Imaginary Obligations

Peace

Image via Wikipedia

Ok, so I have harped on and on about the flaws of The Crush the disappearing act he is want to engage in from time to time,  the no children issue, his seemingly unquenchable desire to move interstate, is apparent inability to introduce me to his friends and only daughter, his pre-occupation with work.

All of this has led many of my friends to question what is left to like about this man, and why am I not dumping his a**??

Well, there are many good qualities about him, otherwise I wouldn’t be so hesitant to wave him goodbye and ride off into the sunset on a date with the cute 27 year old.

Let me enlighten you:

  • He is driven and motivated.  I am never going to have to have a full-blown argument with him in order to get him off the couch or away from the playstation to walk the dogs with me with the housework.
  • He has a strong sense of responsibility.
  • He has laughing eyes.
  • When I have his attention, I have his full attention.
  • He’s incredibly smart.
  • He can be very sensitive – I get to see a side of him that noone else does.
  • He is supportive and encouraging.
  • He seems to think I’m going to be the CEO one day (in my book, few compliments could top this one).
  • Ok, and he’s easy on the eye, to me anyway.
  • He likes my dogs, even though he pretends not to.
  • He thinks I’m beautiful and tells me so, even when I am in the midst of the flu with puffy eyes, blotchy skin and a red nose.
  • He makes me laugh.
  • He’s strong.
  • He’s confident – which I understand most people don’t normally think is such a good thing because confidence can be confused with arrogance, but for some reason, I find it incredibly attractive.
  • He’s loyal – though I may not see him as much as I would like, I’m confident he is not seeing anyone else.
  • He likes helping people – the man’s business is saving lives, how could that possibly be a bad thing?
  • He can cook (though I have yet to experience this first hand)
  • He was a sports therapist in a past life (and I am a [recreational] sports woman in need of regular massage!)
  • He has been a policeman AND a fireman (irrelevant really but everyone knows firemen are hot- they have their own calendar for goodness sake!)

This list could be way longer but I have a day job.

I know these good things may not ultimately be enough to overcome the other problems.  

I wish I could be more free-spirited and not get so attached to each person who crosses my path.  I wish my sense of obligation to make people happy and not disappoint them could be directed a little more inwards.

I dont know where this sense of obligation comes from.  It’s out of control.

Last night I revealed to a friend of mine that I felt like I was being pulled in too many different directions. I want to focus on yoga but I have to run, and cycle and go to the gym as well.  To be good at any of these you need to be doing them a minimum of 2-3 times per week.  I do have a full time job, and I’m finding myself feeling completely washed out with the effort of keeping on top of everything.  Some of these things just dont seem like fun anymore.  I want to do a marathon, yes, but why do I feel obligated to do it right now when really I would rather be doing something else?

I worry that if I don’t go through with the marathon next year that I will be letting people down somehow…what people? Perhaps the people whom I told I would do it. 

But my friend, in her great wisdom pointed out that noone is really going to care.

And she’s right. Of course she’s right! 

Maybe I care too much that they will know I didn’t go through with it, that they know I was not 100% dedicated to it.  That I might not have been capable of doing it (when I know I am).

But in truth, what I really want to do is spend more time in the gym building strength, and the rest of my time doing yoga, lots of yoga.

And  learn to meditate.

And wear leg warmers.

So what if doing this means I wont be able to just go and run 6-10km before or after work on any given day? So what if I only ride occassionally and cant keep up with a squad? So what if I don’t do the company sponsored corporate running events?

Wont I be a lot happier if I just focus on the things that I want to do for the fun of it? When I was speaking to The Crush after my yoga class last night, he said exactly that. 

“Here’s an idea” he said “why dont you try exercising for fun [instead of putting so much pressure on yourself]?”.

And the unspoken words I knew he was thinking: “What are you trying to prove?”

What AM I trying to prove???

Maybe I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone else, but rather to myself.  Though, I’m not sure what that is.  That I’m good at sport? That I finish what I start? That I can do it all? That I’m superwoman?

I don’t know.  All I know is, I want a rest, and I think my body is telling me I need one. This unrelenting desire to put my head down and close my eyes every moment of every day, my inability to get through the HIIT at level 12 when 6 weeks ago I was doing it at level 16, the fact that my personal trainer keeps asking me why I look so tired, and my difficulty in focussing at work, are probably all clear indicators that I need to slow down for a bit.  It doesn’t have to be forever, there’s nothing to say I cant do a marathon the year after next.  Who knows, a few months rest and I might be capable of training for and still achieving the marathon by the end of next year.

Or maybe the rest will help me to revaluate what is really important to me and maybe that marathon will slip further down the priority list behind other, new adventures.

Perhaps a bit of meditation will help me to find some peace in the choices I make for me.

Here’s hoping 🙂

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About Done?

The peloton of the Tour de France

Image via Wikipedia

It’s only Wednesday and already I find myself saying in my head: “What a week!”

I woke up yesterday with the strangest sensation- I was desperate to go for a ride (cycle).  Only I couldn’t because I was away for work, and even if I was at home, both my mountain bike and road bike are in such a neglected state it would be a small miracle to even get out of the gate!

Nevertheless with my new found motivation I decided to look up some possibilities for group rides that I could join on a Saturday/Sunday morning. My only stipulation was that although I have been riding for many years, I haven’t actually been on the bike in 2 so I am expecting to be a little slow. So, I wanted to find a group that would ride at a fairly easy pace for a returning triathlete to rediscover her cycling legs without having to face the traffic alone.

 I contacted a couple of ride organisers, but they were all “well if you can’t average xx km/hr then I’m afraid you’ll probably just get dropped, we don’t stick around to make sure new riders can keep up.  Sounds like you might need to do a bit of riding on your own first”. Now the old Serene from a few years ago would not have been at all put off by the prospect of getting dropped off the back of a peloton, but all of a sudden I just wanted to burst into tears! Stupid really, all of a sudden I had the urge to email Mr X and though I think of him every day still, I hadn’t felt upset about him in a while. 

I think it’s the prospect of cycling again, in the absence of Mr X.  The last time I had been out of the cycling scene for a bit, it was Mr X who got me back into it and he was always supportive.  I associated two main activities with Mr X: diving and cycling, this was how I got to spend most of my time with him, and how eventually, I fell head over heels for him. 

Perhaps if I just push through the emotional discomfort and start riding again, I will realise how much I miss it and I will discover a new, non-Mr X-associated, love for it.  I feel so silly.  But the insecure part of me wanted someone to be as encouraging about my getting back into a sport I once loved, as he had been.  I wasn’t feeling the love, nor particularly welcomed and it just made me miss him all over again.

Add to this a lovely 2 hours on Sunday spent cuddling with my friend’s newborn, followed by a horrifying baby dream on Sunday night, and I am more than a little shaky about where I find myself at the moment. 

Sure, I may have had a cute 27 year old give me his number on Friday night, and he may have flattered me by guessing my age as quite a few years junior than I actually am.  My ego was suitably boosted in light of The Crush having gone MIA again for a few days.  However, despite my frustration with him, and his hot-cold tendencies, seeing The Crush at the airport Monday morning resulted in my stomach somersaulting wildly and I found myself slipping back into “smitten” territory. 

I spend so much time worrying about what has gone wrong in the past and what might go wrong in the future if I make certain decisions. Living in the “now” is definitely proving a challenge, but I will persist.  All I can do is be honest with myself and those around me. I have no control over what The Crush may choose to do if I reveal that I am feeling a little clucky and that this might be an indication that I might want to have children of my own someday.  Part of me thinks that perhaps I should not rush to tell him, as I enjoy his company so much when I do see him.  However, I also don’t want to waste his time, but I’m just not sure I’m done with this yet.

Finding Joy in the Moment

The Passage of Time

Image by ToniVC via Flickr

I read an interesting post recently, which really made me think.  It was about the power of choice. More importantly (to me anyway) It was about validation of choice.

I have been focussing more on other people’s blogs of late, and less on my own.  I wanted to explore further what others were experiencing, and how they were coping.  It seems I have recently developed a need to find comfort in numbers in the hope that it would make me feel slightly less clueless, powerless and… spineless.

The blog post was brief, simply stating that we aren’t weak because we make compromises for love, but rather that [sometimes] a compromise is in fact a choice.  A choice to follow One’s heart instead of an alternate path.

I guess it’s similar to the concept that my friends like to repeat to me often (and let me tell you, I need to have it repeated often), that:

We make the best decisions we can with the information available at the time.

This concept used to provide me with comfort, and in a way it still does, but not as much as it should, I suspect. 

What about when, after making these seemingly “right” decisions- whcih ultimately resulted in years of heartache, which in turn required equal if not more years to recover from- you get to a point where you feel incapable of making any decision at all?

What happens when you become the deer frozen in the headlights?

When you believe that no path available to you will provide you with what you need?

What happens when you realise that you aren’t necessarily happy with the way things are, but the only alternative you can think of also does not provide you with the solution you seek?

Sure, you could say that by not taking an alternate path you are simply choosing to stay where you are.  But what if you aren’t really choosing? What if its simply fear and indecision which paralyses you in to staying where you are? What if you dont want any of the options presented to you? What if where you end up isn’t so much a choice but rather a place you end up by default?

Then it shouldn’t matter, right? It shouldn’t matter whether you go left or right because even if its not going to take you where you want to go, it at least, it has the potential to be somewhere better than here. It might present you with yet another opportunity to go where you want to go, that might not have been presented to you otherwise, if you had just stayed standing at the junction looking confuzzled.

But what if it doesn’t?

I find myself at that dreaded junction again with a somewhat heavy heart and feeling a little defeated by the futility of my so-called “power of choice”.

But I think what may be required, is a change of focus.  If I can’t make a choice about one aspect of my life, perhaps I need to shift my attention to another part of my life and make a choice about that.

Seemingly unrelated changes might lead to consequences I had not anticipated.

So, I’m going to spend a little more time focussing on yoga.  I’m going to speak to my yoga teacher about learning to mediate.  I’m going to learn how to live in the now. I’m going to learn how to stop freaking myself out with my fear of the future and the “what-if’s”.

I’m going to learn to live rather than just exist while waiting for some miraculous life-altering change that may never come, or at least, not in the form I envisaged.

This is me, choosing to acknowledge the joy in my life today, in this moment, without future demons overshadowing them:  My preferring to suffer a little longer with a full bladder rather than go outside so she could stay close to me, lean on my leg for a pat and lie on my bathmat while I showered. The friend who is excited about his new job. The anticipation of a yoga class this evening.  The barista singing and dancing while making my coffee. My new green scarf. 

These are just a few of the things that brought me joy this morning, before I have even finished my coffee.

[Not] looking out for No. 1

Number One

I received a very special message the other day, by email. You know, one of those random but wonderful emails that friends might send you from time to time, not necessarily a long one, just a word to say “hi” and let you know they are thinking about you, or to relay an important viewpoint on something.

I wasn’t really sure what had sparked it but nonetheless, it had a massive impact in two ways:

Firstly, it gave me a little kick I’ve been needing to get motivated again, workwise. This also led to a temporary bout of depression following review of our annual report and the salaries that my manager and others are on- it made me feel very insignificant in the scheme of things. But to fix that I am working on a plan to make myself [at least feel] less insignificant.

 Secondly, it almost caused me to unexpectedly burst into tears. I say unexpectedly because when you read the content of this part of the message below, you might be a little bewildered by my reaction. Nevertheless that was my reaction.

The message was as follows:

…I would like you to start to think of yourself as number 1. The only number that really counts. Only when you feel like you are number 1, should you consider any sacrifices you make for a numbers 2, 3 and 4…

My quandary is this, and yes I know how ridiculous it sounds but:

I’m not sure I know how.

Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that I don’t know what I want in order to be able to put myself first.

Lets take The Crush, for example. Leaving aside the fact that he may have dropped the L-bomb on me last night (I say “may” because he did in such a way that I really wasn’t quite sure if that was what he was saying), the facts are:

We are exclusive –neither of us seeing anyone else or considering seeing anyone else.

Im waiting around for him pretty much all of the time to be available to spend time with me and I have to accept that I will need to continue waiting around until at least the end of the year.

He has advised that his long term plan since moving to this country was to live interstate. He has even gone so far as to go to the preferred state and look for property to buy on the weekends, though he has since said that if he does move, he wont be moving for at least a year and a half. He otherwise has no family ties here other than a daughter who may be returning to her home country in the near future anyway.

He cannot have nor does he wish to even engage the idea of having more children- a factor which I remain undecided about myself.

I have strong feelings for him, perhaps even love him, though Im only too conscious that many of my friends (who have yet to meet him) may already not like him in light of his very obvious absence at gatherings to which he has cancelled on me at the last minute, leaving me to show up alone and leaving my friends to question the intentions of this man.

He seems to like me.

He’s been hurt in the past.

I’ve been hurt in the past.

We are both defensive and extremely cautious when it comes to relationships and I know that I at least, see a double meaning in just about everything he says and does.

Let’s say he does decide to go interstate. Presumably, I’ll have a choice to either stay or go. I don’t really want to go. If I’m honest, there is a little twinge of resentment. It feels like I’m the one having to make all the sacrifices here, while he holds all the cards, pulls all the strings and makes all of the decisions to suit himself. I have to give up what effectively will be a year of my potential “dating” life to wait for him, I have to give up any chance of ever having a child or family of my own, I have to give up my job, and proximity to my family and friends to live in another state if he decides to go and wants me to go with him.

So, on that basis, it’s not surprising that many of my friends say that this reason enough to just let it go and keep looking.

It’s the “what if’s” that really get me:

What if at the end of all this he decides to stay because he wants to be with me and knows I don’t want to go.

What if after a couple more months he realises he wants me enough to justify spending more time with me and thus I don’t have to sit out the “waiting” period.

What if I leave him to try and find someone else and it turns out I can’t have children anyway? What if that then causes any future relationship to dissolve? (Would M have stayed with me if I had tried to have a child but couldn’t?)

What if I walk away now and fail to meet anyone else?

Yes, the truth is I would rather be treated a whole lot better than I have been to date by this man. But I also realise that perhaps the reason he is so cautious is the same reason why I want to see clear dedication and devotion before I am willing to put my heart on the line. Also, while I have been agonising over this whole thing and become frustrated by the lack of time together and how slow things are moving, the silver lining is that in fact, this has allowed me the freedom to continue doing the things that I wanted to do before I settled down with someone new.

So by waiting it out for a little longer does that mean I’m not putting myself first? Or does it mean that I am?

I’m aware that R’s statement was not made solely in respect of my entanglement with The Crush but I suspect it still formed perhaps more than half of the justification for the email.

I have no idea. I don’t know how to put myself first, because I don’t know what I want! And Im afraid that at almost 33, there is not much time left to sort this relationship thing out.

You know, sometimes, some people just need one person to stick by them and put up with their crap. Even if it doesn’t work out, perhaps it will mean he won’t be so hard on the next woman that he meets. But if it doesn’t work out, then I’m not sure where that leaves me.

From Buddhism to Taoism

Ashtanga Yoga

Image by Pedro Moura Pinheiro via Flickr

I had my first yoga class the other night.

LOVED it.

Why is it though, that the moment the class falls silent and you are lying on the mat trying to relax and all of a sudden your stomach starts rumbling like a 747 taking off.  It happens every time!

I think that’s partly why they ask what you don’t eat before class.  But then, yoga is all about control after all.  Controlling your muscles, controlling your limbs, controlling your breathing and controlling your…er…bodily functions.

The meditative side is also about controlling your mind…sort of.  More specifically, it’s about controlling your mind to not control your thoughts, confusing? A little, but I think I get it.  It’s perhaps more about learning to relax so that one day, not controlling your thoughts doesn’t take so much control.

Admittedly, I pretty much suck at both aspects of yoga- especially meditation, it was all I could do to stop myself from tapping my fingers through the “relaxation”.  It’s just not natural for a room to be so quiet when it contains that many people.

I am, however, intrigued by this whole mediation thing.  I decided some time ago that I wanted to start yoga…real yoga, at a real yoga place, so that I could also learn, not only the physical moves but also the spiritual ones.

As the yoga instructor was talking about allowing thoughts to pass through rather than holding onto them, I realised something that shocked me.

I’m angry.  I. Am. An. Angry. Person.

At least, angry sometimes, and perhaps more bitter for the remainder.

I get annoyed at anything.  People whistling in the hallway, my colleague cracking their knuckles, and sometimes just people speaking. it irritates me so much that I cant focus, and if I’m at work, I literally cant work.

Yes I get stuck on just about every thought I have and instead of allowing things that irritate or upset me to slip into the background, I focus on them, worry about them, get upset about them and before I know it, I’ve spent almost the entire working day seething about the mystery whistler up the hall, or I have tossed all night worrying about where I am in my life, or where I’m not.

If I can learn to meditate, maybe I wont worry so much about these things anymore ad I will be able to enjoy who I am and where I am at this moment withouth fear about what may or may not come my way and when.

Yes, I think this yoga thing is just what I need.

Here’s to Serene becoming Zen, or whatever it is that you become when you learn to be a little more…peaceful.