Feel.

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One of the things I’ve been working on this year, is accepting and enjoying life around me instead of just beating my own ass to do better. I don’t think I’ll ever stop pushing so hard, but that’s not a bad thing in my eyes, I’m proud of how far I’ve come, and how much I achieve each and every year. What I was doing though, was essentially killing myself trying to make life “better” for my child, and of course the men who shall not be named. I lost touch with the simple things in life and only focused on the future.

Could I finish this project before the next one had to be started? Would I be able to move out of my town in 5 years? Would I be able to keep repairing my car, or should I be saving for a newer model? Could I be happy.. in the future? Thankfully, I realized that I had no concept of the present during the whole -get the crash cart, her heart cant go much longer- bullshit at the tail end of last winter. Facing mortality, yet again, kind of makes you re-evaluate everything.

Through spring this year, I started focusing on the physical and emotional “now”. [Insert Zen Bullshit Here] When was the last time I really watched a sunset? When was the last time I laid in bed and just listened to the rain? When was the last time I watched my daughter play in the sand, without worrying about tomorrow?

I couldn’t remember. The ache that had developed in my chest wasn’t just my literal broken heart (subnote: I guess I could blame that on he who shall not be named hahaha) it was the lack of feeling.. the lack of seeing.. the lack of being right in the moment. So I started trying to appreciate the little things, and enjoy simplicity, especially with nature, in all aspects.

Truthfully, it took a couple of months to be able to be in the moment without forcing myself to pay attention. Worries for the future would take up most of my thoughts until I made myself feel the breeze, or until I directed my focus to the sound of the wind through the new leaves on the trees.

The last month and change, I finally noticed I was doing it without thinking about it. I could watch the sun glint off of my daughters blonde hair and think only of that. I could play catch with my dog, and just enjoy it. I could again write about things (mostly in my physical journals) that I was living.. instead of just worrying about what I would have to live through.

There have been many realizations along the way. I had to learn to become comfortable with myself, I had to start accepting things I wasn’t happy with, with my own body. (Still a work in progress, my surgical scars still bother me). How can you enjoy the cool night air on your skin, if you can’t bare all of it? To be comfortable with my own thoughts, had to be comfortable with my own skin. Then I had to acknowledge what I was capable of, what I had actually achieved. It was like a first step for me, then it was time to face the rest of my demons.

I’m getting there. I can set aside the future, and enjoy the current moment. I can just listen to the sounds of my boots crunching over the leaves on the ground. I can just listen to the fire crackle in my backyard. I can watch my daughter dance around, I can just take part in her joy when we dance in the kitchen. I can just taste the woody notes in my favorite tea, or the tang of my beer with the sun overhead. I can just feel running my fingertips across someone’s lips, just feel their touch.

Life is unbelievable short. It’s over before we know it. I think what I’m getting at, is how important it is to enjoy the little things in life.. to actually live.. instead of just living. Of course I worry about tomorrow, I don’t think I’ll ever stop, but now, I can live in today too. So no day is ever “wasted”.

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Twas a 4 Day Weekend..

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So today was the first day back at work after 4 days off. The prior week we also had a long weekend, and only worked 2 days. Lets just say it was a lot more needed than I originally thought. The stress from work and every day stuff had really been building up, and I hadn’t noticed how bad. So it was bliss. I could tell the difference while I was driving into work this morning, (Stevie goes in before me.. haha) I wasn’t making a list of the things I’d need to take care of, and my shoulders weren’t up to my ears. It was very fun, and very laid back and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Thursday, my family came over for the short one’s birthday, in addition to two of her friends. It was so relaxing just to chit chat, have some beers and grill (the new grill rocks!) while the kids tore around the yard. Noodle LOVES her new bike, and is having conniption fits over all her other toys and clothes. She had the biggest smile on her face the whole day! Birthday Number 9 was a success!

Friday was for relaxing. Just took care of some things around the house, and then Steve and I sat outside and had some beers with the neighbors. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, I adore that family. They are like my second family, and if they end up moving this year, I don’t know what I’m going to do without them.

Saturday we had Steve’s uncle and aunt over for more grilling. Noodle went and played next door and got spoiled. I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a long time. Seriously, it was one of those laughing fits where you know there’s a distinct possibility that you might pee yourself. I absolutely adore his family so far, which is a bonus!

Sunday, we worked on the yard and garden. I had already planted, but I wanted to weed again, thin the radishes and put my tomato cages up. We cleaned and organized the shed, put my AC units in, and finished up the house. The end of the weekend was spent sitting on the deck for dinner and enjoying the beautiful weather. My little Noodle was at a sleepover, so it was a kid free evening too!

Seriously, it was a wonderful weekend. Between my daughter making me smile, and Steve making me smile, I don’t think I got grumpy at all (well except before my morning coffee, that’s a given). I can’t wait until our mini vacation next month, it’s going to be great.

I do have to say that I’m really happy with the way things are going with everything. The house, work, Noodle, my relationship with Stevie. Everything’s pretty smooth. It’s been a while since I’ve been consistently happy. I’m glad life took this turn, it’s about time. :)

 

Come on Spring!

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Every little taste of warm weather gets me even more excited for Spring. I have so many things I’m looking forward to that it’s beyond ridiculous at this point. After everything that’s gone on in this past few months, it feels like I have a fresh start.. at pretty much everything. So I guess that’s what Spring is to me this year, a figurative new leaf, a fresh start, everything.

So this year I’m going to be doing the garden all on my own, and quite frankly I’m thrilled. In the next week or two I’m going to go buy myself an asparagus plant, hopefully I two year one if I can find it. I’ve been meaning to plant asparagus for years, but I’m too impatient to wait for it, or I talk myself out of it at the last second. When I put that plant in the ground, I’ll probably go ahead and put in my first round of radishes and lettuce. I’m not sure what else will go in the garden this year, definitely green beans and tomatoes, maybe some peppers and carrots, but beyond that I’m still debating. When my ex was still maintaining the garden, we kept planting things we really didn’t eat a whole lot (eggplant, broccoli) and I really don’t want to waste the space this year. I don’t know, I’ll figure it out soon I hope. Haha.

Moving on. So the ex came and picked up his dog the other day. A small part of me misses that stinky old hound, but the stress in my house has decreased significantly. Dealing with two dogs, one of which was a stubborn nose-driven-beagle was just too much for me with everything else that’s going on. One more dog is much more manageable for me. It has it’s perks too. I let Thumbs stay out of the crate at night now, and she’s much happier and I’m sleeping much better now too. I had always crated her with Zoe because I’d feel bad putting one dog in the crate and leaving the other out. Zoe though couldn’t be out at night or anytime we weren’t in the room since she’d have accidents in the house and rummage through the garbage can every chance she’d get. Beyond that, it’s much more convenient now to go take a walk with Thumbs. With both dogs, they’d both go every which way, and pairing that with my motor mouth child, walks were far from relaxing. Now, my dog just does her business, and Noodle and I talk while walking. We’ve made it a goal to walk at least 4 times a week. So far I’m loving it. The mild exercise paired with the lower stress in the house is really helping me keep my head in a good place.

My birthday is coming up as well. This year is the big 30, which to me feels like 40 but who’s counting. I’m not as effected by the number as I thought I would be. I mean, I’ve already hit most of the milestones my age group is going through right now, years ago. So I guess it’s not a big ole thing. Not sure about a mid-life crisis yet either, I’m pretty sure I’m mentally 80 years old as soon as I get off of work. I’m content with a book, my journal and some coffee or tea. The rowdy night out is a rarity, and has been for a while. That’s fine with me. I always thought I’d be upset about turning 30 though, and honestly, I keep forgetting about it. We’ll see. I know Noodle is more excited than I am, but beyond that I’m not sure if I’m even doing anything for my birthday. Who knows!

Work is going well, same shit, different day, and I’m still there so that’s a bonus. I’m working on writing more, but haven’t been able to really drill anything solid out. I’m still on the hunt for a group of some sort to join, but I’m not really finding anything I like yet. I did find one group the next town over that’s something along the lines of books and brews at a local pub that sounds fun, but I haven’t had a chance to check them out.

My health stuff is basically stable, my Crohns pops up here and there, and my heart hasn’t given me the finger lately. Feeling quite a bit better with my anxiety and such as well, but all of that is a work in progress I guess. Just glad to finally be feeling more normal and.. gasp.. dare I say.. happy? I guess not being told how much of a horrible person I am damn near every day helps. Whodathunk?

The kiddo is doing great! She just brought home another report card earlier this week. She’s still getting straight A’s! I’m really proud of her, and that’s honestly an understatement. She’s doing so well in school, and has really stepped it up with helping out around the house. She’s about excited for spring as I am. I think I’m going to get her a new set of roller skates as a gift for her report card, and to give her something to do outside. The kid not only beats me out in smarts, but she’s still hella more agile than I ever was. I swear, she keeps me on my toes.

That’s about it I guess. Planning a big vacation with the family later this spring, but beyond that, it’s been pretty laid back and relaxing. It’s been interesting finding peace again, and honestly, I can’t help but to say that I’m content with the turn my life has taken this past year. I’ve learned a lot, faced a lot (especially the heart issues) and came out better for it. I guess.. cheers to spring! Let’s see where life takes me now!

Giving up, or living with…?

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When you have a chronic illness, there are many stages you go through leading to acceptance. I know when I was first diagnosed, I was almost insane with happiness because I finally had an answer. There was finally a reason for all the sickness, all the weight loss, all the pain! I took my first type of medication with glee at the thought of getting better. From there, as I cycled through “remission” and “flares”, my attitude towards Crohns Disease changed many times.

A lot of the time, I took on a headstrong approach. I knew Crohns could very well put my butt in the hospital, but I was going to do what I wanted anyway. It was a take-charge-attitude. Nothing was going to get me down.

The other end of that spectrum, is more of a… careful approach. It took me years to get into this little “phase”. I spent so much time feeling almost invincible, pushing myself farther and farther, when in reality what my body needed was rest. These last few years I developed a stricture around my terminal ileum, which led to bowel obstruction after bowel obstruction. At first it was once a year, then twice a year, then all of a sudden, I was being admitted every other month. Which of course is what led to my surgery.

In the months leading up to my surgery, I started realizing that pushing my body so hard the previous years definitely took a toll. Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do what you want to do in life, just because of a chronic illness. However, you have to listen to your body and rest when you need to. There were many, many a time where I went with little sleep, or didn’t take a day to myself after a big event or trip. I didn’t pay as close attention to what I was eating as I should have, and I didn’t take care of myself.

The downfall of getting so sick, and thinking about all of the ways I hadn’t taken care of myself, is that I’ve more or less become a homebody. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always enjoyed the quiet of my home, but I’ve retreated more of the last couple of years. I’m more often than not going to avoid places without easy bathroom access (which is pretty par for the course with anyone with active IBD), and after 2 years shy of a decade, the fatigue is so overwhelming that I get anxious about going to anything resembling an all day festival. By all means, I still *want* to go to festivals, markets, concerts and such.. but it’s almost like after years of “conditioning” it’s all to easy to just say no. It’s easy to just stay at home, where I can hurt in the comfort of my own bed, use my own bathroom, and have easy access to my medications.

Someone told me recently, that I had lost that “fight” I used to have, that it seemed like I had given up. When I heard that, to be completely honest, it broke my heart. I’ve been through a lot this past decade, not even just health related. The last thing I think when I look in the mirror at the bags under my eyes, the scars on my tummy, is that I’m looking at someone who has quit. When I look at myself in the mirror, I see someone who has fought the mother of all battles. I see someone who has been through hell and back, and has still managed to stand up every morning and face the day. I don’t think I’ve given up, I think I’ve just acclimated.

Sure, I need to work at my confidence, to get myself back out there. This time however, I will be taking care of myself, taking the down time I need, taking time for myself. I do want to get back out and “live life” instead of letting life pass me by, but I will do it on my own terms. I haven’t lost the fight, that fight that was so very much directed at not losing the life that healthy people lead, damn near destroyed the life I already had. The fight that I supposedly lost, isn’t missing, it’s just been redirected into getting well.  It’s been redirected into saving myself. Now I just need to learn to shift some of it back to other aspects of my life.

By no means though, have I given up. I just learned to live how I needed to, to get by, not just keeping myself out of the hospital, but keeping myself sane. Unfortunately, it’ll take a little while to learn how to shift from this stage to something more in the middle. It’s going to take time to learn how to live fully, while protecting what health I have.

I have not given up, I’ve just learned to fight in every way imaginable.

Chai tea and Frustration

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It’s been an oddly relaxing few days, even despite a sick kid and lingering stress.  Snuggling on the couch and time with my family has really brought forward what I really want out of my life.  More or less, it drove home what really is important, and what’s a bigger priority. 

Sometimes you just need life to smack you in the face for you to get your head on straight.  I learned not to let others take advantage of my skill and of my time.  I learned that spending time with my family is important, and that my family is just important as everyone else’s family. The idea that I should schedule one day a week to spend with my family is absurd.  I learned that if I’m not careful, I’m going to miss my daughter’s childhood… and damage my relationship with my boyfriend.

It felt good to have some time to get my brain back on track and to discuss my options with the boyfriend.  I set new rules for my life and things are going to change, one way or another.

Here’s my overly cheesy end note: you make your life, only you can change it.

Are you really happy?

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So during my stay in a hospital bed last night ( went to a clinic because I had chest pain, and apparently because I take birth control and am on other crap they thought I might have blood clots instead of a chest cold ) I didn’t have much else to do but think.  Well, think and practice flinging random medical supplies across the room, but that’s besides the point. 

Things have been really hectic lately, not just at home with the kids and appointments, but at work.  If it wasn’t for 6 hours getting poked and prodded last night, I would have broken 60 hours a week again with working from home on top of my office time.  I sat there and actually thought about what I’ve done this summer and more importantly if I’ve enjoyed myself.  Sadly enough, I couldn’t think of a whole lot.

I think one of the problems my generation has is what I want to call the “Have It All” syndrome.  We judge our lives ( and let others judge our lives ) by how busy we make ourselves, by how much we accomplish with our waking hours.  Hell, I know I’m proud of myself when I tackle my atrocious work load and still manage to finish some household project I started.  Life isn’t complete until we accomplish every little goal and blow past every little standard society has set for us…. but the question is: Does it make you happy?  Are you happy?

So what I realized last night, at 1am, during a cat scan is pretty simple.  For all I’m doing, for all I tackle each day, I’m not happy.  Not as happy as I could be.  I’m working so much out of pure don’t-have-a-choice, I’m checking off my plans and obligations, not because it makes me happy, but because I feel it’s expected out of me.  I’m not saying that I’m going to all of a sudden slack off, but more along the lines of that I need to remember to do things for ME.  I have to remember to do things that being happiness, set aside time for myself and my family. 

I don’t know, guess I just wanted to share my little revelation.  Maybe if I put it in writing, it’ll make it into my head more.  Whatever.  For now I’m off to read a book and relax.  Good night!

Basically Rambling

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I am finally relaxing.  As I posted earlier, we bought a new (to us) washer, and of course I had to wash every little bit of clothes I owned.  Haha, let me just nominate myself for the lame-adult-of-the-year award.  The kid and I colored with some chalk, and after her bath, we made a pizza.  Thursday nights we usually do a one on one dinner, which she gets a kick out of.  Always nice to actually get some alone time with the kid and talk with her.  She’s a really bright kid, and the conversations we have always amaze me.  We talked today about money (and how things cost money so we have to save for bigger purchases) and about camp and what she likes about it so far.  I’m pretty impressed with my little one.

It’s almost Friday thank God.  It’s been a long couple of weeks.  Work has just been crazy, with the exception of today, and with the fight with my family member, it’s been pretty high stress.  Now that everything is over, my anxiety has calmed down.

I’m finally getting caught up on some work that I fell behind on with my day off on Tuesday, and I feel like I actually got something accomplished.  I’m very numbers driven, so being able to see what I’ve done each day really helps.  Hopefully things continue to calm down at work, I’m starting to feel a bit burnt out with everything.  I just keep reminding myself that it’s the season… as a coworker says, it seems like everything implodes in the summertime.

As for the fight with my family member.  I was able to text what I really wanted to say, (once I wasn’t so angry, just hurt) and for once I wasn’t interrupted.  I hope that she read it and took it to heart.  I haven’t heard from her since and I noticed that she blocked me on Facebook.  That’s fine I guess.  After talking with my Dad, and then with the boyfriend, I’ve definitely made the decision to cut ties.  If she hadn’t said certain things I might have let it blown over, but unfortunately once words leave your mouth, it can’t be unsaid.  Frankly, even if I did change my mind, I don’t think the boyfriend will… from what I understand his family is pretty upset too.  It looks like with a couple of hurtful comments, a wedge may have been driven between the two families.  Sad.  Like I was saying, I’m glad it’s over.  I’m slightly upset still, but mostly relieved.  I was able to say what I’ve been wanting to say for months, and I found out how she really feels about my disease/job/family/life.  So not only did I get what I needed to off my chest, but I was able to inadvertently find out who is toxic to me and who I need to keep away from my kiddo.   It’s odd, I feel in a way… lighter.

Beyond all that, I’m just doing the thing.  I’ve been feeling pretty run down lately, but I honestly think it’s mostly stress (which hopefully should lessen now) and oddly enough, dehydration.  It’s been pretty warm here, and with being sick, I get pretty dehydrated pretty fast.  So water and tea it is!  It looks like the weather should be cooling down here soon, so forest preserve trips are coming and I think I’m going to finally sign up for a yoga class or something.  I haven’t decided which one, but I think it would be a good (natural) way to bring down my anxiety.  Plus the benefits!  The only other thing that’s on my “personal-for-me-to-do-list” is looking into a bicycle.  I really want a beach cruiser and have for years, but you know how it goes, there’s always another place that money could go.  So I’m going to start saving up a portion of my savings (haha) to put down on a bike, since the kid has learned how to ride her bike good now, I want to be able to go on bike rides with her.  So wish me luck!

 

Anyway, this turned into more of a journal post than I wanted, but I didn’t feel like writing in my physical journal.  My kiddo has fallen asleep on her chapter book, so it’s time to get her in bed.  Happy Friday everyone!