For a girl who always “does,” I feel stuck.
I am 45 years-old and in a state of mental panic.
It’s weird, because when I was 21 and just out of college, the same mental panic consumed me. But it was much more pressing, more real.
At 21, I had no money, no life lived.
At 45, I have both.
And yet I am stuck-er than I was over twenty years ago.
One would think that having life experiences such that I have had would render me wiser, less anxious, and more resolute in knowing not to worry.
And those things are all true. I am wiser, less anxious and completely know that tomorrow will worry about itself. Paradoxically, though, because I am acutely aware and more seasoned, I am even more troubled on a daily basis about what to do. What I have done. What I should be doing.
I’m like Julius Caesar over here with a giant new-to-market Julian calendar whose pages are being ripped apart EVERY SINGLE DAY with nothing written on them. No X’s signifying to my check-list and goal-oriented brain that the day was well spent and meaningful.
People tell me often, “Wow! I have no idea how you get everything done that you do!” Immediately thereafter, the inevitable follow-up question is asked disrespectfully – before I even have time to ask myself if I noticeably rolled my eyes or audibly sighed:
“How do you do it all?”
It’s ridiculous, really. Not what I do, but that they ask. Because the two thoughts that instantly try to catapult themselves out of my mouth in self-defense are: How do you NOT do it all and I am not really doing anything; I need to do more.
This, being seasoned and all, I realize, is not the right answer or train of thought. At the same time, as I mentally multi-task and dig deep to secure a personal response-refrain best, I realize this entire talk track, both internally and externally, makes me tired.
And I have a freaking marathon to run tomorrow.
“How can you run that far?!”
“How can you NOT?”
Seriously, it is my every day.
I guess somewhere in all this, like with all things, is a blessing and a curse.
There is not one ounce of my being that does not understand and appreciate the blessings I have. That I can get up every day and breathe air when years ago, that was questionable. That I can run, when some people cannot walk. That I can think, when some people are afflicted with so many thoughts or scars or ailments that if they tried to, it would ruin them.
That my daughter is able to live on her own, and she is happy and healthy and well-adjusted when other people’s children are not.
The list goes on.
And that makes me tired, too.
I rarely slash never do what I am supposed to.
Let me rephrase: if someone tells me what to do the answer is no. Immediately and always, even if I know it is right. Or, even more stubbornly slash embarrassingly, even if it is what I want to do. I will somehow reframe whatever it is so it becomes a new idea or thought and thus, is mine. I am the originator of the idea. Then, and only then, it is great!
It doesn’t matter how significant or mundane of an idea or action. From how much salt equals a pinch to an entire life change, please don’t tell me what to do or else you will be forced to reframe your own question from “How do you do it all?” to “Why don’t you ever listen?”
Except, I am actively, right here, right now (Hi, Van Halen!) in the throes of changing.
Because the little band monkey with that crazy drum hat beating the left side of my brain is also tired. He has been running back and forth to the other side of my head for FORTY-FIVE YEARS. I mean, who’s the real marathoner here?
Running 26.2 miles is a beast. But change is beast-ier.
I have legitimately regressed into bad relational (fine, marital) behaviors. You know, those jerks primarily called selfishness and impatience instead of your (or my) actual husband’s name. And it has been somehow, shockingly, even more annoying than water drops on the kitchen floor and gross bathrooms.
Now, like is the case with all relationships, marriage is a two-way street. Thus, thankfully my husband jerkily had an idea which was not mine. For those of you who know us well, it will come as no surprise that I went kicking and screaming over the “discussion” part of the “let’s get on the same page thing” because it emphasized feelings. Ew. No. No words, just action is how I roll. Which yeah, yeah, may be somewhat hypocritical coming from someone who spews and writes words at a rate faster than cereal is consumed in our house, but whatever – none of this was my idea.
Though I will admit, it’s been great so far. Knowing that there is a place we both want to get to, are committed to getting to, and the whole thing involves a book…
Well, I became slightly less obstinate about it and more unstuck. Plus, I like him a lot in addition to loving him, so fine.
My running buddies and I have a common phrase we pretend to be begrudged by saying before beginning a long training run: “It’s not gonna run itself. Let’s go.”
And so we do.
And we eventually cross the line with a sense of so much accomplishment and never-give-up-ittde that there are no words to sufficiently describe it.
Marriage doesn’t run itself either. Which is a shame, because, you know, there’s so much else to do.
[Fine. Again. Change.]
Being in step, I’m pretty sure, is a helpful approach to becoming unstuck.
Let’s hope, too, that it’s helpful to cross one more line tomorrow.
P.S. For the record, I am also stuck when it comes to writing. I am the world’s most consummate procrastinator when it comes to “figuring out” what to write about. Or, when to do it, should I do it, how do you do it, why have other people done it and I haven’t, etc. etc. I am 17 chapters into a “book,” which I’m also pretty sure needs to be rewritten (already). How do I know this? Oh, well, because a “Writer’s Conference” I paid $150 to attend last week told me so. (And also, parenthetically, taught me how many times is “too many” to use quotations.)
Kidding. I didn’t have time to attend that session.