Letting Go

I’m admittedly a bit of a pack rat. I’m not sure where this tendency ever came from, or why it’s still sticking around, but it’s been a part of my life now for forty-two (almost forty-three!) years. Every so often I decide that I’m finally going to do something about this pack-rattish-ness of mine. I go on a bit of an organizing and de-cluttering spree. I get rid of things. I purge. At least for a while. And then for whatever reason, I always run out of steam and not only stop, but return to my previous hoarder-like ways.

For example, last year I read the popular “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo and decided very quickly that this was the The Answer to my problems. I pulled everything out of my closet and dresser and went through each piece, asking, “Does this bring me joy?” And guess what? I got rid of a lot of clothing.

And then, I stopped.

And not long later, I began buying more clothes. Always with the justification that this or that particular item “brought me joy”. What it also brought me an overflowing closet and a return of that “cluttered” feeling.

I’ve realized that when my physical space feels cluttered, then my mental and emotional state tends to match.

I don’t know if it’s inspiration from the start of a new year or what, but once again, I’m feeling the need to de-clutter and rid myself of all those physical things in my life that seem to be weighing me down. Maybe this feeling will pass again but for time being, I am feeling very at peace with the idea of letting go, paring down, focusing on the truly important things in my life. And guess what? My shoe collection isn’t it.

It will take time, and dedication to the cause, but once again I feel that the time is right to let go.

A Look Back at 2016

I’ve been thinking a lot about this past year. It’s hard to know what to say about it, really, as I’m experiencing a lot of mixed emotions. It’s been a year of both ups and downs; many happy personal things have happened, but there’s also been a lot of loss, not just in the celebrity world but for a lot of people close to me as well. It was a strange year, indeed.

On a personal level, there was a lot of loss around me. A good friend lost her husband. My best friend’s father lost his battle to cancer. Another friend’s mother passed away just before Christmas. CBG’s daughter Pebbles lost a friend, too. There was a lot of sadness around for people that I care about.

And of course there was a lot of loss in the celebrity world as well. A lot of beloved celebrities died this year – more than usual, it feels like. And more that seemed to go “before their time”. For me I lost three of my all-time favourites: Prince, Leonard Cohen, and George Michael. Each of those artists touched me in a different way, and I’ll be honest, the world feels just a little bit emptier without them. However. I also feel a deep sense of gratitude for the fact that the world even had these people to begin with; people who I never had the privilege of meeting, but still managed to touch me in a memorable way.

There’s been a lot of good things that have happened in our family this year. CBG landed his dream job. I landed a job that I am much happier in. Because of these two things, we’re starting to get back on track financially. This summer I got to see my best friend again for the first time in almost 12 years. Most importantly, with some hard work and a lot of love, CBG and I have been able to reconnect and reach a good place again.

Equally important, I feel like groundwork is being laid for continued good things in the future. The past couple of years have been a bit of struggle for my family, and it is good to feel like we’re moving in a forward direction again. It makes me excited to see what’s in store for us.

2016 has been a time of learning for me. Yes, there has been loss, but that loss has reminded me that there are no guarantees in this life. And because of that, we need to get out there and live. We need to take risks. Push ourselves out of our comfort zones. Spend time with loved ones. Tell people how much they mean to us. We need to make good things happen – to get out there and grab life and squeeze every bit of goodness out of it that we can.

And that’s exactly what 2017 is going to be all about for me.

Life Lessons from a Forty-Something

The older I get, the more I think about aging. I know that there are plenty of people out there who hate it, who fight the whole process tooth and nail. Now, while I don’t exactly enjoy those growing morning aches and pains, and the thought of death rushing headlong toward me, I have realized that for the most part, I have actually been enjoying growing older. Lets fact it — it’s way better than the alternative – there are plenty of people denied the privilege of growing old. I feel like every year I spend on this planet are a gift, not to be wasted.

(Or, maybe wasted a little bit, like when the new season of OITNB comes out on Neflix. Y’know….priorities and all that.)

For the most part, I realize that life is only getting better as I get older. There’s something to be said for being a forty-something woman who knows herself, over being a twenty-something woman who doesn’t really have a clue. I’m still a work in progress and hopefully will be for a good long time to come.

Here are some things I know at forty-something that I certainly didn’t twenty years ago.

  1. I can’t control other people’s reactions to me. All I can do is my best to communicate clearly to others, and then let them take it from there. Some people will get it, and some people won’t. But trying to control their choices is only an exercise in crazy-making.
  2. My own self-care is the greatest gift I can give to others. Although I’m not perfect at it, I’ve certainly gotten a whole lot better at this whole self-care thing over the years. And gone are the days when I allow myself to feel guilty for it. No freakin way. I’m a better mother, wife, friend, employee and general human being when I make the effort to take care of myself properly. You’re welcome.
  3. Not everyone likes me – and that’s okay. When I was younger, I really scrambled to try and make everyone like me. All that did was leave me exhausted. It also meant that I was constantly trying to be someone and something that I wasn’t. As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realize that hey, guess what? I’m not everyone’s cup of tea….and there’s nothing wrong with that. The only person I really have to make sure likes me is me – and if I focus on that, on being an integral and likable person to myself, then those closest to me, those who “get” me, will feel the same.
  4. So much more can be accomplished with self-love than with self-loathing. I used to try so hard to change myself out of hatred. I would see something about myself that I disliked intensely, and would work to try and make myself better. I’ve come to realize that attempting to change for those reasons just doesn’t work. The best way (and the only way to make it stick) is to change yourself out of self-love, because you know, deep down, that you deserve better. Loving change is always the best.
  5. Mistakes are the best learning tools. I will be the first to admit that I am far from perfect. I have made a great number of mistakes in my 42 years on this earth, and I know that before it’s all said and done, I will make many more. But as cheesy at it sounds, those mistakes have been great learning tools for me. I have been able to learn something valuable each time I’ve screwed up. I can’t say that would be the case if I’d always done everything perfectly my whole life.

Instead of being sad that I’m getting older like some people, I choose to be happy about it. Because really? We all only get better with age. 🙂

Closing the Gap

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and soul-searching lately. This is a good thing, as I’ve realized that I’ve gotten a bit lazy about this. A few years ago it was like I was in a state of almost constant introspection; it kept me in touch with myself and really helped me to grow and be a better person. Lately I’ve gotten kind of complacent, just going through life with blinders on. I would like to say that I’ve been mostly happy and satisfied with life as it is. While that’s true in some areas, in others, the exact opposite is true. I’ve been feeling a lot of frustration and dissatisfaction with certain parts of life. I’ve been feeling stuck. And while it is certainly tempting blame it on any number of outside factors that have been affecting my life, particularly this past year or so, the hard truth is that I’m feeling stuck and frustrated and dissatisfied mainly because of me.

I have in my mind an image of the person that I want to be. I don’t think that realistically I will ever attain that ultimate goal, but there were certainly times in my life that I was a lot closer to being that person than I am right now. The gap between my ideal self and my actual self has widened. Some days its widened to the point that I don’t recognize or even like the person that I see in the mirror.

I’m not looking to be perfect. I may have an “ideal self” in mind, but I’m also a realist. All I really want at the moment is to go to bed at night knowing that I did the best I could on that particular day. Some days that’s going to mean being absolutely awesome. Other days, it might just mean surviving. But for a long time now I’ve been coasting along, satisfied with “survival”, waiting for better days to come. Perhaps even magically appear somehow. What I’ve realized (or re-realized, I guess, since I’ve always known this deep down) is that every day can be a better day. I just have to be willing to work for it.

When I’m 100% honest with myself, I know that I haven’t been doing the work that I need to be doing. The truth is that I’ve been slipping in all aspects of my life. I haven’t been the wife, mother, friend, daughter, sister, employee, co-worker, runner, writer, or human being that I want to be. I’ve been making excuses for myself. I’ve been blaming outside forces. I’ve been blaming other people. And sure, my situation, the situation of others, and the people in my life definitely have an effect on me. But I am the person behind the wheel. And while the vehicle stays the same, I can certainly choose which road I take, and the passengers that I take along for the ride.

It’s time to work on closing the gap between the person that I know I ideally can be, and the person that I am right now. The two need to be a lot closer than they have been. I can make that change.

Dissecting The Blob

I wrote recently about how I’ve been dealing with an ugly blob in my life right now.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this blob. What it is made of. How it grew to be so big and ugly. How best to combat it.

I’d like to be able to report that I’m full of lots of good thoughts, good ideas, and even a solid plan. Hell, I’d settle for a shaky plan at the moment. The truth is, I’ve got none of that right now. I’ve been standing here so long looking at this damned thing that it’s grown bigger, uglier, hairier. Right now it feels almost a little too big to battle. The thing is, though, I know that if I choose not to battle it, that it will grow to an epic size and swallow me whole.

And well….ain’t nobody got time for that. 

I’ve gotten a little closer in the last few days to getting it figured out. Baby steps. The problem that I’m left with, is that I really don’t like the answers. I don’t fully trust my own assessment right now of what might possibly be going on. I want it to be something else. I want the answers, the solution to be different.

Stupid blob.

Good Things This Week

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, and this week in particular I feel like it’s necessary. Not that there’s anything particularly bad going on, just that I’ve been struggling a bit, attitude-wise.

I started a new job back in mid-August (yes, *another* one), and I’ll fully admit that I’m struggling a bit with it. Once again it’s a job that’s completely different from anything else that I’ve done before, and once again, it’s taken me out of my comfort zone. I know that when I’m feeling happy and positive I keep telling myself that I *want* to be taken out of my comfort zone, so that I can grow and improve, but dang, when I do get pushed out of it, I always end up fighting it, kicking and screaming.

What’s up with THAT, hmm?

So while I’m struggling with being patient with the learning process and with staying positive, I thought that it would be good to remind myself of all the good things that have happened this week.

  • The weather has been spectacular. The humidity has broken, the sun is shining, there’s a bit of crispness in the breeze. Now while I would love to hold onto summer for another month or two, I have to admit that fall is pretty lovely too.
  • Both of my girls are loving school. They’re in grades 6 and 8 now, and though it’s still very early in the school year, they are both happy and doing well.
  • Lil’ Mo started gymnastics on Wednesday – and LOVED it. Now, Lil’ Mo is one of those people who has a lot of natural athletic ability but doesn’t always make good use of it. She’s been really into doing just-for-fun gymnastics with her friends this past year. We enrolled her in a recreational class last winter and while fun, it wasn’t quite what she was looking for. We found another one and she attended the first class on Wednesday evening and is officially stoked about it. She doesn’t have any aspirations of being an Olympian or anything, she just wants to have fun and improve her skills. this is a non-competitive, recreational class and seems to be well suited for her. I love seeing her so excited about something.
  • Wednesday was also CBG’s birthday. Because this week has been so dang busy, we decided to postpone birthday celebrations until next week. So while we kept everything low-key for now, we did go out for birthday ice cream on Wednesday night. More birthday fun will follow.
  • I’ve been really enjoying my walks to and from work. It’s about a 4km walk each way, and I have to say, I’ve really been enjoying the longer walks again. It allows me time to just think…to process everything that’s going on right now, work-wise. And believe me, I need it.
  • Date night. CBG and I have been making an effort these past few months to have a dedicated date night during the week. It’s never anything huge or magical, but it’s time we set aside to just spend some fun together. Thursday night we went to one of the local candy stores, looked around, frolicked, and got some treats to take home and enjoy.
  • Girls weekend! This upcoming weekend it’s going to be just me and my girls, as it’s CBG’s away weekend. Definitely looking forward to some quality time with Kiddo and Lil’ Mo.

So there you have it – this past week in review, and some of the good things about it. After putting it all out there like that, things don’t seem so bad.

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.