Hey, guys! I’ve been away for a long time. I only have a few followers, but blogging is sort of like talking to myself anyway. Here are a few things that I’ve been doing to fill in all the time I gained by NOT BLOGGING.
- Avoiding Politics. This is a big one. I sat out this election season. I have spent so many years outraged and impassioned and all I got out of it was high blood pressure and depression, bigly. I haven’t reached the point of apathy. Not at ALL. I just decided to stop engaging for a while. I don’t believe I could have weathered this past election season and maintained my sanity had I not decided to remain aloof! I hid all the people who pissed me off on Facebook. I paid attention to the issues and I voted. That will be about the sum total of my participation until I feel that I have the will and the strength to take more action.
- Making Money. Back when I was raising three kids by day and working part time by night, I did a majority of the housework and kid-related duties. I bitched and spent a lot of time being resentful. My husband made me a deal: he promised that when I started making more money and working “40 hours a week” (grr), he would shoulder more of the responsibilities around the house. SO, when the youngest started school, I went out and got a good paying job. Guess who still does the majority of the housework and kid stuff plus fundraising and volunteering and baking for bake sales, etc.? But now I don’t have time to be resentful…much. My husband DOES do 100% of the yard work and 95% of fixing things that are broken and building stuff. I would do a lot more “projects” if I didn’t have to do all the cookin’ and cleanin’ though, just saying.
- Going to Counseling. I discussed this in an earlier post. During my daughter’s counseling session the counselor and she started talking about ME and how my cleaning habits may have caused my daughter to have anxiety about germs. OK, possibly valid. I admitted I have a little bit of a problem with dirt and germs and microbiology is a little passion of mine. The counselor noted that I was rocking back and forth, scratching myself, and sweating while recounting how my grandmother recently prepped a raw chicken in my kitchen and the bleach frenzy that ensued afterward due to her piss poor hand-washing regimen. The counselor suggested I might benefit from a couple sessions myself as I inched toward the door hyperventilating ever so slightly. I also have disaster visions, especially while teaching my eldest to drive, so I decided to give it a go. Much money and several months later, my daughter still doesn’t have her license and I still obsess over bacterial holocaust. I’ve decided to embrace it. Raw chicken is disgusting, come on! Not even a debate.
- Running My Ass Off. I am a graduate of the Couch to 5K program three times over. Every April for 3 years, I joined our local running club’s C25K program to BECOME A RUNNER. The first year, I ran our goal 5K and purchased a new pair of running shoes to celebrate. I was so pumped that I took off in the dark to try them out after a couple of glasses of wine (don’t try this at home). I fell and nearly broke my ankle and had to spend months recuperating. The second year I continued until the first cold snap and quit-I think my actual words were “f@*# this.” This, my third year, I have continued to run and I’m signed up for my first HALF MARATHON in June! I have a nagging calf injury, but I am determined to be the slowest runner to finish 13.1 miles. I have not really run my ass off at all. I don’t think I’ve lost a single pound, but my legs are like those of a small, muscular pony thanks to the damned hills and mountains of WNC.
- Rescuing All the Dogs. Lawdamercy, I have been rescuing the shit out of some dogs. Our first foster was a fat little geriatric terrier with mild manners and outrageous odor. She was so cute. All she did was lay around and stink up the place. Someone drove all the way from Maryland to rescue her. I warned her that she smelled like Satan’s sulfurous pits of hell, but she was unfazed. It was really inspiring. My biggest feat was taking in two puppies who weren’t allowed to go outside until they got all their shots. The volume of poop and pee two pups can produce is amazingly prodigious. Then we adopted one of them and endured a year of utter destruction! We’re about to adopt our latest foster as well, to play with my awful puppy. With 3 dogs, 2 cats, 2 guinea pigs, and an aquarium of fish, plus 5 humans, there is never a moment I am not feeding or cleaning or dealing with some minor household disaster. Why do I do this to myself? My husband has banned my rescue activities, so I have to find a new way to destroy my house and spend all my money.
- Contemplating My Own Mortality. A year ago when I went to the dentist he felt around my neck and noticed that my thyroid was enlarged. He advised me to go the doctor immediately, which I did. My GP sent me to get an ultrasound that day. They found several growths in both sides of my thyroid gland. There was a week or so of waiting before I could get them biopsied. As you can imagine, after losing so many family members to cancer, including one of my best friends last year, I was pretty worried. Thanks to the Generalized Anxiety Disorder that counseling revealed me to have, it was pretty much all I thought about. Fortunately, they didn’t detect cancer, but recommended having the gland removed in case they missed something. I’ve been putting that off in true procrastinator fashion. I also had a sketchy mammogram over the summer, but that too proved benign. My husband started having some heart issues that freaked us out, but he’s OK. All of this has made me very mindful of THE LITTLE THINGS, which are really the biggest things, aren’t they? To decrease stress on focus on what’s important, I am on a quest to SIMPLIFY MY LIFE.
- Working on my Finances. I have a stupid amount of credit card debt. We are hoping to roll it all into a refinanced home loan. Our home value has more than doubled since we bought it. Conventional wisdom dictates that you don’t leverage your home to pay off debts, but we are going for a loan that will have our debts and our home paid off in 15 years or less! Although it didn’t reduce my housework, my job has afforded this incredible opportunity to be debt free before we retire! Also, our credit union doesn’t charge PMI, which we can use instead to pay down our loan more quickly. I’m pretty excited about that. But first we must undergo the dreaded appraisal so I am:
- Updating my House. This involves patching, painting, redecorating, purging the junk, and staging our home as if no one really lives there. Usually there are giant tumbleweeds of human, dog, and cat hair gathering in the corners and under the beds. Our dust bunnies are more like dust jackrabbits. I could knit super-allergenic scarves out of them. We’ve begun cracking down on all the unfinished projects that seem to pile up when one owns a home. Finally the hole in the wall that was plastered over is getting sanded and repainted. Naked light switches and outlets are finally being covered. Aiding me during this process is the activity of:
- Eliminating my Hoard. I have a lot of shit and a very small house. I am on a mission to get rid of everything that doesn’t SPARK JOY. Yes, that’s from Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. My anxiety is always amplified when my surroundings are in chaos, which is often the case when you have so many kids and animals. So many times, I am unwilling to get rid of an object because of the memories attached to it, even if I just box the thing up and never look at it. I do this with feelings as well. The more order in my home, the more ordered I feel in my soul. Little by little, I have been trying to LET THINGS GO, both literally and figuratively. Maybe counseling helped a little.
These are a few things that have been occupying my time lately. I want to talk about some of them more deeply in future posts, especially RUNNING! It’s so therapeutic. MUCH cheaper than counseling and it has the added benefit of being good for you! Never in my life would I have thought that I would be attempting a half marathon for the first time in my mid-40s. I was the 15-minute mile queen during high school. You actually have to work to be that slow. Running a full mile and later ten miles were major milestones for me, physically and spiritually. I did something hard, that I never thought I could do. That feeling of awe and pride within myself was rare and wonderful. I hope everyone gets to experience that joy.