Monday, April 7, 2008

How to live a life

"I regret that it takes a life to learn how to live, Oskar."~Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

I have the house to myself right now and I know that's not a big thing but lately I can't seem to find even a corner of this house that isn't noisy and cluttered up with someone else's life, and so it feels like a big thing to me.

Three years ago I was struggling to find peace with the fact that my children were growing up and away and it took me a while, but I learned to live with their absences. Now my oldest has moved back and my middle child will be home from college shortly and I am back to where I was before only now I've had just the littlest taste of independence and alone time and I find that I miss it sorely.

Last week I struggled so hard to stay on track with my exercising. I think what happens is that I get frustrated with my life and how it seems like I'm destined to always be the one who lives with the decisions other people make--that I am never the one who says, "I've decided THIS, and you will now revolve your life around that decision." It gets me down and then I start to think how much I hate exercising, how much I hate to pull my hair back and sweat and feel all achy afterwards. And even though I know that exercise is essential to my mental well being, I decide to skip a day or a week and the next thing I know a year will have gone by without me doing anything. I told myself this time (almost a year ago I started working out again) that I would not allow myself to give it up again and so far, I've stayed true to myself but I am telling you, it is hard.

I find that when my husband works too many days at home and the kids are under foot that I get anxious and angry and those are the days I most want to skip doing what I know is good for me and I'm not sure why. I think I like sabotaging myself. I think maybe I like feeling like I'm a victim. I can't really think too hard about it right now because I'm sure it has something to do with me not wanting to take full responsibility for who I am and what I am feeling and I know that's not what I should be doing so if I stop thinking about it I can pretend I'm not at fault.

The thing I have to remember about exercising is that it's for me and me alone and it's something that no one forces me to do but myself and I only do that because I know that the benefits outweigh the negatives. On bad days, it clears my head and gives me focus. It brings me peace and gives me hope that I will find my way in this world at some point.

I think my journey is about finding my way--not because I am lost because I don't feel lost. I think my journey is finding a way of living inside a life that requires me to ask more of myself than I am sometimes willing to give, and finding gracious ways of doing that. I need to find a way to love the journey while I'm living it.

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