I have been swirling in a glass full of self-pity, walking around with a dark cloud over my head. I was tired, cranky, and unenthusiastic about life in general. I couldn’t pin point the cause of my woes, yet recognized my increased family obligations interfered with my training, which interfered with my writing and my work. I was resentful at the very people who have supported me, sacrificed their time for me, and stuck by my side the whole way. This in turn, led to massive guilt trips for being so ungrateful and wondering if I can ever do anything right. My flair for the dramatic has shined for about two weeks.
Joe, my husband, told me “just relax, no one is pressuring you to do anything.” That little comment would infuriate me causing me to emphatically explain that I TRIED to relax but couldn’t.
Yet he was right, which drove me even more insane. I knew this storm existed solely in my head because if I looked around me there was nothing to complain about. My father who was in the hospital was out, my son is getting the solitary staple out of his head tomorrow, and I still live in a gorgeous island surrounded by wonderful people. Why couldn’t I just snap out of it? Where was the RESET button?
These are the times I need to be careful; I’ve gone down this path before and nothing good came out of it.
I know inside each one of us is a fearful person: one whose anxiety causes her to react in less than agreeable ways. It is human nature. Yet inside each one of us is also a peaceful person who reacts to the world with patience and kindness. Those two people live simultaneously in me, in all of us. We just need to choose whom to listen to. Imagine a river of peace, and one of fear running side by side from your head to your toes. It is up to you to decide which one you are going to use to float your boat.
If I stay on the anxiety river too long, I give that mean, selfish Cristina too much space in the real world negatively affecting those I love the most. I’d had enough.
I looked in the mirror, I saw that restless woman and told her to go take a hike. I made a conscious decision to change. Other people are better suited to have stressful situations and maintain their life in balance. Their threshold for discomfort is higher which probably means that if they are athletes, they are faster than me.
I had to admit there was quite a discrepancy between what I thought I could handle, and what I actually could handle. I found life’s RESET button.
That meant taking my life, and bringing it down to its simplest level in order to gain some peace, strength and then grow back from there.
First step was triathlon. At my coach’s suggestion I bowed out of my half iron distance race in May. Right now the training volume is high, I wasn’t getting it done, and I was getting resentful at the world because of it. Joey told me a bad race can mess with my head more significantly that not racing, and he is right. I know me. As much as I could tell you this was just a training race, if I sucked, it would get to me.
Instead, he suggested I take the month to train without any pressure. This way the time demands weren’t too big, and I could bring the fun back into training. He also suggested I set a limit as to how much unstructured time I would give myself. Starting my Ironman Arizona training in June would give me enough time to build back my endurance after a month of setback. So now I had a clear end date.
I also decided to forgo strength training this month. I was struggling to find the motivation to head to the gym, and was going through the motions with little to no commitment thinking mostly of what I wasn’t doing to be there. A break here would benefit me too.
I scaled back my work plans. This summer we were embarking on an awesome family bike trip where I would write about the adventure. However, I had not been able to plan it correctly and chose to let it go. The work I’ve put into it thus far will still be useful when we try again in 2015.
I made a commitment not to freak out if my page views went down for a bit, and I am putting my family first. If I need to go see my father I will, if my children need help with homework I won’t pout, if Joe travels and I need to take the boys to school in the morning “wasting” an hour of my day, so be it.
I recognize no one is out there with the sole purpose of messing up my day.
And finally, I will surround myself with positive people, meditate, ask for help when needed to get back to my center.
This month I am taking life on life’s terms. At least for the next five minutes.
Because if something goes wrong, I might have to press the RESET button again, and again, and again. That’s okay. As long as I keep pressing it, I am making my way out of the fear and into peace. And as someone told me, instead of drowning in a glass of milk, I will be drinking it.