I’m having a hard time figuring out when to step up and in and when to step out.
This year, I’ve been working on staying positive and staying healthy. That’s it.
Here’s how it is breaking down so far:
- At my job, I’m trying to figure out how to manage it all in a way that doesn’t make me hate myself, others, or the job itself for 9 months out of the year. “Managing” means making sure I don’t take on too much but still stay engaged and remain effective in my teaching. I’ve tried to keep it simple with two basic rules: 1) give myself a cut-off point, even if it’s not all done, so that I can really claim an evening and/or a weekend, and 2) if it’s too much, cut back on something or take a day off if absolutely necessary to restore the balance.
- In my home life, which is still in transition as Newman and Free and I try to figure out what blended family life means for us, I am focusing on remaining patient, open, attentive, and appreciative. I find myself needing to catch my breath sometimes and remember where my feet are placed in the dance of taking care of my two main squeezes. I am trying to make sure I allow them to do the same; we all need our own space to learn the steps or create some new ones.
- With this blog, I have re-entered the routine of regular writing, and it has allowed me to gently tread into the realm of occasional creative freewriting as well as the more regular reflective pieces that help me work through some issues and gain perspective. It feels good to be finding a regular rhythm with that.
- With my health, I am trying to set reasonable goals but not let myself get too competitive or too down on myself if life gets in the way. I want to work out regularly and eat healthy foods, but if, on occasion, the seasonal depression hits too hard and calls me to my bed instead of a treadmill, I know from experience that I need to listen to that call. After a month of Fab Ab February, I can feel some tight, hard muscles in my tummy region; there’s still a layer of winter gut over the bottom half, but I can feel the strength that is getting ready to blaze once the snow melts and the days grow longer and I can run more regularly.
After two months, I can say I’ve made progress on all fronts. (Yay! The crowd goes wild!) The problem is that when things are going ok, the pressure mounts to set up new goals, and sometimes I feel that this is exactly what gets me into trouble.
Here’s the crux of it: how do I know when I’m setting myself up for failure and stress vs. setting myself up for a healthy challenge that will help me grow?
Here’s the deal: the Kristens have invited me to join them in a half-marathon race in Virginia in June. It has sent me into mini-crisis mode. Yes, tears have been shed. (Not a lot, but still.) I am feeling a lot of turmoil. I want to do it, and I think I can do it, but both of these women have done this and much more before, and I have not. I don’t want to compete with them or feel upset when I pale in comparison to them. I want to try, but I don’t know if I can do it. I just barely came back from the dark side where I was required to call my doctor for an anti-anxiety prescription. Is it healthy for me to take this on right now?
The pros: I have support. Newman says he’ll help any way he can and come with me too. The women I would run with would support me too; I know any competition or envy I would feel would come from my own head and not from them. I know they will inspire me, and I know I would feel sad to not be with them when they run. It would be inspiring for Free to know I set a goal and met it. It would mean a getaway for me and Newman. I would have a concrete goal and enough time to meet it without killing myself.
Sigh. I see where this is headed.
The cons: It’s going to be expensive for me, and I’m trying to save money. (It is my year for a tax refund though, so I can afford it.) I don’t know if I can take the time to travel. (But it does come at the end of the school year when my course load is lighter.) I have a million worries that I won’t be able to do it. I once trained for a half-marathon that I didn’t run because I became pregnant and ill and didn’t want to risk anything. I remember it being tough. (But this race has wine stops, so technically, just finishing it could be my goal.)
Arrrghhhhh. Dammit. I think I might do it. Will I regret it?
What has helped me this year so far with the successes I’ve had is remembering the pleasure principle. In any particular moment, I’m trying to tune into why I’m doing something and how it will make me feel in both the immediate aftermath and the long-term scenario. If I can take that moment to calculate that equation, it usually helps me make a good decision. So with this decision, I’m weighing the fact that it will give me a solid goal and path toward what I want anyway (more consistent exercise) as long as I can remove the pressure of having to be as fabulous as I want to be in the actual performance. I mean, I’m almost 40. Isn’t it time to be in the place where choosing to run and training and then finishing the race is the success itself and not what time I get?
So here is what I will remind myself of throughout the process that is ahead: I should choose to step in when something challenges me in a way that is all about my own pleasure or passion (not when it’s about meeting anyone else’s expectations). My goal is to run and finish and have a good time. That’s it. Let’s keep this one simple, folks.
Alright, I’m in.
Postscript: I waited too long, and the race registration is closed. I feel like an eejit, as they say in Ireland. There’s a lesson here, but I’m too frustrated to spell it out.
Maybe it’s meant to be? Nah, I don’t believe in that. I should have just checked Facebook sooner and done my stewing last night. Yeah, that’s the lesson.
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