The tornado of phenomenons have swept through my life, the dust has somewhat settled ,and recently,I have finally had a moment to step back and check out its impact …..I have been pregnant four times in the last 5 years. I am not even sure how that is possible? In the last five years I have gotten married, birthed 3 amazing humans, taken a new job and bought house. Oh, and did I mention that I did all of this at non-springy-chicken age of 42 ,while learning more than I thought I’d ever need to know about Down syndrome?
Here I sit, among the beautiful pile of happenings that are my life and I critique why things are not the same as they were before.
The superficial come first to mind because, well, they are what I see. Where did all these wrinkles come from and why hasn’t this pooch gone away yet? I also wonder why I can’t seem to get together some sort of routine or a love life with my husband. I’m just a few months out from having my third son yet I am completely unforgiving to me.
Where is my old body? My sense of order? My clean house? My unwavering gratitude? It’s all jumbled up with midnight feedings and wiping noses and teaching a class of five year olds their letters and numbers. The twister that is my life continues and the storm shows no signs of slowing.
I am not one to be at peace with its glorious chaos. Rather, I am at war with it. I’m not at war with my angel children, my patient husband or demanding job. I am on the front line with none other than myself. Why am I not handling it better? Why isn’t the weight falling off? Why haven’t I unpacked all those boxes or “Nate Berkus’d” all the rooms in my house? Why aren’t my thank you cards done? How did I let my roots get so bad? Why isn’t there a hot, healthy ,dinner on the table at 5:30?
I’ve gone ahead and put it all on me. Now, I never have considered myself an overachiever, perfectionist, or competitive, but somehow in the midst of this cyclone, I have demanded beautiful serenity. I have expected an oxymoronic existence that is an impossible feat.
So, where to go from here? I’ve acknowledged that my line of thinking is out of line. Now what? I struggle with how to stop spinning. The answer evades me….. however, a few sayings come to mind. “Live with intent,” “discipline is the difference between what you want now and what you want most,” and a favorite from the wisest man I know( my dad,) “how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
Live with intent: sometimes I find myself trying so hard to win at life that I’m failing miserably and living with neglect. I’m mindlessly eating a chocolate bar while paying bills, watching a show and half assedly answering my sons endless questions about all things ever. I’m failing us all. Staying present is so hard for my multitasking personality but it is so important. I’m missing it. I’m missing being my very best me because I’m so busy being multiple versions of myself.
Discipline: I’ve always been real into immediate gratification. So, when work has been long and therapists don’t trickle out until well after 5, we say screw it let’s just order a pizza. When weeks drag on and on because we are quarantined, and then we finally get well, I say screw housework let’s go to the mall. I have that third drink when I know it will exhaust me the next day. I trade valuable home improvement moments for screen time. I pick now over waiting…. Then the guilts come. Why did I eat that crap? drink too much? waste my day? Forget to pray? Discipline is the yield sign to regrets. Until I have more order, I need to slow down the way that yellow sign urges me to.
How do I eat that elephant? One slow, deliberate, disciplined bite at a time. I will not blink and be my high school weight or wake to find every room in the house designed the way I intended. My wants will be sloth like because my needs make my head spin and I can’t change that. My options are few. Either abandon the elephant all together because of it’s enormity OR count small nibbles as victories. That one minute plank- victory. A full, ten, uninterrupted minutes painting with my toddler-victory. A conscientious conversation over a glass of red with my husband-victory. A bed made, pillows and all -victory. A crumbless high chair-victory…and then before you know it you can see the trunk, or the tail, depending on which end you started at. That gives you the power to keep going… and next thing you know ,you are in a tanktini , lying on a beach chair, with a Mai-tai, marveling at how the aftermath of a typhoon made everything lush and beautiful…..now THAT is some pachyderm food for thought.