On December 31, 2016, I wrote down my goals for the coming year in my journal. It wasn’t an exhaustive list of every single thing I wanted to accomplish in life, but it was a thorough list and included many things that I wanted to get better at, things that I had been thinking about for months or even years. Continue reading
A few weeks ago, I fell while running. It was the end of an 8-day stretch, which included a 15 miler, hill repeats, and some 2-a-day workouts. My body was tired and so was my brain. So I was lazy. I didn’t pick up my feet and hurtled into the asphalt full force. Continue reading
Almost three months ago, I quit drinking. You read that correctly. It has been 12 weeks since I had a glass of wine, a margarita, some prosecco, or even a beer. Continue reading
Like most things, resilience isn’t something you’re born with, but it’s something you can develop. Continue reading
The goal of therapy is to heal or resolve problematic issues, whether they’re physical or psychological. While I’ve certainly paid my fair share of professional therapists over my lifetime, lately, I’ve been having everyday therapy that comes free of charge, from my experiences. Continue reading
Well, I can’t say that I was thrilled about the election results. Quite the opposite. I was disappointed. Hugely. But, almost immediately after I finished licking my wounds and consoling my sobbing 8-year old, my mindset shifted. I was going to effect change. Continue reading
If you know me, you know the role that running plays in my life. It’s not just a hobby or a social activity, although it is certainly both of those things. For me, running is the deepest form of meditation and reflection. Running is contemplation in action. Continue reading
Bond is a funny word. The first definition is ‘something shared between people, that connects them.’ Like a marriage bond. The second definition is ‘a chain that is used to prevent someone from acting freely.’ Like a marriage bond.
What I mean is that in marriage, you are emotionally, financially, and physically connected to someone else. Of course you can’t act freely. Marriage isn’t all about you. It’s all about TWO of you and the partnership you’ve created.
I’ve been in my second marriage for 14 years. Having screwed up my first marriage beyond repair, I like to think that I am a bit more invested in making this new one work. (Oh, the generous thoughts I have). I want to believe that I am actively forging the marriage bond I’ve made, doing my part to stay connected.
But, let’s face it. It’s easy to get complacent in a marriage. Sometimes, when you have a job and a child and/or a long list of obligations and responsibilities, you neglect your marriage. That’s just life. Working on your relationship becomes less of a priority when you have a deadline to meet, a child to take to a lesson, bills to pay, laundry to do, etc. You take for granted that the marriage will coast by with minimal effort, that it can sustain neglect.
Then reality slaps you in the face. You come to your senses and realize that this line of thinking is totally false. Neglect never sustains anything. If you stop watering a plant, it dies. If you stop exercising, you gain weight. If you stop attending to your marriage, it suffers. It’s that simple.
This realization happened to me recently. I discovered my marriage on the back burner, where I had let it languish for a few months. I got busy with life then noticed that I was saying and doing things, and not saying and not doing things, that were self-serving and not relationship-serving.
Both my actions – an unkind word here, a negative tone there – and my inactions – thoughtlessness, carelessness, inattention – were creating break points in my marriage bond. As a result, I wasn’t forging the marriage bond. I was chiseling away at it.
Like anything worth anything, marriage is work. It’s hard work, committed work, life long (or as long as you want the marriage to last) work. You have to constantly shape it and work at it to forge a sustainable marriage bond and stay connected. Otherwise, the bond gets stressed and breaks.
Life lesson #3127. Invest in the relationship you’ve chosen. Take your marriage off the back burner. Stop letting the relationship coast. Work it. Pay attention. Stay connected. Forge the marriage bond you want.
Get comfortable with what’s uncomfortable. That’s what the Universe is trying to get through my thick skull these days. Feel stressed? Embrace it. Feel overwhelmed? Accept it. Feel like your head is going to explode? Make the best of it.
Ommmmmmm. I’m trying to get comfortable what’s uncomfortable in my life. Which is everything.
You’d think I’d be jumping up and down with excitement as the reality of moving back to the States approaches. And I am, believe me. I’ve wanted to go back for at least the last 3 years. In my (irrational) mind, being here and not there is part of the reason why I’ve been so unhappy for so long. So, I’m ecstatic to go home. In theory.
In reality, the day-to-day orchestrating of an international move is making me crazier than I already was to begin with. I am under enormous stress. We still don’t know where we’ll end up. We have lots of furniture to sell. We have foreign contracts to break and accounts to close. On top of this, I’m still working 30 hours a week on my main job and on my new side gig (blogging for HealthyPlace.com). Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I slept through an entire night, because I wake up every night. Every. Single. Night. I wake up anxious about everything that has to happen, everything that hasn’t happened, everything that might happen.
Does my anxiety make anything better? Hell no. In fact, it makes me suffer. It makes my relationships suffer. It makes everything ten times worse.
So I have to learn to get comfortable with what’s uncomfortable. And this means letting go of my need to control the outcome. It means being okay with uncertainty, and it means trusting that everything will work out. Maybe not exactly how I want, maybe not on my time line, but it will work out.
How do I get to that mental space where I’m comfortable with what’s uncomfortable? I create some spaciousness around the anxiety. I remind myself that this experience is bigger than me. This is not just about me and what I want and when I want it. It’s also about my husband and his job and what he wants. It’s about the laws and regulations of our host country. It’s about putting the contents of our lives into a 20-foot container to be shipped across the world (and the enormous amount of money involved in that). Oh. My. Goddess. There’s a lot of uncomfortable to get comfortable with right now.
Creating space around this chaos means gaining some perspective. When I zoom the lens out, I’m able to see that while this event is currently the focal point of my life, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not the focal point of my life at all. It’s one, brief episode in the overall arc. Several weeks in a lifetime of decades. Several weeks of challenges that will eventually end and then I’ll be in the next episode (where I’m sipping a glass of something yummy, sitting on a beach reading a book. Or maybe just working at my same job but in the US. Whatever.).
The current episode is tough, but I’m going to get through it. And, to do so I’ve got to create some space and perspective and keep it together. In other words, I’ve got to get comfortable with what’s uncomfortable.
When I was suffering in the darkest days of my depression, I was utterly hopeless. Despondent and helpless, I honestly felt that I was powerless to manifest any meaningful change in my life.
Hopelessness was my filter, the lens through which I interpreted everything that happened to me and about me. Life sucked. I sucked. And nothing was ever going to get better.
But as I move out of this darkness, I’m learning hope; it’s my new filter, the lens that is helping me become and see myself as emotionally competent.
Learning hope does not mean having blind optimism. I am not 100% confident that everything will work out the way I want. Nor do I think that I’m immune from sadness, heartache, or loss. Those emotions and experiences are simply part of living. They don’t just happen to me. They happen to everyone.
Learning hope means developing emotional flexibility, being able to bounce back from difficulty rather than allowing it to overwhelm me. It means knowing that although I’ll experience tough times, I won’t generalize about them. I won’t say things like, “This [shit] always happens to me,” when something goes awry.
Learning hope means embodying the adage that, ‘This too shall pass.’ I have to remember that the journey of life is a marathon, not a sprint. Circumstances change. Emotions change. People change. I have to be able to adjust my outlook and behavior. I have to course correct to make the long haul.
This is the essence of learning hope. It’s not an attitude. It’s a practice and a life skill.
Image courtesy of flickr user pol sifter