Plodding progress

pexels-photo-129264Earlier this year I wrote about how life and “progress” can feel very slow sometimes. I’ve been thinking about that and also reflecting on the book, Ordinary, I read in preparation for my first child. Yes, lot’s of reflecting, as usual. (Have I mentioned I’m pregnant with #2 and he’s coming any time in the next 2-ish weeks?)

Jack just turned 2 a couple weeks ago. Two! I’ve been a mom for two years! I haven’t learned this much about life and myself since University. My personal growth in the last five months alone is a bit shocking to me, and it’s all been slow plodding. So often I have felt like I’m not moving in any direction, but looking back at the last year, I certainly have grown.

Just like the thesis of Ordinary says, the normal patterns of the Christian life bring natural growth; you don’t have to strive and strain.

Somewhere along the line, I’ve learned to do my dishes regularly. My house is generally speaking tidier more often. Of course, soon baby will come and throw a wrench in everything again. The pattern will continue, I’ll get the hang of things again – this time with a bigger load, and then baby 3 will arrive etc.

I guess what I’m saying is: I’m learning to chill out and not try to rush everything all the time because it turns out that I’m still growing. Except with less stress.

The 5 year plan

I should be packing right now. On Saturday we’re saying goodbye to this apartment and moving to our new home. The one we bought.

When we got serious and planned to put an offer on this place, I started thinking about the five years I’ve lived in this apartment, and what I thought my life might look like when I first moved in.

My friend and I saw this place and loved it despite its hideous chocolate brown and orange walls, purple glossy ceilings in the bathroom, and a few other awful paint decisions. When the landlord asked us if we’d be willing to sign a two year lease (which is unusual), we considered our life and both thought, “Well, I can’t see why not.” As far as we were concerned, our lives were going to continue as they were. Neither of us were dating or seemed to have any prospects and I was planning to stay in Montreal for a long time. Nakita and I moved in on the classic moving day in Montreal, July 1.

jess-nakita

Nakita and I (in green) are with a friend in our apartment.

I think it was a month after we signed our lease Nakita got her first phone call from her now husband. By December they were engaged and by April they were married. Willy and I started dating October of the year she and I moved in here. By January we were engaged.

This was the apartment we Skyped in when he lived in Quebec City. This was the apartment where he brought me flowers for the first time. It was where I got ready for our wedding, and the apartment we came back to live as husband and wife (the two year lease, remember?).

It more recently became the apartment where I grew a human in my belly and that tiny human learned to eat and sleep through the night.

If you had asked me five years ago what I imagined my life to be like, I probably would have said, “Maybe I’ll be married.” I would have never imagined being married, a mom, and moving in to a great apartment that we own.

Which leads me to OUR five year plan – Willy’s and mine. When we were first married, somehow we thought in five years time Willy might start seminary and we hoped to buy a house and maybe have a kid. but in our mind all of  these things would happen around the same time. Imagine: having a newborn, moving, and Willy starting school??? That was a foolish and crazy plan.

But we didn’t realize this until various things got turned on their head, and life twisted and lurched into a different direction. Willy started his Masters only a year after we were married. It took longer to get pregnant than we wanted. And when we started really saving for a house that was two to three years away, our circumstances dramatically changed thanks to generous parents and a house became imminent. Our five year plan was somehow accomplished in a different order in four years. And while that sounds like wonderful good fortune (it is), the road was not at all what we imagined and much more tumultuous than we had expected. But it turned out far more lovely than we would have planned.

marguerite-wedding

Getting ready for our wedding in my apartment. Photos by Chelms

How are you doing?

Version 2

Lately, I can’t decide how to answer this question when people ask. This summer has been bizarre. It’s been wonderful to experience life with my son, taking him to the beach for the first time, and going swimming with him etc. He’s such a joy. What makes it bizarre is that despite these swells of happiness and enjoyment I’ve been dealing with post-partum depression.

So when people ask “How are you doing?” I don’t know how to answer. Do they really want to know? Is it over-sharing to tell them right away? Or do I say I’m OK or I’ve been better and then further into the conversation I share what’s really going on. I’m not embarrassed by it — it happens to a lot of women. I’ve been in treatment for a few months now and it’s been going really well. But I have been thinking about a few things, like this blog. One of the things I often face is with goal setting. I talked about this with my therapist this week. If I tend to have too-high standards for myself, how do I know when my goals are too much? It doesn’t seem right to throw them out all together. So what do I do?

The weirdest part of this blog etc. is that I look around me and see people succeeding who have told me that I have inspired them. This is very cool! But it’s also strange knowing that in a few ways I feel stuck, but these other people seem to be flourishing after I have “inspired” them. As you can see I, like so many people, have the tendency to compare. I am “happy” with my life. I am content. I love my family, I love my job, but somewhere between J being born and June my train hopped off the rails. It’s the oddest thing to have this mix of such positive feelings and such lack of motivation, tiredness, etc.

So that’s where I’m at. That’s how I’m doing. It’s why I haven’t been blogging or running. Despite knowing that it’s really really good for my health, I can’t be bothered. But I am colouring…. and people, this is good for my soul! I’m so glad “adult” colouring is a fad right now because it’s the greatest thing!

What’s next after falling off the horse

The following is a draft post I wrote back in June. I never got around to publishing it but now it’s so far past the whole getting-back-on-the-horse and I’m not even thinking about it really anymore. I’m over it. Past that phase, and live has taken on new directions. Also, it occurred to me that the whole premise of the horse analogy was majorly off because the phrase is “falling off the wagon” not the horse haha.

horse

I’ve been thinking a lot about knowing when to quit again. This time it’s trickier because I’ve experienced success after many failures and wanting to quit. Remember all those pie crusts?

There are a few reasons for this. I fell off the horse with running. There were a few contributors: a rainy week, a week with my husband away on a work trip, a serious lack of motivation. And while I was doing great with a vision of me crossing the finish line of my first race, I started feeling overwhelmed with all my goals.

It got me thinking about this idea of “falling off the horse” and the horse itself.

In horse racing if a horse gets injured, oftentimes it is put down because the injuries are so enormous that it’s cruel to keep it alive. Or at least this is what I’m told, maybe animal activists will tell me otherwise (probably that racing horses is cruel). Anyways, as I was thinking about this image, I wondered if rather than getting back on the horse, I needed to put the horse down.

Maybe I should give up this goal I had of entering a race I had in mind (which I didn’t tell you guys about!)? Maybe it’s OK that life is a lot more than I had anticipated right now? Not that I’ll give up running entirely because it’s important that I have physical exercise, but right now maybe no race goal. I think the goal I need right now is to enjoy life and keep on top of my daily and weekly tasks because that isn’t as easy as it may sound. I guess it sounds kind of lame that I would give up this quickly, (maybe not because I still do have a growing and increasingly active 8 month old!) but there is more to the story that I will share in another post!

Then again, I spent 4 months with my son hoping his naps would just get magically better the same way they got magically worse until I decided to do something about it to help him nap better (hearing his cranky whining all day long was not a positive contributor to my mental health!). I kept thinking there would be a better time to do it or maybe I wouldn’t have to because it would just change. There’s always something that will come up to mess with our plans, but we need to figure out how to persevere despite those constant inhibitors.

Addendum: Where I am now: I plan to get my fitness life in order again but there are some big changes coming up in my life – two very major ones – that I will blog about. I’m just giving myself grace for now and crossing my fingers that the scale wont lurch any closer to my pregnancy weight than it already has.

Running

My friend Ian ran the Boston marathon and it was maybe the most inspiring thing I have witnessed in a very long time. Why? I had never heard him talk about running frequently or ever talk about any interest in distance running. So when a couple weeks before the marathon he updated his Facebook saying he was doing it, I had to watch. I kept his race page open on my computer the whole time and cheered him on on his Runtastic page. When he crossed the finish line I was so proud of him I nearly cried.

He had ran for five and a half hours!!!!

A couple days later he stopped by when he was in town and I grilled him on the race and how it went. It sounded like the neatest experience I had heard of in a long time.

It made me want to run again.

It has only been a week, but I will say it: I’m back. It’s been six months since giving birth to my son and I’m fairly sure it’s safe for me to get back to running. I had ran a few times at the gym in the winter but I usually felt pretty awful after so I stopped.

photo by Roman Boed

After my first run last week (which was more like a walk-run-walk) my body HURT but I was still able to get out for my next run. I felt so proud of myself for running in the rain and with a slightly sore body. It makes me feel so much more legit – like a “real” runner. I sure don’t look like a real runner, though. I’ve been wearing my maternity leggings which turn out to be AWESOME because when my shirt rides up it has to go pretty far before it shows any of my jiggling post-baby belly. Half the time I feel like a lost cow lurching down the sidewalk, wishing for my pre-baby body back. When I’m honest with myself I realize that body wasn’t any better at running so it won’t do me any good now.

But that first run didn’t murder me. Nor did the run where I increased my distance. We’re still talking about very SHORT distances, but it’s a huge improvement from when I hit the pavement the first time.

I think I’ve turned a corner where I realized I’m willing to commit to this. I had quit before because of foot pain (not wanting to injure myself and not being sure enough that I wanted to keep going), then winter, and then pregnancy. But now it’s spring, and I’m not pregnant anymore, and I’m pretty sure I want this.

I bought a legit baby jogger (for dirrrrrt cheap).

I got sized for shoes (that I’m still holding out on because they’re $150 and I’m not convinced they’ll change my life or help me avoid injury).

I’m obsessively reading about running online and listening to this podcast.

And I’m doing it. It feels good. Please cheer me on!

When things turn ugly

Photo by Steve Bowbrick

Have you ever noticed it’s pretty easy to take a perfectly good thing and turn it into an ugly thing? A bowl of chips can turn into eating the whole bag, a conversation with a friend can turn into gossip, being organized can turn into being obsessive and controlling etc.

I let this happen all the time.

Lately I’ve noticed that I’ve been thinking about this blog and my bucket list and it’s become this ugly thing looming over my head. I think things like:

  1. When will you get it together, Jess, and workout more? 
  2. When will you stop stressing over your baby?
  3. If you don’t figure these things out then say goodbye to doing anything with your life.

These are the kind of things that are happening deep in the back of my mind. I try to tell them off:

  1. I just had a baby! (Four months ago, get it together, woman!)
  2. I will never stop stressing over my kids, it’s what mothers do! (Are you sure it’s all mothers? Can’t you be better than them?)
  3. I don’t need to “do anything with my life”! I still have value even if I don’t “do anything”. (Sure keep telling yourself that. It’s just an excuse for being lazy.)

It’s weird even writing these things out because I know they’re crazy. This blog and these goals were never supposed to turn ugly. They were supposed to add to my life: add challenge, fun, satisfaction, adventure (and bragging rights?). I think it’s that last part that made things go sour. Somewhere I developed a drive to show people I can do these things. When I admit it – like that one ugly response revealed  in #2 – I want to be “better” than other people and on some level I think I am. Doing hard things validates this in me.

The last few years I have noticed a frightening trend: I’m not better (surprise, surprise) and I actually give up on hard things pretty easily.

But really, I’m regular. I’m plain-Jane-vanilla-regular and I need to get it through my thick skull that it’s not a bad thing. I’m ordinary and trying to do ridiculous things to try to be different or prove something isn’t going to solve any problems I have but only make more.

So right now I’m going to keep trying to do my little goals:

  • Be more ok with letting non-relatives watch Jack
  • Get my hair cut
  • Go to the dentist
  • Try to care less what people think about me
  • Keep going to the gym

And maybe that means I’ll be able to do some of the other bigger things on my list some day. And maybe not. But I refuse to let this stuff define my happiness even if I really really want them. Sometimes things don’t turn out the way we hope or want them to and that’s ok.
Maybe one day I’ll figure out how to chill the frig out.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...