Friday, 11 April 2014

Committed To Making It

What a day! It began no where near exemplary as I failed to pay attention to the jacuzzi filling and the hot water tank was emptied and poured cold water into my bath. (Am I allowed to complain when the topic is my spacious jacuzzi tub?) Then work was hectic as there were repair men there all day for what should have only taken a few hours. I didn't have transportation to get my daughter from day care. I came home to dog puke (and more after I cleaned it up). Then I took my daughter's pants off so she could try the potty and she climbed onto the bed and peed. Then, she curiously dropped a battery operated toy into the toilet and covered it with half a roll of toilet paper. 

There's much more. But I think I will refrain from continuing. Today was a test of something that has been on my mind lately. I've been thinking about capacity. Some people have so much go wrong, but they never complain. Some people have tremendous stress loading them down, but they still continuously have hope and vitality to share with others. Some people have lived through hurt after hurt, but they still love and trust. 

I would fancy those strengths. I've spent too much time whining and complaining. I've wasted too many opportunities making excuses. I've put up too many walls and then regretted the consequences. 

Where does that capacity come from?

Can you have none to start with and then experience the stretching of growth? Definitely yes, but what are the factors that push someone from simply buckling under the pressure, to the better result of developing strength to overcome the hardship?

Life produced in me shyness and anger and illness and shame. Many people live their lives struggling with these things. But if asked how I found freedom, what could I answer? If I knew the answer I could apply it to the rest of my issues. I could stop worrying what people think. I could stop procrastinating when a task seems overwhelming. I could stop stressing.

Whatever had the biggest influence, whether it be declaring the positive, going to church, praying, forgiving, talking, exercising, or letting go, I think all aspects of the healing journey come down to just one word. 


Content people are committed to seeing the positive when life is full of negative. Successful marriages have spouses committed to each other through ups and downs, misunderstandings and compromises, tests and battles. Flourishing businesses have members committed to the vision through trial and error. Careers come from being committed to doing what is necessary even when it takes time and energy and finances. 

I beat fibromyalgia and headaches and exhaustion by being committed to working out my weak body even when I had to push through pain after pain. I gained patience by being committed to my family and church even when walking away would have been an easier option. I overcame anger by being committed to retraining my thoughts even though it took so long and so many people were being outright stupid and giving me a very good reason to be mad. 

And now, when I have a totally crappy day like today I can look back and instead of seeing the frustration and unfairness, I can smile at the fact that I pushed through. I still had a bath, even though I could have pouted that I only like hot baths. I still did my job and smiled at my customers. I still treated my dogs well, even though they drove me crazy. I still made a healthy dinner, even though we were home late. I didn't get mad at my toddler for being a toddler, and we still read her favorite I SPY book for half an hour like she wants to every single night.

I was committed to positively making it through the day, just somewhat better than how I've made it through before, and that is what will make it easier to make it through the next rough day. 

Sunday, 6 April 2014

The Year I Finally Became An Adult

I've been an adult for a while. For close to half my life, I guess I should admit. Technically, adulthood occurs at 18 or 19, but we all know it takes a while to catch up with us. Some take longer than others. For a few, or a few too many, maturity never occurs.

As a child, all adults look like adults. They are taller, wiser (in some ways), and their skin gets saggier and saggier. But when you first get there yourself, you can't believe it has happened. I don't mean denial. It just really can't be. You are still clueless. You are still trying to figure out what you want. You have tasks you perform daily that an adult would certainly do with more confidence and surety. Right?! 

Though life became more about grudgingly paying bills and continuously cleaning and determining priorities, it always felt like I was still this teenager with an aging body. I never felt like I could put myself together right. I never felt like I could ever be looked up to as an elder. 

This continued through all the tumultuous milestones that add to being a responsible adult. Went on missions trips. Still felt like a child. Went to post-secondary and got a career. Still felt like a child. Volunteered. Still felt like a child. Found a mate and got married. Still felt like a child. Cooked and cleaned and cooked and cleaned. Still felt like a child. Had a baby. More than ever, still felt like a child. Floundering through life. Struggling to figure out my unique place. 

As the age spots developed, the bladder weakened, the eye brows thinned, and the feet struggled to keep up, I figured the time would soon be coming. And then, bam, at the age of 36, just before 37, it finally happened. After a tough year financially and in other ways I will not get into, and the impact on my intellectual and spiritual growth, it seemed that with just a blink of an eye, it shifted overnight.

I'm an adult

There are two major changes that give me this brand new, undeniable feeling. Two changes stronger than the occassional hair suddenly growing from my chin or the inability to cope any longer with consistent lack of sleep. Stronger than being available every waking moment for another helpless human being. The first is coming to terms with the reality that the got-it-all-together goal is, in all honesty, unachievable. The second is a shift in the view of where my career fits into the big picture of my life.

I've always struggled with what kind of message I wanted to convey. I longed to look like I knew who I was and I knew what I wanted. I wanted to confidently act and dress that part no matter what the situation. But how could I be a model of a type if I couldn't singly classify what that type was for me? And what if, to my horror, someone important to me didn't understand or agree?

My life was a wish-washy act of trying to be someone who would fit in and be accepted. But in all the effort, I wasn't able to have the freedom to concentrate on the things that really mattered. Motherhood really helped me to break down many walls and let go of things. It wasn't that previously I was being dishonest with everyone else. I needed to figure out how to be honest with myself. I needed to be able to admit I didn't know how to do a task, or that something was not actually my priority, or that things were just not working out the way I was doing them. 

I haven't figured out anything. And admitting that is the epiphany of figuring it out. 

Which probably helped lead to the change with work. I love my job. But it was alway just a means of an income. It was what helped me be able to do the things that I wanted to do and concentrate on all that was actually filling my mind. I always wanted to be a full time mom and I imagined life as just a few hours work and all my time and energy devoted to family. I felt this equation was the only acceptable option. But, unfortunately, for most of us it just can not work that way. 

So, if we are going to spend so much of our lives earning a dollar, shouldn't we be doing something that somehow makes us feel fulfilled? My job never actually altered after I came to this change of heart. But my opinion of my job evolved. And as a result, my focus changed. And, most importantly, my view of where it would go in the future widened.

Previously, I had no desire to progress. No more responsibility. No more tasks. I just want to come, put in my time, and go. Don't get me wrong. I think I am a hard worker and dedicated employee. But now I figure if I'm going to be there a long time, I actually would love to learn and to be more valuable in my position. And, since I've finally grown up, maybe I can handle a little more responsibility. 

I still want to be a mom first. But seeing a hard working mom is going to speak wonders to her work ethic and her opinion of her own future. I want to be next to her most of all, but with the time I am with her she will know I love her and, because I'm concentrating on who I am outside of her, she will know I love myself. 

And maybe that's the biggest part of growing up. Learning to love who we are. Being comfortable in our own skin. Our imperfect, sagging, wrinkling, thinning skin.

I'm an adult now. And I'm going to like living as one. Does it mean I'll know what I'm doing? No. Does it mean I won't ever worry what others think? No. Does it mean the balance between parenting and a career will be simple? No. It might not mean anything at all, actually. Just that I feel grown up in spite of it all. 

I'll always be a child at heart. But, at 36 years old, the next stage in my life is just beginning.