Posted in advice, aging, beauty, family, friendship, humor, inner peace, Learning, Life, People

Growing Up.

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I have spent most of my life terrified of being a grown up. I thought that it would be boring, depressing, lame and embarrassing. If you asked me, the ONLY benefit of being an adult was getting to eat ice cream for breakfast…and maybe the idea that you could have a kitten without begging your mother first. Also, when I still got a tax return, I kind of liked that. Oh yeah, and I did like the whole concept of having a home of my own in which to have sex…not that NOT having one ever did much to slow me down.

I was scared of becoming irrelevant, fat, unattractive, and being forced to drive a mini-van around while young people in Miata’s drove by laughing at my sloppy middle aged pathetic ass. I mean, I thought that just naturally happened when you hit a certain age. Now, here I sit, 38- nearly 39, and it occurred to me yesterday that A) I am an adult, and have been for quite some time, B) Being an adult without being a grown up is at least as sad as driving around in a mini-van, and C) I think I am finally growing up. And I really like it.

Here are a few reasons why I think I may be growing up:

It hit me that the whole purpose of working at a job is SO THAT YOU CAN PAY FOR THINGS LIKE BILLS. I mean, obviously, the hope is that you can get to a spot where you can also buy cute shoes, go out to dinner, and maybe take a vacation once in a while. But when you are a grown up, you pay your bills first and then see what is left. Hopefully, something. Maybe you sock some away into a savings account, maybe not ( I said I was growing up, I didn’t say I was all the way there yet, cut me some slack!). But you don’t go buy the shoes, go out to dinner, and then see what you can to about paying some bills. If you do it that way, you are adding a whole lot of stress to your life. By paying bills first, at least you know that even if you hate your shoes, you’ll have light to glare at them with.  This was a big breakthrough for me.

Another thing- It can take years to reach your limit with misery. My threshold has proven to be extraordinarily high. But once you reach it, maybe go a little beyond it, then finally get the hell out of it…Well, you realize that happiness, YOUR own, personal, happiness in life is THE MOST PRECIOUS thing you have. When I am not happy, there is no way I can make my kids happy, no way I can run my life with any hope for success. So I have become as protective of this happiness as I would if it WERE one of my children. I am not willing to make the kind of decisions I have in the past that led me to misery. I just won’t do it. Which leads me to this:

As a grown up, you learn that you can trust your gut instincts. Looking back over my life, the times I did not do this, things have never gone well. I promised myself a long time ago that once I was free of my last relationship, I would never, ever, ever, ever, ever go against my gut, not ever again. Last week, I chose to honor that promise, and I have no regrets. I am not going to complicate my life until I really think it is worth it, and I am not there right now.

Most wonderful of all of my discoveries, however, is this- Being a grown up can be amazingly fun, and really liberating. You know what? I have gotten a little fat, and I don’t turn heads the way I once did. Big fucking deal! Who needs that kind of scrutiny, anyway? It really bothered me for a while, but (thank GOD) I am so okay with all of it now. I had all that, for a long time, and now it is a younger generations turn. In the meantime, I am getting down to meat and potatoes of life- connecting with friends, taking care of myself, mentally, spiritually, physically, and with great affection and care. I don’t have to spend the time I once did wondering how I looked to everyone else. And I spent an inordinate amount of time worrying about that shit.

I love the knowledge gained with age- that we really are all going to look like idiots at times, and that can be part of the fun. I love finding that growing up can exist harmoniously with having a young, fun spirit. I really love the realization that this world is so big, there are no limits on the adventures and experiences we can choose to have…the only problem I can see now is how there will ever be enough TIME. But I will cross that bridge when i get to it. 

Posted in Addiction, family, Goals, inner peace, Learning, Life, People

Rediscovering Hope

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My cat does this thing where she meows pitifully to come in, then, when I open the door, she just looks nervously in as if a pack of wolves could be standing just beyond her sight, and hesitates until I get impatient and shut the door in her face. Why, you may wonder, do I not just scoop her up and make her come in? Well, because if I do, she will just stand there looking terrified and cry until I let her back out again. Then she runs away and won’t come back until way later, even though she is probably starving to death.

This is a really good analogy for my behavior over the past…oh, Jesus, entire adulthood, I guess. Specifically, me in my addiction. There I am, at the door of everything beautiful in life, whining and crying for Gods help…for him to please let me IN. Except that He is always there for me, always opening the door, His patience is eternal. But I hesitate at the entrance, and for all of my howling, I am not really ready to come in. I perceive that the door is shut, but it is always open. I stand there, terrified when I can see that it is open, and heartbroken when I think it is closed, and I struggle to take that first step in. And God, or whatever power you choose to believe in- the Universe, lets say- knows better than to scoop me up and bring me in before I am ready, because I will bolt, and it may be a really long time before I come back to that doorstep.

I have spent months agonizing at this doorway, scared to death to let go of my misery and see what was on the other side. There are a million reasons I used to keep myself sick, most of them somehow relating to how sick I would be ( the irony here does not escape me) before I was better. Well, I am here to tell you, if you are using that excuse yourself, it’s bullshit. Sorry to ruin it for you. At the MOST, we are talking about a little discomfort, a little yuckiness…but here is the caveat- it is discomfort mixed with an amazing dollop of hope that things are about to improve, finally.

As long as you are using, there is no hope that things are going to improve, none. I am not talking about you guys who smoke weed and are okay with it. You know, I am not talking about anything at all that you are totally fine with- if you are really, truly fine with whatever you are doing, then it isn’t a problem for you. It may be a problem for everyone around you, and there’s a decent chance that you are totally lying to yourself, but I am talking specifically about those of us entrenched in our addiction who despise it, despise ourselves, and feel totally beaten, desperate and paralyzed. Scared to death at the thought that we must save ourselves FROM ourselves…I mean, how the hell does that work?

It works when you are ready for it to work, and not a minute sooner. When you are ready, you can do it. That is the truth. Here is another truth- I have memory problems. In my lifetime, I have observed that I am very similar to every other human being in most basic ways, so you may have memory problems too. I forget, over and over, who I am and what my life can be like. So there may be times of forgetfulness and backslide. I have tricked myself into believing that I was well, that I was different, that I had figured out some magic way to avoid getting caught up in the grip of my disease. I am just admitting to this in case you feel like an idiot because this has happened to you, or in case it does.

A few weeks ago, I just changed my mind. I decided I had been terrified and miserable for long enough. I missed my family and friends, I missed ME,  and I was willing to brave the yuckiness to get back to them. And you know what? It wasn’t that big of a deal. Because in the midst of it, I rediscovered hope, and hope makes everything easier to bear. A few weeks ago, I felt like life was closed off to me, and now, literally DAYS later, every door seems open, or at least approachable…and I don’t have to sit outside crying to get in.

Yesterday, I was scolding myself for something I did ( yes, I talk to myself) and I was unable to call myself “stupid”…how do you like that? I was like, “Good one, st…silly.” , and it was so funny, because it was REAL. This morning I woke up, saw myself in the bathroom mirror, and grinned. “I LIKE that girl.” I thought. These are not small things. All I can say is, it’s about time. I wish every one of you the same.