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Date Night

As you all know, it’s been a rough year and a half or so for CBG and I. Depression, ADHD, job loss, extended unemployment, money woes, a change of jobs for me, and finally, CBG starting a new job just a month ago.

I’m exhausted just reading that list. And of course, all the while dealing with these big things, there’s the ordinary stress and work of everyday life to deal with, too.

As you can imagine, it’s taken a bit of a toll on our marriage. We’re talking big stressful things here, people. All we need to do is add moving and a death of a close family member to really amp up the stress levels to meltdown level. Trust me — there were times when a full-on meltdown sounded like a pretty good idea.

We’ve been kind of bumbling along, doing our best to hold things together and keep adulting as best we could. And I’m not gonna lie, kids, there have been plenty of times, particularly in the last six months or so, when things have really sucked. Not “we’re calling it quits here and now” kind of sucking, but more like, “I don’t really like you all that much today” kind of thing.

Ouch.

Now that the dust has begun to settle a little bit, we’ve come to realize that now is the time that we need to focus on one another a little bit more. Which is weird for us, to have to make an effort to do this, because for so long, life was all about love and passion and fun and squeezing every drop of goodness out of life that we could together. And yet here we are.

In the name of reconnecting and getting back on track, we’ve decided to institute a regular Thursday night date night. One of our big problems this past year and a half or so is that although we’ve still had plenty of fun together, a bit of our regular spark has gone out of things. Stress and worry have a way of dulling that sparkle, I guess. We find excuses to just stay home and veg out in front of the tv, when the Sunshine and CBG of years gone by would go out and make their own fun, dammit. And well, snuggling on the couch is nice now and then, but ultimately not something I want to do every night of the week. Not by a long shot.

So we came up with the idea of a no-excuses date night every Thursday night going forward. Our date night plan comes with a few rules:

  • We’ll take turns planning our dates.
  • The planner has full control; the other person can’t veto any date night idea.
  • At-home dates are fine, but they have to be deliberate; we can’t just default to watching a movie at home because we can’t think of anything else to do.
  • Dates can be big or small, long or short, it’s all up to the planner.
  • THERE ARE NO EXCUSES FOR SKIPPING DATE NIGHT! Plans may have to change or be altered, but no putting off date night when other things get in the way.

We know that having a regular date night isn’t going to magically make everything all better and immediately put the sparkle back.

But you know what? It’s a good start.

12 Years

I realized recently that it’s been almost 12 years since my best friend and I have been in the same room together.

We met at our first year at university through a mutual friend. I can’t say that we were immediate friends; it took me a little time to feel comfortable. But as soon as I did, there was that magic rare click that we’re occasionally lucky enough to experience in life.

We were friends at a formative time, during those first few years away from our parents, when we were learning about how to be adults (or in some cases, how to avoid being adults as much as possible. We shared laughter and heartache. We’ve wiped each other’s tears — both of laughter and of pain. We loved each other in the way that only 20-something girls can love each other. She was the kind of friend I could be totally honest with, and who offered me the same in return. A friend who let me be weird and encouraged my silliness and never failed to join me in ridiculousness.

Over the years we grew apart a bit, as our lives became consumed with other things. Spouses and kids, particularly in the pre-texting era, have a way of doing that. The thing about best friends, though, is that even though you don’t talk every day, you’re always in each other’s hearts. And even though we went through periods of not having any contact for month, she was part of the fabric that made me the person that I am.

Though we still live several provinces apart, these days we’re in contact a lot more than we were awhile back. All I can say is thank goodness for texting. There are days when we text each other a single ridiculous word and it takes us back 20 years to the silly little ridiculous girls we were back then. Across the miles we have seen each other through depression, divorce, and remarriage. We now get to joke about the decrepit old ladies that we’re morphing into.

Today, out of the blue, she texted me, “Do I ever wish I was riding around listening to Blue Rodeo with you in the passengers seat. Sometimes I’m just so lonely for you.”

And that’s when I thought about those twelve long years. Twelve years since we sat in the same room and indulged our mutual ridiculousness. Even though we’re in contact, even though these days we text daily, we have still missed so much.

It’s been twelve years since I’ve thrown my arms around her and squeezed her till we both couldn’t breathe.

I miss her so much.

Finding Joy Again

I had one of those big realization moments the other day when I was out running.

Ah yes, running…the big metaphor for life.

I was thinking about running, about how I recently hit my two year running streak milestone. A big moment for me, for sure. But despite this milestone, and despite continuing with my daily running, I really haven’t been giving it my all. I go out there every day, completing my runs, without challenging or pushing myself. In fact, I’ve been basically half-assing it for a while now. Phoning it in.

And as a result, I haven’t been feeling nearly as joyful about running as I once did.In fact, there are many days when it had just been just feeling like a chore. And really, if it’s going to feel like that, what’s the point anymore?

It’s not just running that’s been feeling this way lately, either. The truth is that I’ve been phoning it in when it comes to a lot of things in my life. My friendships, my career, my parenting, my personal development, my marriage. I’ve been on autopilot when it comes to my life, just like with my running. Just showing up and doing my thing, not challenging or pushing or bettering myself. Which is all well and good of course, but not the kind of person that I ultimately want to be.

I’ve been feeling kind of stuck lately, in all these areas. It’s a frustrating spot to be in, feeling like I’m not getting anywhere in my life. Though I could blame plenty of things — my job, my friends, my ex, CBG — the truth is, the only person responsible for these things is me. I’m the person who hauls my butt out of bed in the morning for those uninspired runs, just like I’m the person who chooses to sit on the couch every night instead of coming up with fun things to do with CBG, or who doesn’t bother pursuing the other things I love in life.

Me. I’m the person who has been making the choice to be stuck in life lately. And just like I’ve been making the choice to be stuck, I can make the choice to be un-stuck, too. And that’s that decision that I’ve made. I made the decision that it’s time to get out of the rut that I’m in with my running, and with my life in general. It’s time to find the joy again — in the miles, my friendships, my job, and my marriage.

And most of all, with myself.

It’s time to stop phoning it in.

Happy Birthday to Me

Yesterday was my birthday.

 

I’m not sure if that’s what’s been making me think so much about the future, or if it’s just the natural evolution of my life right now.

Life is changing. There are a lot of unknowns right now.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog, in particular. I’ve been blogging in one way or another for about 9 years now. This particular blog for about seven of those years. It used to be that this was my place where I put it all out there. Where I shared my life and my thoughts with others. I have met a lot of wonderful people through blogging — people that I’ve met in person. People that I consider to be my friends.

I’ve shared a lot of stories. Worked through a lot of my person crap.

There’s been a lot less writing from me over the years, gradually. There was once a time when blogging was part of my every day life. But now sometimes weeks go by without anything. I feel uninspired. Less like sharing my life and my thoughts with other people. Particularly as the online word feels so much smaller and more intimate than it did even just a couple of years ago. I’m not nearly the anonymous voice on the interwebs that I once was. I’m just not feeling as comfortable sharing all this as I once did, particularly since the local online scene is alive and well and likely reading along.

…or maybe not, I don’t know.

I’ve fancied myself a writer since I was 11 years old. To not do it anymore, in some capacity, would feel like a part of me was missing. But to keep doing it in this same way that I have been for the past almost decade feels too much like I’m exposing myself to people that I’d rather not share with. Which is funny, because, isn’t that what blogging started out as? Putting yourself “out there” to strangers?

I guess it’s not the strangers I mind so much, but the people who know me. Or think they know me.

The thing is, as much as burning this blog to the ground is appealing at the moment, it’s not something that I want to get rid of entirely. I have chronicled 7 years of my life here. Seven years of my relationship with CBG. Of my daughter’s lives. Of my own personal growth. Making all that go away permanently just isn’t something that I’m ready to do just yet. Or may not be ready to do ever, I don’t know. These are my stories.

I’m honestly not sure what’s going to happen with this thing. I feel like it’s time to make some kind of a transition. What that transition is going to look like, I’m not so sure. I guess I have to figure that out.

That’s the thing about birthdays for me. They get me thinking about life, the future, and change. Birthdays are a good opportunity for starting fresh. Going in a new direction.

They’re also a great time for cake.

Marriage is Easy…Except When It Isn’t

I’ve read the opinion before that marriage shouldn’t be work.

That, my friends, is a statement that I call bullshit on. Complete and utter bullshit.

I’m not sure if the people saying that marriage shouldn’t be work are deluded, outright lying, or just have a different definition of work than I do. Whatever the reason, I just can’t agree with that opinion.

Yes, marriage is work. It’s the kind of work, though, that is deeply rewarding and absolutely worth it. Marriage is about being unselfish when sometimes you really just want to be a dick. It’s about sharing the last of the ice cream when you’d prefer to finish it off yourself. It’s about days when you put your spouse’s needs ahead of your own. All of those things, to me, are work — because they require effort. By nature I’m kind of a selfish, self-centered princess.

It’s not all work all the time, of course. There are days, weeks, months, and even years when life is good, and you and your spouse fall into the rhythm of life and everything is great.

The key to a long and happy marriage, I think (besides making sure you don’t marry a douchebag, of course) is having the strength and determination to push through those rough times, those man-this-really-sucks periods of marriage, knowing that things will improve again, given time and effort.

CBG and I are coming out of one of those “man-this-really-sucks” periods right now. We’re both feeling kind of battered and weary from the experience, but the good news is that we’re both also willing to put in the work to get to a sweet spot again. We can see it in the distance, a glowing beacon just out of reach. We just have to keep trudging through the sludge just a little while longer and we’ll get there.

But I gotta say…I’m tired, yo. Good thing I have a partner beside me holding my hand.

The Familiarity of Fear

fearIt’s no secret that fear and I are old buddies. Well…’buddies’ may be a bit of a stretch. Perhaps ‘frenemies’ is a better word.

This past week or so I’ve had fear sitting squarely on my back, whispering ugly things in my ear. I’ve heard whisperings, rumblings in the past several months, but at some point this week, it climbed up on my back — a big, overgrown, smelly monkey and started chattering — loudly. Too loudly for me to ignore.

And instead of thinking of all the reasons why this big stupid, stinky monkey was wrong (or at least misinformed), I allowed myself to think, “Well…he DOES have a point.” And it all spiraled downhill from there, to the point where yesterday I’d reached the point of near panic. That monkey had a firm, cold grip around my throat — my throat that I’d willingly exposed to him.

I woke up this morning determined to pry myself loose and shake that monkey off my back. I need to take control of things — of myself, my life, and my decisions. I have allowed fear to rule my life too many times in the past. Fear kept me in unhappy relationships, unhappy jobs. It held me back from directions that I truly wanted to go. It prevented me from growth. It stood in the way of happiness.

It’s been the boss for far too long.

I’ve mistaken comfort with overcoming fear, when the truth is, it’s just been me allowing fear to make the decisions for me, without resisting it. Because the problems don’t come when I feel the fear; the problems actually arise when I resist it. And that’s what’s been happening this week — an all out battle of me vs. fear. And it’s been terribly uncomfortable.

I went out for my run this morning and somewhere along the way, I managed to knock that monkey off my back. There’s no chattering there for now. I’m certain that it will return at some point — likely sooner than I’d like. But in the meantime, the plan is to build up an arsenal of weapons to keep fighting against it.

Because frankly, I’m tired of Fear calling the shots, of steering the direction of my life. Enough is enough.

Happy Birthday Kiddo

Thirteen.

It’s so amazing to me that thirteen years have flown by in the blink of an eye. It seems like such a short time ago, we were spending snuggling mornings in bed together — dozing, nursing, playing, me marveling in amazement that I made a human.

Here you are now, becoming a young woman. A lovely, thoughtful, compassionate, intelligent, funny young woman. I am proud not only of everything you’ve already accomplished in your short life, but of the person that you are.

I know you are destined for great things. And what a privilege it is to be your mom.

Happy birthday, Kiddo.

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