I met with TM today and had a very good discussion about me and how I am faring in navigating my own life. We have been winding down for a little while now, so I expected to be okay with breaking off our formalized appointments. Because it’s time right now. For the summer or the season, I’m in good shape and prepared to manage my own affairs without his backstopping me.
While we touched upon triggering issues – friends exiting, work stress, extended/external family strive, new marriage for C, upcoming marriage for G – I feel infinitely more competent and confident to manage without his hand-holding. Besides, he’s a mere phone call/text/email away if I need a safe spot to land.
More of our hour was on my successes and progress in all aspects of my life this year than on my falterings and uncertainties.
Exercise. I have established and am maintaining a very robust exercise/training schedule. Meeting with J twice a week is one thing, the other 5 days I am at the gym to practice my newly acquired skills is huge. And now I am branching out and into Pilates class for some focused core work, something I dislike doing at the gym and that J does not spend huge blocks of time on with me. There are some baby muscles brewing, but my overall confidence in my ability has soared. It shows in the way I feel and how I think; TM remarked that he has not had to remind me to compliment myself or ask me for a positive affirmation in the last several meetings. Thinking about that, I realize he is absolutely right. I am not in there singing my own praises or tooting my own horn, and I think me developing narcotic personality is not a concern he harbors. But I am far less negative, now at all helpless or speaking in terms of “I can’t” or “I don’t want to” or “I am failing” type terms. There is still some anxiety and some fear – it’s part of life and my lifetime of habits – but they are not the first response to any and every situation. Instead of “I can’t” I think “I’ll try … and I will eventually succeed.” Instead of “I don’t want to” it is more “I don’t want to, but I’ll give it an honest ry anyway.” I have replaced fail/failing with falter/faltering or flounder/floundering, because fail is so definitive, and falter/flounder is a temporary state until mastery occurs.
Health. I am diabetes controlling drug free and maintaining it. My eating is uneven hit and miss, and dropping weight feels a bit like a mythical unicorn in my life. But I am undeterred. This process is a 2 steps forward, 3 steps back dance that will someday soon become enough of a discipline to be reversed into 3 steps forward, 2 steps back. RD is patient and kind and we are slowly making inroads on year and years of bad habits and learning to like things well enough or still not at all and not forcing the issue. While I do not feel as if I have unlimited amounts of time to experiment and work at hitting my stride with diet, I also do not flog myself endlessly for prior missteps. Eating is an experiment right now, has been for several months, and I am improving in incremental steps that are not in any way linear or logical. At first I thought if I could steer clear of the diabetes meds I would be happy enough, but my niggling reality is that more sustained eating choices must be implemented to ensure I can stay on top of my battle with blood sugar. Good part is I am more motivated than not and know I will find my groove.
Stress. There was a time when most of my stress came from worrying about things that made me anxious or afraid. Failing to produce at work, blowing a project and losing a client, or going into business for myself and not acquiring enough work or enough clients. The status of my health, and not doing what I should or could be doing to take better care of myself. Never being good enough no matter the situation. These days, stress comes in little lapping waves from juggling work-related responsibilities and projects, not wanting to say no, ensuring I am adequately available to my clients. Putting up some reasonable boundaries has helped enormously, as has setting up a reasonable bedtime to prioritize getting to the gym each morning. My bad dreams are much smaller scale first world problems, like being late for my training appointment because my alarm failed to sound or that my body refuses the brain’s commands on certain exercises. The things I obsess about are well within my control, like single leg everything or whether or not the vegetables I have on the meal plan are going to be cooked adequately. More of my thought and energies are on where I have succeeded or what I am currently reading. The 24/7 news cycle still draws me like moth to flame, but I am resisting and burying myself in books about exercise or body building or diet and nutrition or philosophy and meditation. Facebook is limited to what my kids and few FB friends are liking and commenting on, which is rarely something to send me off on some rabid hunt for one of the cable news channels. Pinterest even more so is pictures of pretty food and inspirational quotes the challenges other people are doing and why. I am curious; there is no urge to join them in their month-long quests.
Hopes and dreams. So many wonderful things have happened already this year, with the improving health and kids’ weddings. As a parent and really just as a person, it has been so wonderful to see my kids happy with their lives and with the supportive partners and loving relationships they have right now. There have been disappointments and setbacks, but that’s part of life. I am hugely proud of all 4 of them for how they have weathered and handled themselves when faced with such obstacles. M and I have few aspirations for travel and adventure this year; our focus seems to be on self-improvement. For me my jobs and the building blocks I have in place there remain a critical pursuit, and M is as intensely focused on his running as he has ever been in all our years together. Between that and my gym pursuits our energies are well-matched with hobbies and leisure. Next year may be the year of bigger trips and greater adventure further afield, or not depending upon how we prioritize our life and times. There are still big-ticket hole enhancement projects we would like to pursue, and just like everyone else, money is a finite resource and we cannot do everything we want whenever we wish to do it. We are content and satisfied with our choices.
Looking back at the first 5 months of 2016, I have made some amazing strides and weathered some harsh times. The bad men still occasionally haunt my dreams, but my recovery from that is most complete. I am still wary alone in dark parking lots, probably a good thing from a personal safety standpoint. I have lost a few friends and learned a lot about myself and my own heart and its resilience. I am far stronger than I give myself credit for, both emotionally and physically. Still not the strongest woman in the gym, but I gave up that feeling of competition and measuring up to other people and their abilities. The race and the journey is my own, to go as quickly or as slowly as I need to, and I am learning patience and pacing as I move along.
I have a good heart, and I am not a mean person, despite what negative girl whispers when I have to draw a line or enforce boundaries. I am also bright enough, intelligent enough to learn from those who are trying to teach, and to be brave enough to say I do not understand when I am not catching on.
Forward progress for me has not been measured by conventional means of pounds and inches lost or weigh mass I can life or move or books I have read or thoughts I have articulated in writing or discussion with others. Progress has come in getting up and going to the gym every day, and doing the same series of exercises until I have the order and the cues floating to mind when I decide upon the list. I have found voice to state clearly what I need and what I want, to M, to friends, to clients and business associates. I have written one or more posts in this blog nearly every day this year; my days of not posting as much an anomaly as my breaks from exercise. The little successes that come with balance – both physical and emotional – are not anything anyone else sees or measures. But I know it. I feel it. I embrace it and I project it outwardly. And after this much time, others in my orbit recognize I am evolving in a different direction, and they applaud and encourage me, are happy to see me in this better, happier space. Or they are regretfully left behind on the curb, because I am not going to settle for anything less anymore.
Discussing all this with TM … I feel so powerful. And finally, really smart about who I am right now. Closing this chapter right now makes sense, because I am ready and capable of meeting whatever challenges I choose to pursue.
And that’s the best feeling I used to be incapable of imagining.