is not my favorite holiday.  If I had to pick one, it would definitely be New Years.
Honestly, I am big fan of New Years Resolutions.  While I agree that you can begin a resolution at any time and you should never wait to change something you truly believe in, there is something so wonderful about the year ticking over to a new new number. It’s almost as if New Years Day is a form baptism.  With the change of a number, the mistakes and regrets and uncomfortable feelings cease to exist, making it that much easier to start fresh and anew.  With the rip of a calendar page the whole world can begin again. You can set goals, make new decisions, basically become the person you have been waiting to become.
2015 has been a roller coaster of a year.  I don’t think any other year has accomplished so much amazingness and turmoil all at once.  From babies had, houses moved, friends gained and friends lost, races run and races quit, and love found and then rescinded, I’ve been undeniably busy and just living.
In so many ways I know who I am. I tend to have too many emotions and too often, the way I express them is over the top.  I cry too much, feel too much, love too hard, get jealous when I shouldn’t, and have a terrible temper. I’m loyal, but cautious.  I don’t always believe the best in people, and I’ve been proven right.  These are simply things I am not going to apologize for anymore.  I shouldn’t have to apologize for my feelings because they are real and a part of who I am, and the way I feel is important.
Very recently I’ve become more honest with myself which has allowed me to be more honest with those around me.  Often I would avoid conflict or confrontation at any cost simply because it made me uncomfortable.  But now, I’ve learned that the discomfort does go away and after speaking your mind openly and honestly, you feel so much better.  Just a few days ago I said good bye to a friend, not because of anything they did wrong, per se, but because the relationship we had built over the past 3 years was not working for me anymore.  I wanted a change and the other person didn’t.  And for three years I let someone elses wants and needs trump my own.  But not anymore.  Walking away was so hard.  But not as hard as staying in an unhealthy friendship.
Long story short, what I’m learning is that it’s ok to care about your own wants and needs…and to do what you have to do to meet them.
I’m allowed to try hard.  I’m allowed to be good at things. Hell, I’m allowed to be bad at things.  I’m allowed to love you too much and tell you about it.  I’m also allowed to tell you why you are hurting my feelings if you are.  I’m allowed to take a break from people who aren’t letting me be me and are constantly trying to put me down to make themselves feel better.  I’m allowed to be who I am, and if someone doesn’t like it, it’s their loss.  I actually think I’m pretty awesome sometimes.
I’m ready  to take some time in 2016 to focus on me, what I want, who I am and who I want to be.

The best laid plans…are sometimes better left undone.

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” ~Robert Burns

I’m a planner.  And we had plans.

The kids, for the first time in a month, were going to spend the night at the grandparents house.  We were going to make appetizers from Trader Joe’s, have a glass of wine, eat chocolate, and watch really crappy TV.  I doubt we would have made it to midnight to see the beginning of 2015, but I would have tried. And it would have been OK because there would have been no little feet padding towards me at 1:30 or 3:45 in the morning needing to go to the bathroom, or an extra hug and kiss, or needing a drink of water.

We had plans.  And like the many other times we made plans, they slowly imploded on themselves until none of the original plan was remotely intact.

After shipping everyone off and sitting down to binge watch crappy TV UNINTERRUPTED I received “The Call”.  The little one, who hadn’t been feeling so great lately, didn’t want to stay.  He just wanted to be home and snuggle with us.  My face and spirits fell and I immediately  began to cry (chalk it up to pregnancy hormones).  I was going to get to watch TV!  I was going to get uninterrupted sleep!  I was going to stay up past 10!

And then I stopped and really thought about the situation.  And guilt replaced my outrage and upset-ness.  My little one, who wouldn’t be my little one in 3 short months, wanted to stay home and snuggle with his mom.  Why in the world was I upset about this?  I admit that we have it rather easy on our end.  The kids spend an obscene amount of time with their grandparents giving us ample time off.  And here I was wanting more.

I had this whole post written in my head about how, while 2014 was very tough, it was also a year of growth.  I was going to write about how 2015 was going to trump last year, I was going to go harder, push more, and ultimately be fierce.  This was going to be MY year.  It was going to be all about ME and what I wanted to accomplish.

But as always, it’s the smallest things that lead us to see the errors in our ways.  I do need to improve, but not in the way I so desperately thought.  Instead of constantly needing to pick up new things, try new things, be new, I need to be better at the things I already am.  I need to be better at the things that are inevitable (not in a bad way).  I need to be better at the things that I already am: mother, wife, friend.

That’s not to say that I will not continue to make time for my running, that I won’t branch out and seek the unknown, but simply that I also need to pay attention to the now, be present in the moment, remember that each day is a gift.

I need to stop trying to go out and be extraordinary and “make” extraneous memories, when my everyday actions are creating memories of their own: reading a book with little O, going for a neighborhood jog with M, feeling Baby 3 kick every moment of the day.

I need to stop thinking “been there, done that” for these moments and realize that each experience, no matter how repetitive or mundane may not be that way for the littles or for others involved.

I need to start appreciating what I have a little bit more.


Maybe I’ve been doing it all wrong

““It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn’t matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.” ~Paulo Coelho

As much as I complain about being a public school teacher, there are some wonderful perks, such as my 12 days of winter break.  The first two days were very busy with last minute Christmas shopping, food shopping, house cleaning, getting ready for relatives and trying to give the little ones a semblance of calm in our chaotic days.

We always celebrate with our family during Christmas morning.  It starts at 7 and we gather for presents and breakfast.  It may seem early, but the benefit is that it is over by 10:30 leaving us the rest of the day to lounge in our pajamas, enjoy our new gadgets, and otherwise veg about.

Usually the days running together with no set schedule and nowhere to be cause me a great deal of anxiety.  When my days are less busy, my mind tends to wander and worry, reexamine and remember and these things are never a good combination.

What I found this year is that instead of he foreboding and anxiety I was greeted by an eerie feeling.  I felt calm and at peace almost as if so many of the weights I have been carrying around with me were lifted off and simply floated away.  I know that not having to go to work definitely made me happier, but it was more than this and I really wish I could do a better job of explaining it.

I feel as if the impending-ness of 2015 made me shed my 2014 skin.  Ill feelings I had were erased.  Worries that constantly plagued me, while still there, seemed less overwhelming and important.  For the first time in a long time, or maybe even in forever, I felt like everything was going to be ok; like everything is exactly as it should be.  I feel like I’ve truly let go of all of the baggage that has accumulated in the past few years.  I feel like these moments, regrets, fears, mistakes, will no longer rule my life and be a constant influence on the future decisions I make.

I’ve mentioned before how much I love New Years ( It’s this wonderfully magical time when you can just start over.  I’m not naive enough to think that the world actually resets itself or that you can’t simply start over any other day of the year, but something happens when you get close to a new year.  You can feel the difference, the change in the air, the realization that hope is on its way.

I am no longer the person I was when 2014 began, and I really couldn’t be happier with the changes that have occurred, but I think there’s more.  I’d like to keep this feeling of peace and calm.  I’d like to do better.  I’d like to be better.  The changes I’ve made to myself are indisputable, but with baby #3 on the way, there is no doubt that I can still grow, I can still change, I can still become a better person, a person that all my children can be proud of.

A person that I can be proud of.