Sunday, August 12, 2012

Finding Forty; Sunday Blues

I've got a mean case of the Sunday blues.   The storm clouds blew in this afternoon around 4 and since then I just can't seem to get myself out from under their ominous shadow.

Crying didn't help, nor did snacking (does it ever?), offering to watch a movie with the boys, folding laundry, walking aimlessly around the house, etc, etc.

When I get this way, admittedly, it's hard for me to snap out of it.   I tend to start dwelling in my head, with my heart bearing the full brunt of the thoughts that sneak in.

I know I'm sad about having to sit in an all day meeting tomorrow.   The truth is, I'm not ready for school to start back up just yet.   I've had a very hard summer in many ways and having the freedom to spend my days leisurely has most likely been my saving grace.    Each day that passes signals the end of this era, this small chapter in my life and typically, I'd embrace that, but on this Sunday evening, I don't.

I'm sad about changes in my life of late.  

I feel so bad about my marriage ending.   I miss A's friendship and support.   For all of our mishaps and misfortune, he was a great person and a good friend and I threw that away.   I feel really stupid.

  I miss having someone to help me remember to water the grass, unload the dishwasher, touch in the middle of the night.  I miss J.   During the parts of the week that we are able to be together, I'm in heaven.   Happy, satisfied, comfortable and excited to see how our relationship blossoms.

When we have to be apart, I feel lonely, lost, off track.   I hate it.

I know that I must learn to live alone.   Be alone.  And there are moments when that is a very doable and agreeable task.   But not on Sunday nights.   At least not yet.

Tonight 'm apathetic, blah, moody and tearful.  

Maybe I'll just brush my teeth, don my pajamas and go to bed.  That's one way to get past Sunday.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Finding Forty: Bubbles

I think I live in a bubble.  Self inflated, of course.  

It's finally dawning on me that A and I cannot be friends.  At least not yet.   We both need distance, space, time to let the oozing, raw wounds heal.   Time to sort our frazzled brains and pick up the pieces of our shattered hearts.

It makes sense that he would not want to see me or be around me.   And I feel selfish for letting that hurt my feelings.   I destroyed his.   The least I could do is give him some space.

When I'm in my bubble, I can pretend that life is nice and easy.  Things work out just fine.  My  happy ending is just a page or two away.

I've yet to watch a bubble float through the air and not burst.  Poof!  Gone.

I do miss him, though.   A.    I've dreamed about him the past two nights.  Sad, lonely dreams where I reach out to hug him or hold him and I'm met with cold indifference.    Do dreams really mean anything anyway?

In my waking hours, I think constantly of J, my new love.   The person whose friendship continues to deepen, whose love continues to grow.   I haven't written about him much because I cherish what we have and I don't want to jump the gun.   I don't want to be the way I was about S-impetuous, foolish, ridiculous.    I want to know.  I want to be careful.  I want the roots to be firmly planted, solid and strong.

I also want to continue to work on me.  Just being me.  Being alone.  Learning to love myself and be okay with where I am.   I honestly feel like I'm doing better with that.

I'd like to think I've learned from my mistakes.   I'd like to know that there are more to make, but that life is full of doing and being and learning and forgiveness.

I hope A feels that same way.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Finding Forty: Redemption Run

It's 1984, some random spring day.  I'm in 9th grade and our school, Elysian Fields High, is hosting a track meet.   Always wanting to be a part of the mix, I'd signed up to run track, despite having zero aptitude for competive running.    My event:  the 3200m run.

While I loved the workouts and being with my best friends, I hated the track meets.   I wasn't good, had zero faith in myself, and felt embarrassed and horrified every single, slow, laborious step around all 8 laps of the track.

On that particular day, I was feeling worse than usual.   It could have been teenage angst or the fact that my heart was about to beat out of my chest because of the diet pills I was taking in an effort to lose weight.   Regardless, on that day, I was miserable.

The race was like all the others in my track career.   Painful and humiliating.   I hated being so slow, feeling like all eyes were on me, pitying my performance.   Rather than endure and perservere, in a moment of impulisivity, I stepped off the track, mid run, and quit.

As soon as my foot hit the grass, I instantly regretted not finishing the race, not seeing through to the end something I'd begun.   I was ashamed and felt like I'd let people coach, my parents, my friends, and more importantly, myself.

Over the years, I've never let go of that moment, despite having now run a full marathon, six half marathons, and a thousand more miles on the streets of my neighborhood and around Austin.

In a moment of self revelation and introspective talk with my oldest son, I told him the story of me not finishing this race and how I'd always regretted that decision.

Without blinking an eye or hesitating, he said, "Well Mom, I think you should run those two miles again the next time we go visit Aunt Michelle."    And I knew that he was onto something.

Fast forward 28 years and I'm standing on the starting line of the Elyisan Fields track.   It's a humid Friday morning in August and this time I'm alone.  I'm 42, not 14 and I'm scared.   I've run two miles a ton of times, but I feel nervous.   I wonder if my legs will be lead, if my self talk will remind me of my failure, if I'll flashback to those moments of loathing and insecurity.

I start my RunKeeper app on my phone and set off.   There will be no wind assistance, but I do get to listen to some of my favorite songs on my running playlist.    Mostly though, I'm listening to myself.

And what I hear is amazing.  

Instead of self hate and doubt, I find that I am awash with love and respect for the woman I've grown to be.

I have a friend who teases me about making everything a metaphor for life, but in this moment, I can't think of a better example.

With each step I take, I am more sure of this.

I'm jogging 2 miles, determined to finish and give it my all.   I have 3 amazing children, 1 marriage that has 'run' it's own beautiful, bittersweet, heartbreaking course,  a heaping handful of regrets, and a lifetime of infinite possibilities.

In this moment, despite the sweat that's pouring into my eyes, salty and wet, I am okay.  Dare I say, even happy?

My life is much like a long distance run.   There are periods of anguish, dull aching pain, free spirited leaps and bounds, and the elusive 'runner's high'.     There are a series of starting guns and personal bests, but also days when walking, crawling, or even staying in bed are the choices I make.

I've learned that there's not just one finish line.   As soon as you cross one threshold, life presents you with another opportunity to decide which path you will take, which course you will traverse.   

My path has been varied, full of moments of heartbreaking pain and happiness so intense you think you can't breathe.   I've known love that overwhelms and overflows.   I am blessed.

The finish line for this particular race on this day looms ahead and I surge towards it.   I know that I'm doing well (for me) and as I step across the line, I'm quite pleased.

I've just run 2.04 miles in 17:06.   Not too shabby for this old girl.   I smile, big and beaming, and pretend I"m 14 again and I've just finished that race, the one I thought I couldn't handle all those years ago.   

There are more finish lines in the distance, more running to do, so much more life to live with all it's pain and glory.

And there I'll be.   Taking it one step at a time.   Moving forward, not stepping off.