Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Stepping Stones

For a while now, I having leaning toward big changes in my life. Prior to parenting, I spent a lot of time making big changes of the geographic nature. I think I sometimes negate that part of my life because I only moved from California to Michigan and Wisconsin and Indiana. At this age now I can understand that those moves were huge and monumental for a 17-22-27 year old. I did those moves for the most part by myself with no assistance from anyone, not my parents and rarely with help from friends. I just moved, I did it and I enjoyed where I was for the most part, there were of course exceptions, but even in those locations I made the very best of what I had! I am grateful that I did that as a twenty something and got it out of my system before I had kids. Prior to becoming a parent, I thought ‘oh kids are resilient they can move where I move’ but from the moment I held M Bug in my arms in hospital back in 2005 I knew I did not want him to move around or make a huge move at any age.  It is hard on the children and they do not have the right words to express the emotions and struggles that come along with huge changes.  Not to mention, it might be an amazing adventure in an adult's mind, but to a child it is not that at all and there is a sense of why but not knowing how to ask for fear of making the happy parent angry.

The memories of that big move from NY to CA came rushing back and how difficult that move was on our whole family. Essentially it broke us down and we were never the family we were in NY. Not that every experience is this way and I get that. My parent’s marriage was on the precipice of falling apart already and moving my brother and sister at such vulnerable ages along with the state of my parent’s marriage just magnified everything millions of times over. I suffered through loss and sadness that is inexplicable to me even to this day and I was five. For my entire life in California, I never felt comfortable, I never felt I fit in 100 per cent and I always had this sense of wanting to move “back” even though there was no back and the truth is there is no going back ever to what was...

For me going back was always the catalyst for change but once I had children I knew two things. There is no going “back”, only forward as in time marches forward with or without us, and that geographic shifts do not change the person you are. You go where ever you are. When I hear someone say “oh I hated that place" I wonder if they did not hate the place so much as the person they are/were in that place. I mean to say that I was still me even when I made a huge move across the country or set out to find a life for myself throughout my twenties without help from my parents or anyone for that matter.  The good the bad and the otherwise, I was me in NY and CA and MI and WI and IN.  It was the place that made me, it was me that made me. 

For me the big changes I am speaking of here are not about big moves but really come down to calming my own often chaotic mind. I have spent years driven by action and exhaustion. Training for the marathon the past five months or so showed me how poorly that is serving me. I spent much of the training, sick or exhausted which I believe go hand in hand. I work almost full time, I parent two small children and I was training for marathon along with taking care of my relationship with my husband and essentially dropping everything else including friends and housekeeping which I feel are important but I had no idea how to fit it all in. I have always struggled with how to fit exercise into my life. I had this dogmatic attitude of ‘go hard or go home’.

I do not quit very often and I will go to the ends of the earth to get where I want to fitness wise. It is the one area of my life where I do not whine in my own head about things, I tend to just do them. I mean I dread things like doing a 20 mile training run or I might bitch about how my flippin’ ankles hurt through that 20 miles but it highly unlikely I will quit even if I say I am! Weird. I suppose in thinking about everything in my life I am like this. I solder through things even when I dislike them because I know at the end of it all it will be worth it. In the case of the marathon, it was. I loved it. I took the following line from a guy whose blog I will now follow:

“I’ve often felt that exercise is the closest that I get to prayer.”

I also feel that nature is like a church to someone who is religious and there is nothing greater than spending an hour outside in my yard or in the woods with fresh air and animals and bugs and trees and how we all work together symbiotically to create the natural world around us.  One huge reason I am not a city person!

I want to find a way to calm my mind and in doing that I feel the urge as of late to simply my life, to make it less, rather than more. To me that means lessening my expectations but also cutting back on the “things” in my life. I find it easy to let go of technology though the first hours of that always leaves me wondering what is happening and I find myself reaching for my phone or the computer to log on. Once I get past that initial hump though I nearly forget about wondering what is happening with everything and everyone!  We had a fab weekend and one of the things we did was walk through a historical site about pioneers in the 1800s who lived in our area.  I was reminded that those folks had what we perceive as next to nothing and yet it was amazing to me what they accomplished with so little.  The time they had was always spend doing something and there was no Kroger around the corner and the whole family was involved and worked from dusk till dawn. I am not suggesting I want to unplug that far but I do want to figure out how to unplug us all a little bit more and a little bit more often!

I find that computers and TV are just ways of stepping away from the “real” world but far from calming me, they rev me up. I usually do computer related stuff right before “bed” and then I am up half the night. My first goal to calmness is to become better rested. Early to bed and early to rise is something I have wanted to do since I can remember, even at a young age of 8-9 years, I struggled with this. So step one to calmness, I will no longer log onto the computer unless there is something I “need” to do on there after 5:00 pm in the evenings. I am still not sure I can entirely step away from the TV. I already prolong watching the television until the kids are in bed and for the most part asleep. I have tried in the past to give up television but the lure of things I truly enjoy is always too great. I can usually make it through the summer months but once fall sweeps come on I am back to the usual hours of watching. Baby steps!

I do have to say that part of this is selfish, I want to accomplish these things for myself but a large chunk of this has to do with the kids. They are learning from K and me. I often see in them behaviors about us that I know would not be there if we had did not teach them those things so I am standing here looking at little versions of me/us and I wonder if we can effect change today, now. In doing so I believe that all of our lives will become more rich and amazing.

More steps to follow!

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