So...the dilemma I have been facing is this: how do you move back into the center of your own life when you have been living at the perimeter for too long? It's harder than you'd expect. And I really don't have all the answers, even though I scoured Oprah magazine at the gym for several nights. I've been left to figure it out on my own. So far, this is what I've come up with
HOW TO RECLAIM YOUR LIFE
1) Be outside as much as possible I find that when I'm inside, there are too many unhealthy distractions. Too many things to obsess about. Too many things to keep my focus outside myself. But when I'm outside, the opposite happens. First, my attention is pulled outside my scattered brain. Then as I absorb all the good, nature-y things around me, I feel myself being pulled back in. But lower. I feel centered somewhere around the bottom of my rib cage. And my diaphragm doesn't chatter incessantly like my brain. It just breathes. I'm happy the weather has been nice on my days off. I'm especially happy that my new place is one mile from the beach.
2) Downsize Getting rid of things has been an ongoing theme in my life. And for the most part, I don't have a lot of stuff. So how come when I moved, I ended up moving so much STUFF? It would make more sense to purge before a move. But it's much easier to purge after you've had to lug all your crap from one place to another. As I've unpacked, I've thought: really? REALLY? I kept that? For what? Then other things, I have to "go through". And still others, I need to use, or wear, or read and then decide. My goal, in 6 -12 months is to cut down by half. (I got way too many books) The nice thing is: as I downsize, I feel lighter. And freer. And more me.
3) Clean UP In the weirdest way, on my day off, as I go through my weekly chores of laundry and vacuuming and doing the dishes and cleaning the bathroom and going grocery shopping, I feel centered and at peace. And happy. I never thought that cleaning would make me happy. But having control over my own environment sure does. And cleaning gives me a sense of control.
4) Volunteer I've been doing a lot of volunteering with the adaptive sports program we have at work. And another organization that does hiking with disabled folks. It feels good. (and goes nicely with the be outside goal, too) I may check out the local animal shelter one day a month, too. I'll see if I have the time.
5) Drink lots of tea It's a nice little ritual I got into since my move to my new place. It's a nice transition to sleepy time from work-and-work-out time. Plus, it keeps me from eating at night.
6) Cut down on the junk food I was stressed out a lot this year. And I ate a lot of junk this year. (I'm a stress eater!) As a result, I put on some weight this year. (thank goodness I got all those cute tankini's last year on sale!) So now, I'm trying to get back to my happy weight and my happy state of health.
7) Train for another marathon I've just never found a more effective way to move past something bad and onto something good than in running long distances according to a specific plan with a specific time frame and a concrete goal. Marathon training is the best! Plus, this particular marathon has Mickey Mouse and Goofy along the route! (Disney 2012!)
8) Spend time with your dad! My dad helped me move. My dad helped me clean out the jeep and put the hard top on last weekend (so sad to put the soft top away) My dad showed up at my place with all new cleaning stuff, picture hooks, batteries, light bulbs, and easy to cook food for the first week. My dad is the best. I've felt better since hanging out with my dad.
9) Tie up as many loose ends as possible I haven't been able to tie up the BIG ones. But I'm trying to keep all the little things in a state of completion. At home. At work. At the gym. In the car. No half done daily notes before I leave. No dishes left in the sink. No laundry left on the floor. No recycling sitting on the passenger seat of the car for three days until I make it to the recycling center. Everything is started and finished. Nothing to distract me. Nothing to keep me from being front and center!
10) Start blogging again I started blogging way back when to "find my voice" once again when I forgot who I was. And now I'm back. For the same reason.
So I've been away for a while. A long while. But I'm back now.
I've moved out of the Garaje Mahal and into a new place. I got my internet hooked up. I'm trying to get my life back.
Long story short...my life was hijacked over the last few months. That's right -- hijacked! For several months, my life was not my own. My thoughts and deeds and emotions were spent on somebody else's agenda. Their problems became my problems. Their drama became my drama. My life became a distant glimmer on the horizon of which I had a vague recollection. I was downgraded to supporting player.
How did I let that happen? Well, yes, I've always been the kind of person who doesn't seek the spotlight. I don't like a lot of fanfare and fuss. I don't want my picture on a cereal box. I don't incessantly post updates on Facebook about how my day was better than your day. I don't write empassioned letters to the editor and sign my name like John Hancock. I blog anonymously.
But still....to paraphrase Sting: "In this theater I call my soul, SHOULDN'T I play the starring role?"
Maybe it all starts when you start identifying with those bit players. The supporting cast. I always liked them better, anyway. And I sort of saw myself as a quirky, quick witted Joan Cusack kind of girl, rather than a Julia Roberts kind of girl. Those girls could get away with things like wearing ridiculously out of place outfits to formal events and everyone let them. Laughed with them. Admired their spunk. Who wouldn't want to go to a dinner party with Jennifer Coolidge and Annie Potts? Who doesn't love Rose, the crazy neighbor from Two and a Half Men? I sure love em! I sure want to be em!
But maybe the zany, left of center persona comes with a price. I never wanted to live in Kate Winslet's shadow. But I haven't seen direct sunlight in a while.
SO now that I'm back with my new internet connection and my new place (so new, I don't have a fun little nickname for it yet. But it has buttery yellow walls. Which may come into play in the naming ceremony) And I'm thinking.... maybe it's time to be Sandra Bullock for a while.