Thursday, February 19, 2015

Being Uncomfortable

I've gotten to a certain age where I'm pretty stuck in my routine. I mean, it's pretty easy seeing as I have young children, and children, as they say, are creatures of routine. Happy kids have a routine. We wake up and have breakfast (usually my awesome 7 ingredient oatmeal which my husband is only so happy to help me replicate on days when I do not want to get out of bed), play games or just chill for a bit. Then we do some sort of activity (if it's not the bone-chilling -18 out as it is today, we usually play in the snow) or go to the store for groceries (and coffee). Lunch, followed by nap, then calm after-nap activities, and then something before dinner (either outside, going to grandma's house, or the store depending on what we did earlier). After dinner we do some physical activity involving walking (usually at the mall since it gets dark at 5:30 still), then bath, books, and bed. Bed is always around 7:30-8, wake up is usually between 7:30-8. A very planned out life (or at least the bones of the day are very structured and don't usually get moved).

Unfortunately, this level of life routine has got me stuck in a personal rut. I do the same thing everyday. When the boys are in bed, I would go watch some tv while knitting (or folding laundry), and be in bed by 10. Not much wiggle room, considering the 8 pm bedtime can often slowly leech into 9, as kids want sips of water, or another story, etc. This hour is golden. I don't want to do anything except what I want to do. I've guarded it closely. And it has become a rut. There are so many things I could do in the evening but I want to be lazy.

It's a bit like an analogy I saw in a magazine about clutter (stay with me for a minute, it'll make sense)- by setting down an object, be it mail, random items, laundry, whatever on the areas where things congregate, you are saying that your time now is more important than your time later. You are robbing yourself of that time freedom later. If you had decided to take the extra minute to put the bill where it needs to go (or heaven forbid actually pay it), put the socks away, put the toys in the appropriate bins, books on the appropriate shelves, you wouldn't need to spend the time later to do it. Think of it- if every time you set something down, you decided to put it in it's right home- you would have clean counters. You would have time where you didn't have to sigh about the counters and then spend 45 minutes trying to figure out where stuff goes, what to do with it. Or if you have a spot where laundry piles up- you take off your work clothes and something isn't dirty so you don't need to throw it in the bin, and you are just too lazy to hang it up or find a cupboard for it. This is my life (except I don't work). If you take the extra minute to hang it, fold it, put it away, you wouldn't have the mound of shame looking at you while you are surfing netflix.
So going back to my evenings- I am robbing myself of life. I just want to veg out and be lazy, be by myself, and I need to start doing things. Now see, things make me uncomfortable. I like to do my routine. It's ingrained, it's automatic, and it's comfortable.
I wrote that I took up running (and I will re-take it up once it's safe to run outside again). I have decided to take up yoga as well. I tried yoga once when I was in undergrad; my friend Holy and I went and it was so boring. I was not zen at all. I would try to hold my poses longer than other people, I couldn't zone out. But I guess something has changed in 13 years.

One- I have no flexibility at all. Ow. Man it hurts to work those areas that enjoy sitting on the couch eating Ben & Jerry's. Two- I don't mind it so much. Granted, I still want to be the best at things, but I'm working on quieting the voices. I need to be gentle with myself. I can't be awesome at everything from the get go. Sure would be sweet if I was, but it's just not going to happen. It's ok to be uncomfortable. I laughed last night at class as I'm trying to stand on one foot and do some sort of squat pose. It's uncomfortable to be the baby, learning for the first time. It also puts me in a better space to teach my children. I get upset when I ask them to do something for like the hundredth time and they can't. It is teaching me to have patience with the growing process, to help my children navigate the uncomfortable learning areas, and to show them that they can always be growing, always learning, always changing.

I'm very uncomfortable, but I'm starting to be more zen about it.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

I'm a Runner: And no, Nothing was Chasing Me, Thanks

If you are wondering if the world is ending, it may be.

I have decided to take up running.

Shocking, right?

I decided the other day that I hate this anxiety so I'm going to do something that I hate even more than the anxiety and that is running. Oh I hate running. I mean I've never really done it, but the one time I did I ran maybe 200 feet and was like ok, that was fun.

It is so anti-me that I have a funny story.
I texted my husband to ask if he wanted to go running with me when he got home.
He said sure.
He got home and I asked him to go change into his running clothes (as it was getting close to dinner). He comes back in with jeans and a thermal on.
I ask "are you wearing that running?" and he says yes and gives me an odd look.
I ask him to help get the boys' snowsuits on, as it was beyond freezing and I wanted them warm for their trip in the jogging stroller.
"Where are we taking them?" my husband asks, and I reply to the jogging track that's nearby.
"Why?" he asks.
"To go running," I reply because duh I've already said running like eight times.
He thought I meant running errands. Because never in a million years would I run. I loathe it. So we went running and it was pretty pathetic.
Well actually it was beyond pretty pathetic.
It was 17 degrees and felt like 3 with the wind chill. The bitter bitter windchill. And to make matters worse, the track was thick with slushy snow, so very hard to push a stroller on. We made it about half a mile before the littlest boy got cold and started crying.
And also, my husband got a stress fracture from running.
Pretty pathetic right?
ButI got a girl friend to run with me the following day and I ran 1.5 miles (jogged, ok? Geez) without really stopping so that was a success.
Can I walk today?
No not very well.

But I'm going to stick with it. Even though every minute is full of hatred for it.

I'm hoping if I can conquer running, then maybe there's a chance I can mind over matter this anxiety.

Or at least get in shape.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

To My Fellow Chameleons

Today is the Super Bowl and I for one could care less. I am not a sports person. When I was in undergrad I didn't attend a single football or basketball game, and I attended a Big 10 school. I did not know the fight song and couldn't sing the school song at graduation. How horrible is that? I was also pretty lazy and apathetic at the time (perhaps now still), with a major case of senioritis which didn't help. My husband is (Thank you, Jesus) not a sports fan. He used to play baseball and occasionally when we had cable he would turn it to little league playoffs or some such for a bit. But overall, he could also care less.
I said to my husband today that I would watch sports if he cared about them. He found that quite laughable, and maybe it is just considering how much I care less about sports (and maybe that is being too generous; I dislike watching sports. It's boring. I know no rules. I went to a Cubs/White Sox game with a friend when I was in early college and I was bored to tears. It just went on and on. Sammy Sosa was right in front of us and I just wanted to go to sleep. Also, my friend and her brother took VERY detailed notes on some scorecard, so calling them fans wasn't doing it justice. Also- I was not able to drink legally then.) However, one thing that he isn't aware of too much- how big a chameleon I am.

Chameleon? What do you mean?

Follower. Adapter. Panty-waist spineless jellyfish. (I was looking for a specific word and googled thesaurus for follower and found that "toady" is one synonym. That just blows my mind in relation to the band- right? Anyone?) MILQUETOAST! Just came to me. Knew that sitting here mindlessly not doing cleaning would serve me adequately.

Anyway, I never thought I was such a follower. I was strong in my beliefs that I was a pretty good person, smart, a good Christian, when I was in high school. I was kind of a geek, boys generally avoided me, which was mostly to my benefit, as I'm sure that whole good-Christian-girl thing would've gone quickly had an actual living boy been interested in charming my panties off. I felt I was my own person and lived by my own rules, but in retrospect I'm sure most teenagers think they are their own person. I lived under very controlling parents and didn't do very much in the outside world, except walk around the mall with my equally sheltered friends.

Maybe to a degree I am my own person, but when it comes to love, I am such a follower.

Two of my exes were musicians. So I attended quite a few open mic nights, listened to indie music, read the appropriate periodicals, bought the correct gear for holidays, etc. One would have assumed I was a music fan (hell, I thought I was). And then I met the husband. He is not a musician, not a sports fan, kind of a video game nerd. I took up video games for a brief time, but I'm sooo less a video game nerd than I am a musician nerd. Living in a small northern town means relatively few bands travel this far north, husband with no musical interest means no desire to accompany me to concerts that involve a road trip, and children mean little to no free time or spending money to travel to aforementioned concerts that I would attend alone. Because the convenience factor is nil, I am not into music anymore. Granted I could listen to podcasts and download concerts and buy cds etc etc but I have no time. I have no money. I also have a weird apprehension (if you can call it that) to new music. I hate listening to music that I have never heard. Even was I was a crazy Incubus diehard fan, when they put out a new CD it would take me getting ready to go to their concert and wanting to know all the songs to get me to crack the case. I hate not knowing lyrics, not knowing if I like it or not, and wasting time listening to it several times if I don't like it. How weird is that? I might be the only weirdo with that disorder. But to get back to the point- he doesn't like it so I don't like it.

If he liked sports, I'm sure I would be hosting Super Bowl parties and making cupcakes in the team colors. If he was a golfer, I'm sure I would take up golf.

Maybe our problem as a couple is pure apathy in either direction. He wants to sit and do nothing. I want to do whatever he wants to do. When he wants to do nothing, I'm upset that he wants to do nothing. It's a vicious cycle.

I'm getting to be too existential in my old age. I over think everything. I think about everything. I also worry about the things that I think. I worry that I'm wasting my life. I think about all the things I could be doing- I could be like Taylor Swift and have a million friends and be involved and do everything and have a fantastic life. But hell that is a lie. I cannot motivate. I can't get myself to exercise on a daily basis. I can't bake fantastic creations for my family. I don't decorate our house. I don't have hobbies. I don't think this is normal. I'm convinced that if I only got enough sleep that I could do more but I'm starting to think that "more sleep" doesn't actually exist. I know I just have to go and do it, whatever the thing is that I want to do.

But what do I want to do? I need to meditate and find my inner purpose or something. How do you even go about doing that in your thirties? I can't Eat Pray Love myself to another continent or even to a day trip. I ask for signs from God but maybe He wants to point people in the right direction who are actively walking with Him. And I'm doing many things but actively walking is not one of them.

This is an incredibly rambly blog post. Mostly, it's like my thoughts. I have a lot, they are often disconnected or loosely connected, and they are usually a little depressing.

Did I mention my husband has been pushing me to join the military as an officer? Sure, I would love to serve my country and make a difference, but I have absolutely no desire to kill, to get yelled at, or to be deployed. I like to think go myself as an intelligent person, but who knows how smart the military would see me. I'd love to be in intelligence, but I might only qualify to work in the HR department or something menial. And to top it all off- having to run? Ugh. Really? Plus, 9 weeks away from my boys. Although to be honest, the thought of time to read by myself, write by myself, BE by myself sounds pretty fantastic. However, to be realistic I'm sure there aren't hours to myself every day to pursue the whole Hemingway thing. I could be wrong. But the husband is pressing this because I have applied to so many (so very very many) jobs and haven't gotten called, emailed, interviewed, nada. I wonder if there is some virus in my resume that deletes the ability to email me. I've considered this as a possibility. He feels disheartened that no one is out there caring. Ha- guess how I feel about it, buddy. Answer- NOT GREAT. But not sure if giving up my life for 4 years or more is exactly the next logical step. If any of you have answers- let me know.

I'm gonna go clean, since cleaning seems to be my only talent right now.