March 19, 2012

Time for a Change

I had a conversation with my husband this weekend that made me really sit back and think about some things. Poor hubby would probably recall the incident better as an explosion of tears and frustration and exhaustion that landed at his feet, rather out of the blue.... details, details. However you describe it, the incident inspired me to take a closer look at the way my life is playing out right now, leading me to a few fairly significant realizations. There's nothing like deep stuff to start off a Monday morning, right?
The past few months have been a little rough for a lot of reasons. Since the beginning of December, I lost my father, welcomed my husband home after over 8 months of living on my own, switched birth control twice (hello, hormones), tackled a huge project at work, and about a million other little tiny things that add to this snowball of change, adjustment, and stress. For weeks now, I've felt like I was running on empty: not getting enough sleep, not always eating well, working several hours of overtime each week, continuing to train hard without enough recovery time or the right fuel, pushing myself to keep going when my body was begging for me to slow down. And that's only half of the picture -- mentally, I've been battling a lot of stress, guilt, frustration, and doubt. My mind has been so taxed and tired that little things have become cataclysmic, challenges have become roadblocks, and each new stress has threatened to fling me into a tailspin. I've found myself completely unable to focus on things I need to accomplish, incredibly forgetful, drastically unmotivated. It also occurred to me this weekend that lately I've been concentrating far more on everyone around me than on myself, weighed down with the feeling that I'm letting people down. I've felt like I can't keep up with the demands (or at least perceived demands) of the people in my life, and that has led to some serious guilt.
I've had this general sense of "something's not right" for a while, but my exhausted self shoved the thought, like so many things, to the back burner. I was just too swamped to even face the idea that something was going to have to give. Until this weekend, when something so small I can't even remember it left me crying to Dan about how tired I was, how overwhelmed, how done. And then my hubby repeated something that he has said a lot lately, something that made me indignant and angry each time before. "You're never happy anymore," he said, "I miss the Meg who smiles and has fun." That's what it took for all of this to finally hit home. Since then, I've done a lot of thinking, a lot of soul searching... and he's right. I didn't want to admit she had been gone, but the truth is I miss her too. 
I don't want to overstate the problem or cause my poor mom any more concern than this is worth: I don't think I'm depressed or in need of clinical attention. I think right now, it's all about adjustment: adjusting to married life, adjusting to a job with new and different demands, adjusting to being an adult, out there in the real world without a safety net. I think it's about learning who I am and what I need and how to make that work. It's about pulling myself out of a pothole and teaching myself to avoid the next one.
As far as I can tell, there are just a few changes I need to make in my life right now... but they are big ones. If you know me even a little bit, you know that I handle change about as well as a giraffe can hide on a beach. These changes, especially, are going to require a rather large leap out of my comfort zone. They require some relearning, reshuffling, and a lot of re-evaluation. In the next few weeks, I'm hoping to focus much more closely on my priorities -- not necessarily what they have been, but what they should be. I'm hoping to take the time to recognize which activities are important and beneficial to me, and which ones are a waste of time and energy. I'm hoping to make some time to take care of myself and my own needs. I'm hoping to let go of some undeserved guilt that needs to be, once and for all, left behind -- an undertaking that is much easier said than done, but one that I am determined to finish this time around. I'm hoping to do whatever it takes, minute by minute, to worry less, relax more, compare less, smile more. Because really, life's too short not to smile enough.

(babies always know best)



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