Posted in adventure, aging, Dreams, fun, Goals, Life, Musings, People

It’s Time

live

In my head, there is an alternate reality, an entire life that contains all (most) of the same people that my actual life holds, with some pointed differences. In the life unfolding in my head, we do a lot more travelling. We do things that I am afraid of ( i.e., pretend to hate) such as camping- I can see myself and my daughter smiling around a campfire, looking up at the stars. In this alternate life, there are other differences, too. We are much better at togetherness, and I don’t mean laying in bed together while one of us watches season two of The Office (me), and the other one watches other people play video games on their tablet (her). I mean actual togetherness, laughing and eating waffle cones full of fresh churned ice cream at some food festival in Maine kind of togetherness.

In my imagined life, I am more organized, I am not such a freaking hoarder, the rooms in my home are neat and sensible, and I have tracked down the source of the moldy smell in the big bathroom and eradicated it. We get homework done without crying (that could be either of us on a bad day) and Cam reads to me without stubbornly insisting that she doesn’t know how, even though we both know she can read just fine when SHE feels like it. Or better yet, instead of pretending like she hates Harry Potter, she begs me to keep reading. In my other life, I always have extra blankets, nice ones, clean and folded neatly, in the linen closet. And I have a linen closet.

There is nothing wrong with the life I already have- as a matter of fact, it’s pretty great. But could it use some fine tuning? Um, yes. For the first time in memory, however, I already have all the main ingredients needed to make the leap from the actual-life-I-am-living to the-life-in-my-head. All I need to do is figure out the right measurements. Reduce the generous helping of pure laziness to maybe a pinch or two, and double the amount of effort and elbow grease. Buy some garbage bags, make a few trips to Goodwill to drop off the 17 pairs of “goal jeans” that, let’s be honest, if they ever do fit again, they aren’t even going to be in style anymore. I have an entire drawer filled with shirts that I dig through every day, and refuse to wear any of them. Why? What am I keeping them for, then?

For some reason, a truly clean house- like, every nook and cranny clean- plays a central role in my fantasy life. I have no idea what that has to do with food festivals in Maine or camping, but I guess it would make packing easier. It would definitely make coming home from a trip away more pleasant. In true ADHD fashion, though, cleaning properly is never a straightforward event for me. It involves a lot of half finished projects that stall out when I get distracted by something else that needs to be done, over and over, until I drop from exhaustion, leaving the house looking ten times worse than it did when I started. This is not an exaggeration, this has actually happened to me before.

But here is the thing- I KNOW there is a way to make this other life happen. I KNOW it. I can feel it in my bones, that I can have the life I want. I just need to keep taking steps towards it, every day, no matter what. There have been plenty of times when I got off work and wanted to veg on the couch and binge watch whatever thing I am currently into, but instead chose to push myself a little harder to get a few more things done…and it felt great! I need to choose to do that more often, instead of occasionally. It’s amazing, the amount of energy I find myself to have, compared to what I think I do.

My 20’s and 30’s were a blur…most of it, I wasted on self loathing and addiction, and the times when I actually had my act together, I was desperately trying to catch up, or to keep my family from going under. But there was always the sense that I had ample time to figure it out. I am 43 now, and although that is not old, there is definitely a feeling of “It’s time”. Time to pull it all the way together, or as much as I can. Time to take all of the trips and clean all of the closets, and generally figure shit out. Before my knees start protesting, and my back starts being really difficult, and my hormones jump ship, or whatever hormones do when they get old.

There is absolutely nothing standing in my way for once, except for me. And I refuse to be the reason my life falters anymore. I’ve done that for as long as I can remember, and it has never served me, not once. So I am going to challenge myself to try harder, dig deeper, and really start living the juiciest, most exciting, most awesome life ever. In a super clean house, naturally. Now excuse me, I need to go order some camping gear.

Posted in Blogging, family, kids, Learning, Life, Musings, People, random

6th Time’s a Charm?

charm

Hi! You probably think I have been avoiding you, but let me just clear that up right away- it totally isn’t you, it’s me. I’ve just been…meh. By “meh”, I mean- indifferent, blank minded, disinterested, just BLAH. I am trying to push through that right now, since I have basically decided that no matter how badly this blog sucks today, I am just hitting publish anyway. I apologize ahead of time for that.

Actually, I have written- a total of 6 blogs, none of which I felt compelled to share with the world upon their completion. The truth is, where usually, the thoughts and words just flow forth, and somehow, as if by magic, the end presents itself rather neatly- that hasn’t been happening recently. I honestly don’t know what is going on, and I haven’t been in the mood to try to figure it out (back to the disinterested thing again), I just figured I would leave it alone for a minute, and come back later. I certainly didn’t mean for it to be three weeks!

I have been feeling the strangest way, lately, and it really makes me nervous. You know, I have been through some STUFF in my lifetime (most of it self-inflicted) and I have been down about as low as a person can get. The thing is, I always had this little spark in my heart, or a determined spirit, this thing that propelled me forward, made me push back when life tried to take me out. The reason I am a little nervous, lately, is because I am just not feeling that right now. I know that I am capable of great strength- I have proven this to myself again and again, and yet…I’m just so goddamned TIRED. I already know that I am strong and capable- why do I need to constantly be? That is what I want to know…when the f%@k can I just relax?

And I know, I know- I am the one who put myself exactly where I am. I chose to have another child at 35, which definitely changed the trajectory of my life. I do not regret that for a moment. I also chose, almost a year ago, to disentangle my life from the life of my daughters father, making me a single mom, yet AGAIN. This also was a significant change to the structure of my world. I still feel it was my best option at that time, and what needed to happen, but you know…I think it has been HARD. I Β mean, WAY harder than I thought it would be. This past year, though good in so many ways, has been exhausting. I am trying to find my footing, to figure out how to be this super-mom, devote myself to my family and my career, try to fit in writing, try to take care of myself, try to take care of the dogs, the house, the bills, all the money (or lack thereof). Jesus Christ, no wonder I feel like I’m shell shocked…when you lay it all out like that, it doesn’t sound so crazy, does it?

Anyway…I also think that maybe I have gotten so used to responding like a champ to a crisis, I may not really know how to rise to the occasion of every day life. Like, I am only my best self when I absolutely have to be. Right now, I have been at my job for nearly seven secure years, which, if you are me, is like- I don’t know, nothing short of miraculous, honestly. This month marks the third year I have lived in my current house, another first for me. I don’t do this- keep jobs, phone numbers, addresses…even my hair color has been dramatically unchanged for quite a while now. And consistency is great- for kids, I hear, anyway. In all honesty, it has given me a chance, for the first time ever, to kind of figure out what is going on in my life. I’ve been still enough to see myself.

Maybe THAT is the bigger issue- maybe, for the first time ever, without any outside intrusion, without anyone else to distract me, I can see myself. Perhaps I have been settled for long enough to understand the parts of me that need a little work, instead of rushing off to the next place, or thing, or whatever, and sweeping the bigger issues under the rug. My rugs are no more- just me and the issues. I think that may be exactly what is going on, and I don’t think I am entirely comfortable with that. But, I’m a firm believer that everything happens exactly when and how it is supposed to, for the reason it is supposed to, and that it always works out in the end. So, I guess I will wait, and try to be patient.

Hmm…well, I hope that made a modicum of sense, and that perhaps one person who reads this will take something useful from it. It certainly served its purpose for me! I wrote some sense right into my head, how do you like that? Well, here you go- I guess it’s better than nothing. If not, well…there’s always the next one. Talk to you soon…I hope.

Posted in beauty, escape, family, friendship, inner peace, Life, Musings, People, random

Miracles

everything-is-a-miracle

I have been very busy this past two months, with vacation and then getting settled back in, then the first of July came, and I have been pouring all of my energy into writing for Camp Nanowrimo. I have sat down here a time or two and started to write something, and then, every time, something happened to pull me away from it.

That’s a bit of a miracle in itself, you know, speaking of miracles- (Um, the title, in case you missed that. πŸ™‚ ). You see, a few months ago, before I decided that it was time to start living my life right again, people weren’t exactly knocking my door down to come visit. My phone didn’t ring much, and I got the impression, when I did talk to people, that I made them very tired, or nervous, or both.

What has happened since I got clean is that I have gotten a real life again, and with all of that, it can get a bit overwhelming for an addict who isn’t using. We tend to be a little extra touchy about shit, anyway, to be honest with you- lots of times, it’s what got us into this whole mess in the first place, the fact that we feel things a bit more intensely than other people, and have fewer healthy coping skills. Sometimes, we didn’t start off that way, but years of abuse to our poor nervous systems leaves us frazzled. Anyway, for people who have lived in addiction for years, even the good parts of life can be overwhelming and upsetting.

I forgot about that. I forgot how disheartening it can be, to see how easily other people seem to navigate their lives when every day can be such a struggle for me. I am as disorganized, mentally, as I am literally, and it gets frustrating. Simple things can make me want to throw the towel in because I get so overwhelmed. Cleaning the house makes me unfailingly angry, because I am always floored by how bad it is, while living in a mess in also intolerable. I have to take a lot of breaks throughout the day just to talk myself down from ledges, mentally. My impulse control is just wretched, sometimes, and it takes a lot just to keep me from lashing out. I am telling you all this because I know I often expound on all of the positive, great stuff, and I want to be clear that I have just as many bad, embarrassing, lame issues as everyone else. Perhaps even a few more than average.

But I STILL believe in miracles…and you know why? Because, in spite of all of this, all of the outbursts, instability, and frustration, I still don’t use drugs. In spite of the fact that I could probably make quick work of losing these 20 nasty pounds that I have packed on, and have my house spic and span by tomorrow morning, I still wouldn’t do it, no way. Even though I am going through some really sad, uncomfortable, and painful stuff with my ex right now regarding our daughter, and it would feel really, really good to feel NOTHING…I have finally been able to grasp that dope is not a viable solution for me. That my children deserve better, and so do I. That if I were to give in, I would be losing before I ever got started. If that isn’t a miracle, I don’t know what is.

I have lost this battle so many times. The fact that I still keep trying is a miracle. I have hurt the people I love more times than I could ever count. The fact that they can forgive me, and love me anyway, is a miracle. I have abused my body beyond what it ever should have had to endure. The fact that I am still healthy, intact, and, amazingly, not a hideous, toothless old hag, is a miracle. I have a great job, beautiful children, a house by the beach, two dogs, three cats, a mom and a dad and a brother and sister who love me…I have friends who value my opinion and want to spend their time with me. Every one of those things is a miracle.

I could choose to focus on the things that I suck at, that I am inept and inadequate at handling. I could spend all day long listing the shit that is wrong with me. I don’t know who would wind up feeling worse, me or you! But if I had to tell you just one thing that is right in my life today, I would tell you this- I am a miracle. Whatever force you choose to believe in, that thing is working in me right now, helping me write this to share with you. I will never regret my past because without it, I may never have been able to see THIS- that my life is beautiful exactly the way it is.

Posted in Addiction, Goals, inner peace, Learning, Life, Musings, People, random, Uncategorized

Getting Settled

Hello, my WordPress friends…I am so sorry to have gone so long between posts. I have been pecking away at a new novel, reading until my eyeballs fall out, and wandering around, marveling at this razor sharp, undiluted view of life poking at me from all sides. You know, it is not all fun and games, sobriety. It certainly isn’t easy for those of my persuasion. There is no buffer, anymore, between myself and all this rude reality. And the rose colored glasses, they never stay on for very long. Something along the lines of thirty days, I would guess.

This is not to say that I have any urge or desire to use drugs, because I don’t. Thankfully, something finally clicked inside of me that made it so that I can actually remember what it would REALLY be like, if I got high. Not fun. But there is something weird that goes on…I don’t know how to describe it. It’s almost like depression, but not really. It’s like I am living my life with the volume turned WAY down, whereas, before, I had been blowing out my speakers. So really, my life is at a “normal” volume, but my ears are kinda messed up…does that make sense?

I know now, though, that it is my responsibility to go out and get lively when I am feeling less than excited about things. I know now that drugs are not, and never were, the answer. Only right now, I am struggling with the pace of my life. I haven’t figured out how to be exactly who I want to be, yet, and I am impatient. I am trying hard to be kind to myself, but I am super critical, and I have such high expectations of myself. I hold myself to a very high standard, because I know what I am capable of. I am a realist, as well, and I know the areas where I sort of lack strength, but I can’t seem to go any easier on myself when I don’t do well…or when I don’t try hard enough.

This is a new phase of my life, and I am getting settled. But I am also setting a precedent, and I know I need to be choosy. As much as it is an ongoing process, I am a creature of habit, married to my many routines, and I want to be careful what I accept as okay right now. I am cleaning house, literally and figuratively, purging myself of so many things I have carried around for far too long. It isn’t easy for me to part with things- even things I don’t love, and things that no longer serve me. I am sentimental, but there is also a lot of fear…and holding onto things out of fear has never served me yet.Β 

I had a yard sale this weekend, both days. Today, I went totally nuts, and started dragging stuff out of the house that I was actually using! Two small dressers, an end table I hated, a big, bulky TV stand. When no one bought them, I was a little relieved…but then I realized I STILL didn’t like those things, and I didn’t want them anymore. I left them outside, posted a curb alert on Craigslist, and went on with my life. My house doesn’t seem any emptier without them…in fact, I am starting to find more and more things I neither want nor need. Every time I get anxious about letting go, I gently remind myself that I am making room for something that I love.

And that is how my life is, I guess. I am a little lonely, lately, having lost touch with many friends because we aren’t living the same life, these days…but I am trying to get right INSIDE, and I have a lot of work to do. I am making room in my life, just like my home, for things that I LOVE. Not just whatever I pick up along the way, but things of quality, of my choosing.

This is the hard part, I know. But I am okay. And when all is said and done, I will look around, and within, and it will be beautiful. I hope there is something meaningful for you in that. Sometimes, I get more out of what I am writing than I think anyone else will, reading it. Have a beautiful night.

Posted in Uncategorized

A New Phase

 

 

For some odd reason, I had it in my head that phases are something we go through early in life, then we grow up, and we become these solid, stable, unchanging, humans. It’s kind of unfortunate, and has caused me all kinds of unnecessary grief, that I am only now realizing the truth- that change truly is the one constant in our lives, and phases are a natural, healthy part of that. You see, I thought I was some kind of failure for my sense of unrest, my need to do something else, be different, want more. I guess I thought this was a symptom of unhappiness of something.

As I wrote in my last post, the realization dawned on me, recently, that, for me, not only is this desire natural, but it is a survival instinct. When I am still for too long, when I am bored, and not reaching for the next thing, I am in danger of self destruction. Now, I am not saying that a little stability is a bad thing, don’t get me wrong. I have had the same job for almost seven years now, have lived in this house for nearly three, and in this area most of my life- I do think it’s important to have long term friendships and ties to things. Especially if you have children, I suppose (although we moved like crazy and I liked the adventure, personally). But within that stability, if you have it or want it, it is totally normal to experience, and hopefully embrace, change. It is okay to go through new phases all your life. As long as you aren’t shaving your head and joining weird cults every six months, hey! Live your life.

I have been through a whole lot of change over the past few months. I think I was stuck in quite a dangerous rut for more years than I want to think about, and then, when I finally got the balls to open up the door to my prison cell and walk out, all sorts of things happened. I went into this manic-joyful phase that was wonderful to experience, and clearly a joy to behold ( per my friends), but it sure was a bummer to find it flickering out so soon…

The good news is, it didn’t completely disappear- which is to say, I didn’t wind up back down in the dregs of the rut I had been in, thank goodness. I found myself in a phase of just wanting to fill up my life with as much fun and good times, good friends, as much living, as I could. So I did this for a while, too. I ate out a lot, and did so many awesome things, and it was great. It was also totally exhausting.

So, after sleeping away two entire weekend days, I find myself here. This new phase looks to be very useful indeed. I think I will call it my “fine tuning” phase…you see, without me even realizing it, the last few phases I mentioned above were all extremely telling. They left me with some really important knowledge- what I know for sure I do not want, how I want to feel, and what makes me feel alive. I learned that I must have balance, above all things, to sustain happiness, and that too much of a good thing is definitely not such a good thing for me.

Going forward, I have a tentative plan- I will continue to meditate daily, and walk my dog, because these things unfailingly make my day better. I will try to be as faithful with prayer, because it fits, although I don’t always remember. I will continue to strive towards order and neatness in my home, no matter that it feels like I am fighting a losing battle- it makes me feel better when the dishes are done. I will continue to work on this blog, even if I just can’t spend a lot of time reading everyone else’s blog, and I never ever build a gigantic following. That’s not really why I do this, anyway (although it would be nice, I am not going to pretend otherwise). And I will work on my new book every morning, until it is done.

I will keep spending time with my friends, and planning things that sound like fun, and I will continue to nurture new friendships along the way. But I will always leave time for myself in there, plenty of it, and time for my children, because these are the most important hours of all for me- unscheduled, empty hours, we can fill with whatever we want. I will work on balance. I will lay the next stepping stone in the path…and eventually. I will get to that place I am seeing in my mind. I intend, however, to enjoy every inch of the journey.

Have a wonderful day.