I realize that control is somewhat of an illusion in this life. We can have everything in place, all according to plan, and in just an instant, something or someone can blow it all to pieces.
Lately I feel like I’m failing. Just this week actually. It’s not so much about plans falling through. If you’ll remember, I’m making a lot less of those lately as I work on living in the present.
It’s more a feeling of everything I’m trying to grab onto slipping through my fingers–getting away from me in a way that leaves me feeling unproductive, uneasy, and–you guessed it–out of control.
Sometimes I wait for my feelings to pass. I know I could feel differently as soon as tomorrow (hell, check back with me in an hour.) Other times, it helps if I work through whatever is ailing me–I knock it down a bit and remind myself that emotions stirring up inside me are not always connected to facts.
That’s what this is–a bit of a work-through. I’m gonna tell you what I feel like I can’t get a handle on. To keep it productive, I’m also going to show you the other side of the coin. I’ll reveal what is going right in that area of my life, or what I know to be true on a good day. My hope is that when I’ve finished, my glass will emerge half full, and my perspective will have shifted in a more positive direction.
Let’s do this.
How I’m losing: I’ve got a feeling I won’t make my goal for October to average under 9:00 minutes/mile for my 10k. I’m pushing myself like crazy in workouts–but I’ve got a feeling I’m not doing the workout I probably need to be doing. The one that got me so close to my goal the last time: the tempo. I just don’t want to. That is all.
How I’m winning: I am getting faster. Also my aerobic fitness is improving. I’m kicking ass on my speed and hill interval workouts and my “long” run with my hubs on Sundays is getting easier. I’m also starting to work on the rowing machine and stair climber as cross training and they are really making me feel like I’m becoming a more dynamic athlete.
It feels like I am entering a phase where I care about my overall fitness more than hitting goals and numbers. It’s a weird feeling–how do I prove to YOU how fit I am? (rolls eyes at self.)
Or maybe I should have just signed up for a 5k instead of a 10k–I think I’d kill that right now. #runnerproblems
How I’m losing: I used to be able to do 15-20 push-ups in a row like a boss. I worked up to doing at least 3 sets every workout and I pumped them out, no problem. Now I struggle with 3 sets of 10. (You should see my face by #8, I’m sure more than one person at my gym has stood by, thinking they might have to peel me up off the ground.)
How I’m winning: The amount of weight I am lifting in other exercises is increasing, as is my endurance within the sets. I do actually feel like I am getting stronger. For some reason it’s my push-ups and my pull-ups that feel like they are regressing. I have a feeling if I give it some time, some other exercise will get harder and others will get easier again.
It takes me a while to learn and acknowledge that progress is not linear. Then I start a new thing and I forget it all over again.
How I’m losing: The first picture below is almost three years ago. The second one is about a month ago. Enough said.
How I’m winning: Some yogis are very strong. Some have more flexibility. The masters learn to balance the two. I tend to have a lot more strength than flexibility. In that photo from three years ago, I was off work for an extended period of time and going to class 4-5 times a week. That allowed my body to really open up. It also meant that I injured myself more than once going too deep into postures (not this one) because I felt so bendy.
While I may look less “advanced” in the second photo, I know that it shows a more seasoned yogi. I’m no longer relying on either my strength or flexibility in postures. Instead I’m quietly trying to balance the two–to get them to work together. I have a feeling the next time I’m able to drop my arms down and get my forehead to my knee, I won’t just be relying on an open hamstring. My core will be engaged to help me balance and protect my back, and my standing leg will be solid like a rock (or a lamppost, if you’re a Bikram nerd like me ;)).
How I’m losing: The truth is, I’m never “in control” at my job. I’m not the boss and I work in an industry (TV & film) where the unexpected happens pretty much every day. Still, this show has been a lot more challenging for me. A lot of my work has been at a standstill while I wait on other people. My job is to pay the bills. They are piling up but I can’t pay all of them yet. This makes me feel insane. On a bad day, my head is full of self-centered thoughts about how this is makes me look to vendors and other departments.
How I’m winning: My hubs keeps reminding me: I can only do what I can do. Every single day I have to let go, put my head down, and just do my best. Vocalizing my frustration will not serve anyone around me; it will only add to the stress already present in our office. And my “reputation”? Please. That’s just some bullshit garbage the crap side of my brain is spewing out. That’s my ego, and it doesn’t belong here. While this show has made me feel crazy, it’s also been one of the best teachers I’ve had in a long time. I’m at my job for two reasons: to make a living, and to serve. I work in the city I love, in a great environment, with outstanding people. I’m getting paid well for my work. In return I show up and do the best and most I can each day. That’s it. It actually doesn’t have to get more complicated than that.
How I’m losing: Oh let me count the ways…I never feel like I’m writing enough. There are so many things I want to get up on the blog that I’ve started but can’t quite seem to finish: Recaps of the rest of our trip to the U.K., the next step on my Body Image Project . There are also things I want to write that aren’t for the blog. Honestly, these things, I haven’t even made a start on. I’m getting home at 8 or 830 every night which means I’m usually done with dinner at 9pm or a little after. At that point there’s only 8 hours (sometimes less) until I’ve got to wake up the next morning. Each night is a decision whether to get a little time with my hubs, or a little work done. It’s hard sometimes. I often wish I didn’t care. I wish I didn’t want to write. I wish I didn’t want other, “bigger” things. (Alright, I hear the violin playing, I’ll stop).
How I’m winning: I’ll never stop writing. Even if I never make a success out of it. I’ll keep going. I know it.
How I’m losing: Our house is a bit of a mess lately. We had a cleaning lady that was helping us out once a month (I know, violin again–the privilege, I’m sorry), but she got a full time gig and had to quit on us. Her coming was really the hugest help because she conquered the big stuff–window cleaning, the oven, wiping down the fridge. She cleaned so thoroughly that all I really had to do was a bit of light maintenance each week in the kitchen and the bathroom. (The hubs does the laundry every week and cleans up after meals (I cook)–don’t worry ladies, division of labor is strong in this household!)
Admittedly, I’m a bit of a clean freak. (I don’t think I am but then people often remark on the cleanliness of our apartment). Living in a messy environment makes me feel like a bit of a loon. It sounds so easy–just clean it! But there goes that time issue again. Work and all my other activities take so much out of me; I don’t remember the last time I was home and didn’t feel exhausted.
How I’m winning: The space in between the four walls of our apartment might be in a bit of disarray, but the relationship going on within it is going strong. My hubs is at a new job and feeling all sorts of discomfort and vulnerability. I feel like every night we are coming together with the little time we have and listening to each other and really being supportive. It feels nice. I’m proud of us.
Our outsides are a little messy–but inside, I’d say we’re cleaning up pretty good.
How I’m losing: I’ve only got 2 classes left in my life coaching program! How am I going to start this? How am I going to build a career and a lifestyle that I love? Where am I going to find the time to work on all of it? My classmates have already started coaching people–I need to get my shit together.
How I’m winning: I had a breakthrough in class last week. We did this exercise where our teacher asked us what we would write on a billboard if we could have the biggest one in Time Square–one that everybody would see. She was trying to get us to identify our “why”–our reason for doing what we are doing.
I’m not gonna reveal what I wrote on my billboard yet. I’ll just tell you that the exercise made me burst into tears.
I may not know my how yet…but I know my why.
I’ve just gotta do the next right thing. One step at a time.
So there it is. I have to say, my outlook on life is a little bit brighter. I’ve got a lot of balls in the air–but they are good balls, balls I am lucky to have. Alright, I’ll stop saying balls. But you know what I mean. I’m pretty fucking fortunate to have the “problems” I have. That other side of the coin is pretty shiny:
- A healthy body I get to work with each day
- A job that allows for a good living
- A creative spirit that just won’t quit
- A home (my hubs) that protects and feeds my soul
- A possibility of something new and challenging
What about you? What are you “failing” at this week? Tell me. Then tell me the other side too. What’s the good part of it? How are you winning? Shit–sometimes kicking ass can feel like failing–that’s why we’ve got to talk it out so we realize we’re doing okay!
*As always, I’d love to hear from you.
*Hey guys! Do me a favor please? It’s come to my attention that some people have had trouble posting comments to some of my pieces. If you are having that problem, would you mind dropping me a line through the contact page? It’d be a huge help. Thanks loves. Oh–and thank you SO much for all the love and support you showed for 10 Years. It was a big milestone for me and I’m so grateful I got to share it with all of you. x
I’m so glad we’ve found each other in the blogosphere, let’s connect on Instagram as well! I blog once or twice a week but I’m up and “running” 😉 there daily. Please come find me! x
header image: nik macmillan