Complacency, Love, and the Weather

As is too often with these posts, I start by saying…it’s been too long since I have written anything new.  I could blame work, school, kids, life,  but really that would only be the icing on a cake too tall to tackle.  The real problem is myself and even that is not enough to explain what has happened to me over the past few months.  As is usually the case I am torn between being happy (complacent) with the life I have and wanting (needing) something more.

While I feel like I say it every year, this one, by far, has been the hardest one to navigate.  Between friendships found, and lost, and found, the bumpy and panic inducing ride that is 11 years of marriage, losing and finding myself over and over again, and simply finding time to breathe through it all, I feel like I’ve been broken and put back together so many times that I wonder if all my pieces have survived.

 

I wonder, sometimes, if my biggest problem is more simple than I realize.  That maybe my expectations for people and their behaviors are simply too high. Mostly, I feel that people will never meet mine and am forever doomed to sit and silence and ponder if it’s them or me.  And yet, why ponder?  I know it’s me. I simply assume everyone puts forth the same amount of everything I do: love, effort, understanding, movement, change.  And when they don’t I am undoubtably dissapointed.  “They” say expectation is the root of all heartache and this is something I wholeheartedly believe.  But do we give up, accept this, and work to assimilate to the “others”; the ones that we feel are disappointing us?  Decide to live in quiet complacency, knowing we could have it worse?  That maybe if we just let things go, decide to give up what we feel we need, that we could live an almost happy life?

Or do we simply wait?  Wait for the changes we are asking for.  Wait for love we know we need and deserve. Wait for a life we know we are not going to simply exist in…but actually live in.

The conundrum exists: do you hope for the hurricane or simply enjoy the calm and still air of almost?  Sometimes, the hurricane is worth it.  It’s beautiful and perfect in its power and destruction, changing the landscape of your life forever, tearing down the extraneous walls you’ve built up to keep things out (or in).  Other times it simply destroys everything, coming and going in meer moments, leaving an empty hole where something stable (maybe not profound or amazing), but stable used to be.

I’m watching people take these leaps and bounds in their lives and am becoming completely envious. Picking up and moving away.  Finding a new and meaningful job.  Leaving behind a mediocre life for a great one. For a while, it was hard to watch their journey because of the jealousy.  What luck to get exactly what you want; what you’ve been hoping for. They made it looked so easy.  But now, I know it is their bravery I covet.  The sheer courage to say “This is what I want and I’m going to go for it.”  They decided take some action instead of sitting around and talking, wondering, or even writing about it.  Taking the risk in the hurricane, even if it destroys everything.

No matter how much back and forth I do in these situations, deep down, I know what it is that I want.

And it’s time to go and buy an umbrella.

satellite-view-of-hurricane

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Dear Me: Man Up!

“Those who say life is knocking them down and giving them a tough time are usually the first to beat themselves up. Be on your own side.” ~Rasheed Ogunlaru

Why do I keep doing this to myself?  I feel like I have written this blog post 1,000 times before.  I get on a good streak with my running (or “running” as I like to say) and realize I am feeling great, I am happier, I’m ready to move forward and forge ahead, and then all of the sudden…BAM!  I just stop.  I don’t go to the gym.  I don’t run.  I eat pretty crappy.  I make up excuse after excuse after excuse for why I’m not doing anything, and then get super pissed when I don’t see results, or the pounds move down, or I’m feeling tired and cranky.

I feel like I’m constantly on a “one week on, one week off” kind of cycle and it’s killing me.  Why was it so much easier in the beginning, when I was 45 pounds heavier, to say no to that piece of cake, or that glass of wine, or to get my butt to the gym?  Is it because the results were so much more glaring?  Is it because I had people noticing the results and commenting on them?  Is it because I don’t have anyone going through this ordeal with me this time?  I had so much support back in the beginning and now I just feel like I am going at it alone.  Have I not mastered the art of telling myself to get out the door?  Have I not mastered the art of telling myself to put down the damn fork?

I don’t know what it is, but I have to start inspiring myself.  I have to start motivating myself.  I have to start being my own inspiration.

Because I can do this.

I know I can do this.

I have to do this.

Playing it safe…

“Waiting is painful.  Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering.” ~Paulo Coelho

It’s funny.  I feel like I should write, but I’m not quite sure what to write about.  Sometimes I don’t even know that I’m thinking certain thoughts until they spill out onto the page as I type.  I finished my third 5K today and, to me, that is a pretty big accomplishment.  But still, I don’t know if that is what I want to write about.  I’m at a point where I don’t know if the problem is that I have nothing in my head or everything.

What I do know is that I’m tired of waiting.  But even then, I’m not sure what I’m waiting for.  A sign?  Something that tells me what direction I take at the fork in the road.  I’m always looking for something to tell me which direction to choose or which path to take: a certain time on a clock, finding a heads up penny, even my horoscope at times (ironically enough, my horoscope today tells me that if I have a particular issue on my mind, I shouldn’t wait for a better moment to get it out into the open). I feel like I am always at a “fork in the road”.  Each decision has it’s own set of benefits and consequences and really, you can’t know what they are until you make the decision.  So I spend time debating and agonizing and worrying so much that I create more problems and situations than there actually are.

I think one of my problems is that I don’t take enough risks and tend to not put myself “out there” as much as I could or should.  I tend to play it safe, thinking that if I don’t make a choice or a move either a. someone will make it for me, or b. nothing happens and I am no worse off than I was before.  Plus, what happens if I do put myself out there and it turns out to be the wrong decision or a mistake?  Or even worse, I am somehow rejected?  Sometimes I feel like my fragile ego just won’t be able to handle it.

I tend to write all these posts about how I need to jump in, make grand gestures, simply make choices and decisions, and yet that’s all they are…words on a page.  I don’t actually DO any of that.  I write about doing it, but never take action.  It all sounds so amazing and profound when I write it down and for a while I actually contemplate taking action, real action, within my life.  And then I get scared. And the worst part?  The really worst part?  Is that I am a giant hypocrite.  I tend to judge people for not following through when they complain about the direction of their life and yet I do the same thing.

At what point will I allow myself to make the first phone call, take the first step, or tell someone what I really want instead of going along with someone else’s plans?  At what point will I allow myself to walk away from situations instead of clinging to a hope that maybe, one day, it will get better?  At what point will I just DO SOMETHING instead of standing still?

At what point will I allow myself to jump, knowing that it’s just as likely that I land on my feet unscathed as it is I break my legs?

It could have been worse. It could always be worse.

“There’s nothing wrong or evil about having a bad day.  There’s everything wrong with making others have it with you.” ~Neil Cavuto

Today was not a good day.  It wasn’t a bad day either, really, just not a good day.  It all began at 1:30 am with a kid in my bed. After a few restless hours of sleep, my alarm went off at 4:45 telling me to get my butt out of bed and go running.  I was all for staying in bed for another hour, but I got up, got dressed and headed out the door.  I don’t know if it was the fact that it was actually cold in the morning, or the aching feeling in my left foot, or the fact that I was dead tired, but I just wasn’t feeling it.  After a mile, I decided to go home, do some stretching, and simply relax before work.

I thought maybe my mood would elevate at work, but no such luck.  We are starting a new reading curriculum so I have no idea what I am doing and I hate feeling disorganized and unprepared.  The kids were so off the wall that I actually looked up when the next full moon was because I was so convinced that there had to be a celestial reason for them being so crazy.

Basically, I was tired and cranky for the majority of the day.  I did perk up a little at aqua jog, but even when I returned home, I simply wasn’t feeling it…whatever “it” is.  I started to get slumpy and grumpy and really just sad.  Things have been going so well lately and I have been feeling great.  I didn’t want to lose this wonderful feeling.  I started to stress about the possibility of heading back down hill which made me feel even sadder.

And then I remembered that it’s ok to have a bad day.  It’s ok to feel like this once in a while.  And no matter what I do, it’s going to happen.  It’s how I handle my mood that is going to determine the day I have tomorrow.  Am I going to give in, and simply feel like I’m destined to be sad and depressed or am I going to leave today at today and wake up with a renewed determination tomorrow?

Either way, it’s a choice.  And I know which one I’ll choose.

100 Mile Challenge Miles: 19
Pounds lost since starting 100 Miles Challenge: 6 pounds

The Warm September of My Years

“You may have a fresh start at any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.” ~Mary Pickford

Oh, September, how I’ve missed you.  The other evening while I was driving around I smelled a fire which, in my mind, signifies that fall is finally approaching.  It reminded me that no matter how I’m feeling through all of the yesterdays that I won’t always feel like this.  Summer was a long and bumpy road this year and honestly, except for the fact that I’d love to not be working, I’m so happy that it’s over.  I’m ready to move on and move forward and put certain aspects of the past behind me, just as the summer moves into fall.

I look back on the list of things I wanted to accomplish and see that I actually did make progress during August…a month I didn’t think I would be able to accomplish anything. I made it to the gym (though not really in the last two weeks), I found schools for both Oliver and Max, I’ve spent a lot of quality time with both kids, I’ve read books both new and old, I’ve pretty much cut all soda out of my diet, and I worked hard to get my classroom set up and ready for the new school year.  It’s nice to see that I was able to accomplish some of the goals I set forth.

Now that September is here I feel a renewed sense of purpose.  I’m beginning to become excited for the changes that may come my way.  I feel like I’m ready for challenges again instead of slinking away from them.  I’m ready to build back up things that have remained broken for so long.

It’s time to get back to work and back to realizing that I am worth the trouble, time, and dedication.

I’m no longer afraid of failing.  I’m more afraid of not trying.

On a wave of mutilation…

“Listen, smile, agree.  And then do whatever the fuck you were gonna do anyway.” ~Robert Downey Jr.

Last night (or even yesterday in general) was the first day, in quite a while, that I didn’t spend a significant amount of time in tears.  I attribute a lot of this to my friend Sara, who saw what I needed, acted on it and wouldn’t take no for an answer.  It’s hard to find friends like that; the ones who show up without being asked, the ones who are there for everything (even the bad stuff), who have seen you at your worst and are still there in the morning, who tell you what you need to hear even if it isn’t what you want to hear.

After a much needed (and clarifying) night out, I woke up serene and without the familiar pit of despair in my stomach that has been there over the summer.  I was able to breathe.  I was actually ready to face the day.  Now, don’t interpret this as me thinking that all my problems and challenges have disappeared because of a glass of wine, a slice of cheesecake, and a night out with a friend.  I’m not that naive.  All of my issues are still there, but today is the first day in a long time I feel like I might actually be able to face them.

I spent my morning wandering around my empty house.  The kids were with the grandparents, the husband was at class and it was the first time I had truly been alone in a while.  I’m the type of person who likes to be alone, though not necessarily feel alone. As I walked around my completely unorganized and cluttered house, I was thinking about how much I had hoped to accomplish this summer, but never really got around to it for one reason or another.  As usual, I wished there was some way to turn back time, to do it all over and not make the same mistakes again.

Then I though, what a waste of time, sitting around wishing I had used my time more effectively or wishing I had more time.  How often do we all do that; sitting around spending so much time focusing on the past that we are actually forgetting to live right now?  Throughout my life I have spent so much time focusing on things that have happened: wishing I hadn’t spent so much time focusing on people who didn’t share my same feelings, wishing I had started something differently or ended something differently, wishing I hadn’t concentrated on one thing over another. I know I can’t be the only one.

The light at the end of the tunnel is that no matter how much time I have wasted, I still have time left.  And I realize how lucky I am that I can say that. So, instead of constantly dwelling on the things from the past that I would change if I could, it’s time to move forward and put that energy into what I want out of the present and the future.

I have no idea what that is right now, but at least I have a little time to figure it out.

Fall down seven times; get up eight

“So I put my faith in something unknown, I’m living on such sweet nothing. But I’m tired of hope with nothing to hold, I’m living on such sweet nothing ~Calvin Harris

I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness lately. More specifically, the things that make us happy and how people come to feel this way. C.S. Lewis once said “Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.” I saw the above quote this morning that really resonated with me. How often do we base our happiness on the actions of others, or moments in time?

Without going into detailed specifics, I’ve had a tough summer, and honestly, I have no one to blame for it but myself. It all started with my dad dying and slowly snowballing out of control from there, to the point that I didn’t even know who I was anymore. And really, I know it started even before that. I saw the warning signs did nothing to stop the avalanche. I was unhappy, moody, sullen and depressed. And when I wasn’t feeling those things, I wasn’t feeling anything at all.

I needed something. I was feeling antsy and itchy. I felt like something was missing that I couldn’t put my finger on. I felt like my skin was too tight and something within me was trying to break free. What it all comes down to was the need to feel alive, or rather the need to feel something other than what I was feeling. I felt like I had been going through the motions for so long thinking that maybe I was happy, when I realized that I was simply complacent. When my dad died, something inside of me changed. It wasn’t that I was devastated or heartbroken, because I wasn’t.

A first I felt relieved that all his suffering was over. And then I began to worry…about myself. My dad spent most of his life depressed and angry which caused him to alienate every single person in his life. Most days, he was downright mean. And I could really see myself heading down the same path and it scared me.

I needed to shake things up and feel something just to prove I was nothing like him. I needed to be reckless and downright irresponsible. And I was. I put my needs for “aliveness” ahead of the the needs of so many people around me. I felt conflicted but I also felt alive…knowing I should change the situation, but also unable to do it at the same time.

I now realize that a lot of it had to do with me looking outside of myself for some form of happiness and thought certain situations were going to make me happier. And they did…and they didn’t. I spent most of my summer in complete turmoil, wrestling with feelings I thought I had, with feelings I actually had, with feelings I was supposed to be having, all while trying to wear the mask of normalcy around my children and friends.

And then just as quickly and spontaneously as the “aliveness” started, it was over. I have let myself think and analyze for a week. Its almost as if I was grieving. I don’t know, though, what exactly I was grieving for. Was it for what I lost, or was is simply because I now knew I was going to go back to feeling nothing in my daily life?

I still haven’t figured it out, but what I do knows that it’s time to take a breath and move on and start figuring out how to be again. And maybe if I can figure out how to simply exist without all this sadness and anger, I can also figure out how to be happy.

I have to try, I have to try, I have to try. My life depends on it.