Checking-in

Checking in. Checking in can mean so much more than what the common usage implies. I’ve been what some may call checked out; checked out of life more or less for lack of a better way of putting it. Sure, I get up each morning and I eat breakfast, take care of my boys, the dogs, and work, but I am just going through the motions; step one, step two, step three and so on, putting one foot in front of the other so to speak. I have been finding it difficult to truly check in, to truly engage in what is happening around me. I’m here, but I’m not here, I’m participating but I am not a participant. I’m not sure the ruse is fooling anyone, but I keep thinking if I fake it long enough that maybe I will make it, back to being checked in that is.

I got sick in December, then again in January, and while I am not a fan of making excuses or blaming circumstances, I can’t seem to pinpoint what else has me in this slump. I’m not saying being sick did it, what I am saying is it is the only I can identify that might do this. I’m just not interested, in anything. When I try to figure out what the problem is I am lost, or if I consider what might motivate me to check back in I am also lost. So maybe the problem is feeling lost.

Whatever the reason, I must check back in. I don’t want to miss this life, or these moments just phoning it in. I want to wallow in and wiggle around in the moments that make life, good or bad. So that is the trick I guess, figuring out how to check back in when it feels so damn cozy and numb remaining checked out.

If I am to stay true to my manifesto of intentional living then I must intentionally sign back up and stop the negative self-talk that binds me. If I am to truly make the choices necessary to live happily, then I need to stop worrying about how I got this way, how I am going to reverse it, but instead focus on this moment, right now, just checking in for the moment.

This feels safe; I only have to do it for a moment. Just one moment, check-in check-out, or as my son would say easy peasy lemon squeezy. I don’t need to commit to tomorrow or next week, I don’t need to piece together the puzzle of yesterday, all I really have to do is one little moment. One step, two step, three step.

So this is my step for today, my checking in, if only for a moment. I committed to this blog in July, I committed to making this blog the place where I find the better way of living. The place where I share this journey with others so that maybe they can find their best life.  We all have set backs, moments where our best selves did not show up at the party. Maybe by writing this you will realize you are not alone, I am not alone. Checking out is possibly more common place than any one of us thought; especially, when we are checked out and isolated.

Special thanks to those that checked in on me, to those who gave up moments of their life to check on mine. I hope you know how wonderful you are and how much I appreciate your attention.

What I’m reading: Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich

What I’m watching: Girls, that Lena Dunham is truly inspiring.

What I’m listening to: Story of My Life, Embarrassed this is by One Direction, so good despite the boy band association.

Now moment: The two and four year old having an in depth conversation like adults about their grandma. It was almost enough to make me cry

365 grateful: I am way behind on my grateful days, simply behind. Ironically, had I been doing it like I planned maybe I wouldn’t have checked out for so long. So here is the breakdown as best I can remember.

Things I am grateful for:

My husband’s smile

IV Fluids

Breath right strips

My Veronica Mars co-pilot and all around show watching friend, yes, another shout out to you Kerri

Cadbury Egg season

Las Vegas

Daiquiris by the yard

A full night’s sleep

Remembering and honoring a special mentor and friend, Rob Grogan. I will miss you always, thank you for giving me the stones to write and supporting me in loss. You are truly irreplaceable. The world lost a valuable soul. Rest in Peace, and thank you for everything. Now you’ll get the best seats in the house for all those Yankee games.

Comfort food

My iPhone for allowing me continued access to an email account Microsoft foolishly locked for 30 days

Miss Cady at Gymboree for being my boy’s first real crush, if they continue with that caliber they will be alright

Fat snowflakes

A job offer, even if I did turn it down

Clean biopsy results

Baggy jeans that no longer fit

Monster Energy drinks

On demand TV

Little boy hugs

Getaways

Cozy pants

Emails that are better late than never when it comes to reconnecting

Where is My Village?

January was a difficult month, there are whole parts of it I don’t remember and I swear it was the 16th just yesterday. You may have been wondering where I was or if I had stopped writing altogether. Never fear, I was only sick and I have no plans to stop writing.

January was a month of learning lessons and feeling isolated. Mid January I got sick, really sick. Some kind of virus set up shop in my body and played havoc with my digestive system and brain. No joke, I swear I heard it laughing inside me. Erie.

It came on fast, and it stayed too long. It drained my body of fluids, and my brain of the ability to think or make good decisions. It pushed me farther than I thought I could go and forced me to make choices I shouldn’t have been making. Seriously, it was a giant slap in the face.

What I realized, while considering my demise, was that those around me are more capable than I gave them credit for, and I am seriously deficient in the number of those around me.  In other words, my 2 and 4 year old children were better at accepting my illness and inability to help them than I thought they would be. They managed to go potty alone and find their own snacks. They played alone in their rooms for significantly more time when I was unable to watch them properly. They never complained. They were tiny rock stars. My husband stepped up and actually went to the grocery store. Sure it took him 4 trips to get everything but he went, he did it well, and he even found some new gluten free things I didn’t know about. Plus, he managed two trips to the urgent care and one trip to the emergency room without succumbing to his germ-aphobic paranoia. Heck, he even managed to enter the same room I was in without holding his breath, and I swear one time he even rubbed my back for a half a second. :)

Bottom line was we needed help, seriously, we needed someone to watch our kids, make sure I was getting rest and fluids, and allow my husband to go to work daily. We didn’t have it. So I learned we can manage, though it was ugly, but we should try to open our village up to new folks so maybe we won’t have to do it alone next time.

Friends and resources are important for so many reasons. We should have had an emergency plan in place and a sitter who had already been to our home and knew the lay of the land. We should find people with similar interests and children the same age as our boys just in case we need last minute support that only more people can provide. Sometimes it does take a village. Not a dysfunctional mess of a village full of idiots, but purposefully selected and competent villagers who care and are kind.

I’m not great at making friends and I’m worse now that I have children. I honestly don’t like many other moms and the way they treat their children is appalling (though I’m sure many of them feel the same about me). Plus, I have significantly reduced my inner circle by removing people who were damaging to me and by having others walk out of my life for no reason I can discern (I guess maybe I was damaging to them?). So I guess I need to make new friends a priority. I guess I need to stuff my superior feelings and just learn to accept others flaws and all and just be glad when those flaws don’t include being hurtful.  While I think people can hurt your happiness, and even intentionally prevent one from attaining true happiness, I now see that the right people can be instrumental in helping you achieve and maintain happiness.

So here is to a future of friends, or at least resources in place to make our next emergency less traumatic. And a big thanks to my family for supporting me in my moment of utter despair. I’m grateful I have such selfless people in my life. I am thankful I have such wonderful, confident, and empathetic children who did their best to help mommy. Kind of a tall order for those under 4, but those two managed that and then some.

I’m not back to full strength; it could be a few more weeks before that happens. But in the mean time I’m just going to take it easy, smile more often, be thankful for great insurance, and rest.

Crossroads and Time Machines

I say all the time that you can’t go back. There is no good living in the past and wondering what if or wishing things were still the same. Frankly, in my life, I am glad I do not live back there in those moments. Sure I had some great one, but overall I am glad to be in this moment, with this man and this family. So I don’t struggle much with looking back and wondering what if. This past week however I have been hit with strange emotion evoking things from my past, and what I learned was sometimes you need to get that “good old days feeling” when you are facing a crossroads in life.

Sometimes that feeling of invincibility or strength we all seem to have in our 20s might just be useful in our later years if we could only figure out how to harness its power. If I could go back in time, if I had a DeLorean and 1.21 gigawatts of power, I wouldn’t go  back to change anything, I would go back to harness and capture the energy and belief in everything being possible that only a 22  year old Wendy could feel. Okay, maybe 17-25 maybe those years held the strongest belief in myself and life. Those years I welcomed the crossroads, even created many, because I truly believed with enough motivation and strength I could do anything.

Of course I’ve learned that’s all a giant lie. No offense to you still living in wonderland thinking it can all come true (I hope it does for you), but not everything is possible. I made a lot come true in my life. I’ve had a lot of goals and I’ve made many of them happen. I’m not saying things aren’t possible, I’m just saying not all things are possible. In the end though, what I want to get from that me from yesterday is not her flawed but delightful thinking, it is her “can do” spirit and the ability for just the right movie to make me think, yep, I can do this, it is all going to be alright. The world is my oyster, so to speak.  That girl could get so charged up by a movie or a song that she really did do some amazing things with the inspiration.

I am now at a new crossroads. Not one I created, but one just happening to me. I find these to be the worst kind. It isn’t like I have a plan or even wanted to make a deal with a crossroads demon so to be standing at an unexpected crossroads is daunting and exhausting. In the beginning of this I thought “Crap, not one more thing”, then I caught a glimpse of While you were sleeping on TV and I was instantly transported back to my sophomore year in college to a dingy Durango theater all alone. It wasn’t the movie so much as just that moment in my life. I can remember my thoughts and feelings as I watched the movie. My life is just beginning, I can do anything. Maybe I felt this way because the lead character in the film did not, I’m not sure. So while my life is no longer just beginning I felt that same sense of inspiration when I saw the movie again. Like my brain knew I needed to draw upon the Wendy of yore and use her emotions as a catalyst to get past the crossroads and on my way in life. I am both grateful and envious of Wendy watching this movie for the first time, 20 years old, not knowing what lay ahead and not being afraid either. She was pretty cool.

So here I am at my crossroads. Now I am thinking, is this the opportunity to make more money, find a job a love, commit to old projects? Perhaps. I don’t know. I haven’t figured it out yet. But what I do know is drawing on the power of who I used to be and allowing myself an indulgent day of “reliving’ my past through movies and music, I might just find an answer, or at least be better prepared for the bumpy road ahead. I am excited and terrified. Intrigued and exhausted. It’s funny, I really do wish I had a time machine, not because I would change anything, but just so I could get that feeling of endless possibilities anytime I wanted. I guess moves, music and food will just have to suffice until I figure out that flux capacitor and butterfly effect.

This week I am trying something new. I recommend you all do the same. When my kids go to bed, instead of zoning out in front of the tv with my husband while we both obsessively check our smart phones. We are turning it all off for at least an hour and playing cards. We are sitting close, looking into each others eyes, playing cards, laughing, talking, thinking. We just started yesterday, and I won’t lie, so far it’s awesome. Before kids and smart phones we played games all the time. Now I remember why we loved that. My goal this week is to do this everyday. I miss him.

What I am reading: Six Years by Harlan Coben, it isn’t my usual fair, but it was on sale, so score!

What I am listening to: The A Team by Ed Sheeran

Inspirations from the ether: I’m super smitten with John Green right now and I can’t believe I never stumbled across his awesomeness before. Seriously, I can’t get enough of him. Lucky for me he has a blog, a tumblr (which I still don’t really understand what that is), a youtube channel where he and his brother Hank (Hank isn’t so bad either :))exchange interesting videos read to each other but are really for everyone, and several books. I figure it isn’t really stalking if you are happily married and too tired from raising toddlers that you can’t even figure out where he gets his coffee much less his real street address. If you haven’t heard of him, you should check him out. I am more in awe everyday. Genius, entertaining, funny, smart and witty. Besides anyone who makes up a word like “dooblydoo” (and it is very fitting)  is aces in my book.

Hank:I love a good rant.


Now moment of the week: Having my husband teach me how to play rummy, and more or less kicking his ass, but we weren’t keeping score because I was still learning. Poor Jay. :)