Friday, August 11, 2017

I Am Not A Frog

I have felt out of sorts for a while now.  Why do I live for so long in a place I am not happy in?  Cleaning out the basement I found countless journal entries from many years back lamenting my displeasure with life.  Why do I remain?  Why do I not jump up and change something?  Why do I stay?  I think there is a story about boiling frogs or something.  You put them in a pan of room temperature water and they are fine.  Then you slowly start to heat up the water until they are boiling.  They don't realize the danger and will boil.  I guess I have been in tepid water so long I just don't realize it is actually boiling now. 

It is the same with an injury.  You feel a little twinge one day and don't think much of it.  After a few days maybe you take some Advil.  After a few weeks you get used to compensating in some way.  Then you wake up the next day and you are in the worst pain you've ever been in.  How did I get here?  Why did you not do something the first day or even the first week?  Tepid water.

You know, it is hard.  Trying to change your life is so, freaking hard.  That wall that shows up the first few days or weeks of trying is so effective at putting us right back where we started.  Why do we not climb the wall?  Why do we not punch a hole in the wall?  Why do we go back to the start or worse?  It's hard.  It has to be.  I certainly don't want it to be.  I would love to just wake up and have it all figured out and a routine in place and my kids go merrily along.  That is not real life.  Real life is having three boys that are loud and they fight and they mess up and make big spills.  Real life is not sleeping well and being so tired you forget your own name for a minute.  Real life is you are out of milk and everyone wants cereal.  It's hard.  It is freaking hard.  It has to be. 

If it were easy?  It wouldn't be worth it.  I don't even have a good story.  It just is not worth it.  The hard, real life way is worth it.  You earn it.  You do it.  You succeed.  You put the effort in and it's rewarded.  You give a damn and you get back in spades. 

So what now?  I'm feeling the water heating up.  I'm trying to change.  I'm looking at the wall and thinking about how to be on the other side.  The best part of this is I have other people standing next to me willing to let me stand on their shoulders to get over the wall.  There are people on the other side waiting to catch me when I jump.  Open your eyes and see the people around you able and willing to help you get on the other side of the wall.  Reach out and feel the water.  It's heating up folks. 

Here's to finding the next journal entries that say "I hit a wall and went over it" and "I felt the water heating up, and I got out".

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

It Aint Magic

No Really.  It isn't. 

I joined a fitness challenge a few weeks ago and I was pumped.  I could not wait until the Monday it was going to start.  My head really built this up to be the be all, end all magic thing I needed to finally (FINALLY!) get moving and get in shape.  So as I waited for day one I pictured my new fit life.  I would be able to run a 5K, keep up with the kids, practice soccer with them, clean the house, sort through the junk, my marriage would improve, my friends would multiply, money problems would be resolved and (AND!) all this with a Mary Poppins attitude.

OK.  Stop laughing.  I really did feel like this challenge was going to change the world for me.  You know what happened on day one?  Nothing.  It was a Monday like all the rest of them.  Kids were grouchy, I was tired and my clothes still didn't fit.  Paying the fee and joining a challenge did not change any of the things I wanted to change.  Sure, it gets me on a team with other folks and there are points to earn and maybe even a prize of some sort, but it doesn't actually DO anything.  I spent that first day wondering how I was going to achieve all my dreams.  How were my clothes going to fit by joining a challenge? 

It was sort of like watching a magic show and the magician is really bad.  So bad, you see the bunny in the hat, you see the scarves in the pocket and nothing is a surprise.  Just disappointment.  Here we go again.  Nothing is going to change me.  Nothing is fixing all my problems.

But wait!  What about going to your high school reunion and seeing someone that has always struggled with weight suddenly is the hottest thing around?  We all ask "what did you do?"  We want an easy answer.  Like they took the green pill and suddenly life was different for them.  Where do you get the pill?  How many do I take?  We so want this new life they have and we want it NOW! 

So how does it happen?  Honestly, I think the 'how' varies a little from person to person, but overall here is the magic answer.  Me.  You.  Him.  Her.  Each of us has to change in some way in order to change.  I have to stop drinking soda and reach for water instead.  You have to put the chips away and grab some carrots.  He has to take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Get the idea?  There is no magic, there is no pill.  It is a person that decides to make changes in their life and then changes their life.  On day one nothing was going to happen because I did nothing.  Each day was going to be the same unless I changed something.  So I did.

While day one was kind of a bust, I did manage to get going on day two.  Now we are in week three and I am scheduling workouts and meal planning like it's my job.  Oh wait, it IS my job.  I run the MacFam and all the things that entails.  Meal planning, play dates, cleaning, paying bills, kid care and the list really does go on and on.  The change I made was to put me first as much as I can.  Sure, there are days I'm not first, but I'm never last anymore.  And that my friend, is magical.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

And So It Begins

So it all starts with a Toy Story themed birthday candle.  I realized today it starts with something innocent and small.  Just an average everyday item.  Somehow it snowballs from there to a disease.  What?  Remember those fake news blips on SNL that would say something like "this common household item is killing you, more at eleven."  It played on that fear that normal everyday products could be so harmful for you.  They aren't, or at least at the time I think they were all OK.

Anyway, innocent candles to disease.  Here we go.  You might want to sit down.  I am pretty sure at some point you will recognize this in your own life.  So you throw a party for your child.  They wanted Toy Story, but not the alien candles you bought, they want the Buzz Lightyear flying candle.  So you plan to return the aliens.  But, you don't.  It's a special trip to a store you don't really go to that often.  You have kids so it's twenty times harder to walk into a store and return something.  By the time you are ready to go to the store, you forget to take the aliens.  Oh well.  What were they like $3.00.  No big deal you think.  I'll keep them.  I have other kids.  Surely we'll use them.  So they take up a tiny bit of cabinet space.  Next thing you know, Despicable Me sprinkles sit next to them.  Then a box of white cake mix.  You meant to use it, but the chocolate cake you did make was plenty.  Next time.  At some point your cabinet is full of these items.  Never used, but you don't want to waste them.

So Mutt, how are we leaping to disease here?  Empty your cabinet already.  Donate to the neighbor or Goodwill or heck, just throw it all away.  Well.  Those are all good suggestions.  Here is the honest truth.  I can't.  What a waste?  Someday I'll use it (no, I won't).  The disease starts when the stuff spreads to another cabinet.  Soon the kitchen is over taken by these items.  Then something comes along that is not a kitchen item.  Say all the special dinosaur figures you bought for a dinosaur themed party.  Where do those go?  Well, the children will surely play with them.  We'll make a dinosaur land.  It will be glorious.  No.  They play with them a few days and then you have 15 dinosaurs scattered throughout the house.  Get rid of them?  I certainly cannot return them.  I find a nice container to keep them in.  They find a few other dinofriends we already had.  Soon we have a giant Tupperware type container keeping all mankind safe from the Jurassic Era.  It's Jurassic Park all over again and we all know how that turned out.  Bad idea. 

Dinosaurs, birthday candles and supplies, toys, clothes, decorations and more.  They start small and multiply before you know what's happened.  It's impossible to get rid of any of it because "I may one day use this."  Soon you think burning your house down is the best way to get rid of all of it.  I don't personally suggest this, but I see the pros.

The irony is, my husband will want to keep the nails out of an old board or the screws from a door we're replacing and I will tell him to his face "we do not need this, do NOT keep it!"  I have uttered those words and he can sweat by it.  Saying it to me?  It does nothing. 

So what disease are we diagnosing today?  Hoarding maybe?  I'm not sure I would classify myself as a hoarder, but I do have a hard time getting rid of the "stuff".  Some of it is sentimental, some I really do feel like we would use.  Some I think the kids would be heartbroken.  Like they would even notice if we only had 10 Hot Wheels instead of 1,000.  They don't play with them at all.  Most of it could be taken out in the dead of night and the kids and I would never miss it.