Inner Strength

It’s that time of year when thoughts go to Christmas decorations coming down, resolutions for the new year come to mind, what your “word of the year” or theme will be be. Reflection. Changes. Decluttering. Reorganizing. (And you know how I love to declutter!)

But this year, as I was contemplating all of this, I had a slightly different take on it. Yes, I still want most of the crap in my basement gone. I’ll be working on that slowly this winter. Yes, I want to lose more weight, gain more muscle, and get Linda Hamilton arms. Yes, I want to find my inner zen more easily in times in difficulty or stress. Find my breath.

I want to also let go. I want to let go of things that weigh me down, both physically and mentally. I want to start each day with a positive intention and carry it through my day, no matter what is thrown at me. I’m not trying to be unrealistic. Everyone has a bad day. Or two. Or 10. But I want to find a way, if I can, to not get bogged down with stress, or misfortune, or just general unhappiness. I want to look at it in a different way.

What can I do to change it? Make it better? Because that is all that is my power. I can’t change someone else or their situation. I can fix me. I can fix my outlook. I can change my reaction. I can change what comes out of my mouth (which has got me in trouble more than a little!) and I can certainly change my perception.

So what weighs us down? A bad relationship that you know is not serving you and your interests anymore? Are you staying for the wrong reasons with a friend, a spouse, a lover? Are you spending more time bitching about this person instead of finding ways to improve it? Can you admit your part in it to help you find closure? That’s a tough one! It’s so much easier to place all the blame on the other person, but does that really help you feel better when you close your eyes at night?

Finding out what you need, what you really truly need, and then making that happen is what you can control. And what a wonderful feeling. Sometimes, the only thing you can control is your own breath. The world feels like it’s falling apart all around you and the only thing you can do for those first few moments is breathe. My yogi tells us to listen to our breath. Listen to it. Control it. Slow it. Regain your footing. When you feel you’re on solid ground, then start over. But you’ll have a harder time regaining your own footing when you’re relying on someone else for that. Trying to hold on to the broken friendship, the crumbled marriage, the relationship you thought was going somewhere turned out in the light of morning to not be what you hoped it would be. What then? Do you blame the friend, the spouse, for their failure in making you happy?

The guilt that comes with letting go of those relationships can be overwhelming too. We try and try and try to make it work. We don’t want to give up on years of that friendship. Or think we should stay in a marriage for the kids. Don’t we lose ourselves in that process? I’ve spoken before about the great loss I went through losing a friend of decades and how I didn’t know how to cope, how to deal and move forward. It seriously was harder than my divorce. More tears were shed, more sleepless nights, more self doubt and constant questioning shouting in my head. I couldn’t make her take me back. I couldn’t make her want me in her life. I couldn’t make her see how completely devastated I was. But through all that, I learned how to find myself that I had lost.

This year, this year is about finding my inner strength. Mind, body and spirit. I’m going to push myself to do things I never would have thought to try. I’m going to do things I always wanted to do but was afraid to. (Maybe time for my tattoo on my shoulder??) I’m going to allow myself to be a bit selfish. To think of what I want, what I need, and making it happen. I’m going find my inner zen. It’s going to be a challenge, and it’s going to stretch me out of my comfort zone as a people pleaser and a habitual “fixer”. And I’m thankful for 2014 teaching me that I can’t fix anyone but me. And what a waste of time it has been to try.

Namaste.

Balance

100

This day took much longer to arrive than I first envisioned it. I thought it would happen by last summer at the latest, but here we are, the first full week of March 2014! Wow. And in it’s own way, it caused me to delay another few days because I had to really think and narrow it down.

This is my 100th blog post. I feel like the elementary school kid on his “100 days of school” project, with 100 M&M’s. Oooooo, M&M’s. No! Not on the “it’s almost spring” plan. So many amazing, wonderful, exciting, scary, sad, and joyful things have happened in the past 100 posts.

I started my blog January 1, 2013. I had so much encouragement before I even started from friends who kept saying “You should write a blog”. I had never even contemplated it before. So I dove in. What did I have to lose? Well, as it turns out, a lot.

Part of who I am is always on my sleeve, which is why I thought doing this would be easy. I tell people what I think, I try to be tactful but it doesn’t always work out that way, and I am loyal (to a scary fault) to my friends. But if you hurt me, or my kids, or my family, the gloves are off. I regret that in some instances. I don’t in others. I found myself struggling more often than not on how to express myself through my blog, which just seemed strange and foreign to me. And the more I struggled with it, the more I fretted over it. Vicious cycle.

So some days I would write, and delete the whole thing before I published. And then I would cry out of frustration. (Everyone here knows I can cry at the drop of a hat right? Yep. Kleenex commercials used to get me every.single.time. It’s the curse of someone who is too touchy feely and emotional, but it’s also part of why you always know where you stand with me) Over the past 100 posts I’ve tried to get myself to forgive myself over not having the perfect blog, gaps in the days and imperfect sentence structure/punctuation/grammar/run-on-sentences/over-use of parenthesis (but I really LIKE using parenthesis because it makes me feel like I’m actually talking to you instead of just writing. Like a little sidebar in our conversation.)

There have been so many changes over the past 100 posts. I started yoga last spring and love it more every week. I have lost weight, I have been able to do things I never thought my middle aged un-bendy body could do and even with some of my limitations from my surgeries, I have learned that I can try. If I can’t do it, oh trust me, I get very frustrated with myself and then spend 5 minutes trying to get it out of my head that I couldn’t do it, but I tried. Some of the muscles in my legs may never work the way they should. But I can try. I can modify. I’m doing something I never thought I would do and that’s pretty amazing in itself. I have one of my closest friends to thank for the push to go and I have made some new friends with an amazingly strong group of women who do nothing but encourage and cheer each other on. Simply life altering and such a blessing.

I have had friends who got married (for the “next time”, cuz really, at our age, do we need to count? No!) and some who got divorced. Sometimes it’s for the better, sometimes it was blind-sided agony. I think one thing I have learned over the past 100 posts is that at our age, for our generation, it is ok to be happy. I’m not advocating divorce. I’m not saying that vows taken shouldn’t be held to the highest standard. You said you would take that person to be your spouse for your life, you said it in front of friends, family and God. It’s not something to be taken lightly. I also believe that friends, family and God want you happy. Sometimes there are circumstances that are out of your control. Things happen. Sometimes, things don’t happen, or change or grow.

I’ve seen my oldest son grow and flourish and become the wonderful man I knew was in there. He just needed to let him come out from the shadow of the frat boy. I think men take longer at this than women do. But now that he has, my heart just bursts with pride over him and how amazing he continues to be. The youngest has grown into a young man with a job, and a kid who makes me laugh daily. He has the heart of a gentle giant. His struggles with school I have documented over the past 100 posts and it continues to be such a hurdle for him. It breaks my heart. He tries harder than most kids with little to show of it. And let me give a bit of advice if I may. All kids who have learning disabilities do not have signs stapled to their foreheads. It does not mean he is not intelligent. It does not mean he will not be successful. It means he learns outside the box. Just because he is not in AP classes or on the honor roll does not mean he is below your child. That makes me so angry.

My horrible, awful, please-why-won’t-they-just-MOVE-already neighbors are still here and some how managed to get out of yet another foreclosure proceeding. I seriously don’t understand it. How many times does this have to happen? Oh, and in case you were wondering, as of this writing, yes, yes they do still have Christmas decorations up. In March. Sigh. I have resigned myself to the fact that I will be moving before they do. Oh, did I mention that I am now on our HOA Board? Yea. Yea I am.

 

I am hoping to hit my 200th blog before the end of this year. I am thankful to all my followers from all over the world. I am thankful to the people who have contacted me through email, through Facebook, through the blog, that I have impacted them in some way. Please keep the feedback coming. I love it. And I love you for reading this. Here’s the next 100!! CHEERS!!!!  

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Housewives and husbands at home

Today my husband worked from home. He can do that, thankfully, because he can do his job from basically anywhere there is a computer connection. It’s a blessing most days. A curse on others. He can’t always get away from work, even when we’re on vacation, or out to dinner, or other very inappropriate times.

Today, however, is an exception. He drives a truck that we bought brand new, literally off the show room floor. 12 years ago. Last night on his way home, it was acting up, so he dropped it off at the wonderful Tuffy across the street from us. So guess what that means? Yep. He’s working from home today.

So here’s what goes through my mind when he’s here: Is she really going to eat THAT for breakfast? When is she going to take a shower? Is she going to keep flipping through the channels? But the biggest, loudest voice inside my head is What does she DO all day??

The life of a stay at home mom is not glamorous, but it’s also not jam packed every single day with back to back to back action items that could be cataloged on a spreadsheet. Some days I have only enough time to eat half of a cold bagel in the car as I go non stop til time to pick up after school. Some days, I have nothing pressing to do but catch on my Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (or Orange County, or New York, or New Jersey….but who’s counting?) on the DVR while the laundry is going.

Today is one of those days. Oh, I showered before 8am, had a Greek yogurt for breakfast, and the 4th load of laundry is still going. So I’ve snuck off with my iPad to the bedroom so I can watch General Hospital.

Shhhhh, don’t tell him I’m in here.