Thursday, September 14, 2017

Self-Help This

I'll admit it, I'm addicted to "working on myself." I've always been like this but more so than ever. Anyone who has lost someone close to this can relate. When you are watching someone go through cancer or losing someone close you have two options: maintain the status quo and stick your head in the sand about the tragedy; or fall apart and just deal with the tragedy. I chose the latter.

Those in my family that maintained their status quo escaped to a lovely place called Denial Island where they sipped mocktails and told themselves that no, my mom was not dying of cancer and the world was rosy. When she did pass, they awoke to the reality of it all and I'm sure they have many regrets.

Those of us that stayed in the moment with Mom have few regrets about that time period but awoke to the harsh realities of self-awareness: knowing that your best was highly lacking and that all of the poor behavior you glossed over could no longer be hidden. Because at that time you have no energy to maintain- you just somehow get through. It's not graceful and it's not pretty and sometimes there are casualties left in the wake. This is a pic of my mom and me. Ugh, still dyeing the hair but you can also see my beautiful inspiration for going natural.

Five years later and I feel like I'm still cleaning up some of my messy behavior- the key culprit is not maintaining my stress. For instance, if I don't have a proper 1-2 week vacation each year I'm on edge. Between the work, the commutes, being an officer and volunteer at my DAR Chapter, volunteering in so many other ways, plus all the neighborhood events, I barely have time to breathe. And I love the volunteer work because that's instant gratification: to see someone's life improved because of a simple gesture, even if for just a moment. But when you're stressed, you're never giving your best.

So as I read through yet another self-help book a friend lent me, I realized, "Holy crap, I'm way more f'd up than I thought!" Goody. According to this, my nearly 20 years moving around for my career has taught me to become evasive to relationships. And that's true- the first sign of neediness from a man and I run for the hills, or to my next station. I avoid dating locals who have never lived elsewhere because the idea of staying put in any one area used to cause me to break out in hives. The government is all too eager to take advantage of people like me who are willing to move and bring their experience into a new Division.

Recently I got a call from a good and respected friend about an opportunity coming up in another Division. Hmm, perfect timing as I've been in a place over three years, HOA fees are rising, and there's an eclipse- a universal sign, no? And that's sort of how my career has been- just fall into the right place at the right time, accepting the path of least resistance. Only one thing- I said no. I had just declared that my forever home will be in Maine. I LOVE it there and I've dreamt of living in New England ever since I saw the first episode of Who's the Boss? (don't judge).

By saying 'no' to a sure thing and 'yes' to walking off the cliff into the unknown, i.e searching for jobs in Maine, I chose my happiness over my career. That's the first time I've done that in a long time. Yes, I have the luxury of having a job in DC until I make my move, but it's still scary (terrifying really) and equally exciting to take that leap of faith. The opportunity I turned down was a big one and will never happen again.

So I guess this all loosely ties together in saying that I'm choosing a better life for myself. I'm choosing to deal with my commitment issues (on both men and really settling down into one area), and also to stop hiding behind my career and sleep-walking through life. I think my mom would be proud.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Living with a Man

I live with a man and his name is Colin Farrell. No, mine is the four-legged variety and, dare I say it, much more adorable. He even brandishes the full title of totes adorbs!

We're going on nine months of living together and it wasn't until the other day that I realized exactly how much of a boy dog my boy dog really is. So I thought I would put together a little list of things I've discovered on how it is to live with a new boy in the house.

1. We don't have the same schedules
Apparently Colin doesn't understand that I work all day. I wake up and he thinks it's play time. Yes, let me rush out of bed to walk you and feed you. I'm good with that but I'm still wiping the smeared mascara from my eyes when you're in full-on play mode. It's the same before bed. "No, Colin it's time for Bedfordshire. Mommy has to get up and do this all over again tomorrow." What about the mile walk we just took? Or the playtime with the neighborhood dogs? Or our playtime and cuddle time?

2. We NEVER agree on t.v. shows
I own it, I sometimes have bad taste in t.v. Okay, terrible taste. I knew this would become a problem when I cohabited with someone else but I did not think my dog would have such strong opinions. Without fail, if there is a Real Housewives show or Hallmark movie he jumps up onto the couch "pretending" that he wants to cuddle. But he sits on the remote and changes it to sports EVERY TIME. Then he proceeds to roll around to hide the remote underneath him while he directs my hand to scratch his belly. He will continue to do this until I hide the remote from him. It's a daily fight.

3. We don't agree on socializing
Technically, I'm an introvert. I can function in society but after a full day of meetings and people, I need a dark corner and fetal position to regain energy. Compared to Colin I'm an extreme extrovert. Colin has decided that I am the only biped that he needs to know. Well yes, I'm the staff. And to be honest humans aren't all they're cracked up to be. My version is occasional contact with the outside world whereas Colin is known as the Mrs. Kravitz of the neighborhood: he peeks out at the neighbors through the window and collects information about them. Perhaps this is why he wants nothing to do with them??

It is different sharing your space. You have to reset your routine and there are always growing pains- like the fact that half of my socks have been chewed up and right now the right sock I'm wearing has holes in the bottom. Yes, there are adjustments but once you get through those growing pains you can't imagine your life without him.