About a week before Christmas, I found myself stuck behind a garbage truck which would inevitably make me late to pick up Gray from school (which was a running trend that week) and rather than seeing the situation for what it was, something I had no way to control, I lost my shit. I began to frantically fumble for my phone, as it if would help, bang the steering wheel, cry, yell... you name it. I sat there for what seemed like an eternity, letting out a week worth of stress completely ruining my day, all because of a garbage truck. At the time even I knew it wasn't about the truck. Earlier in the day my carpenter cancelled on me again, and this time indefinitely. I had been anxiously waiting for a few days for the answer on where Gray would go to school, and I couldn't get the guy to call me back about the water which kept leaking from our newly installed heater. I was sick and earlier that morning our Christmas cards had arrived to the house, late, and with our last name misspelled. Oh, and my carpool was going on day 8 of his illness, which meant double the driving. None of these things were that big of a deal. Nothing life shattering, they weren't even the biggest things that we were dealing with at the time, but for some reason the weight of all these little things became too much to contain when that garbage truck stopped me in my tracks.
After a few minutes of my forced pity party, I had a revelation. I'd like to think it's all the yoga that I've been focusing on lately, that helped me to be more present in that moment, or maybe I just finally figured myself out, but it turns out that I'm a control freak. Friends and family members are surely sating to themselves as they read this, "duh," but truly, I just never really saw myself that way. Impatient? Yes. A perfectionist? Sure. But control? I never feel like I have the control. I spend my days guided by the whims of a three year old, how can I ever be the one in control? But there I was, realizing it for the first time. All these little stressors, were only stressors because they were things that I couldn't control at that very moment. I took a step back and really ran through the list of what had been plaguing me and imagined the worst case scenario for all of it. What if I was stuck behind that truck for ten more minutes? Well, then I'd have to call the school, apologize profusely and wait. No one would be harmed, my kid was safe, and I'd get there eventually. Same for everything else... eventually it would all get resolved, and even though it wouldn't be on MY timeline, it would happen.
This was really eye opening for me. By just taking a step back, I could see every situation for what it was, realizing how much stress my need to control each outcome was adding. How unnecessary most of my panic was. It was like the last few years of my life flashed before me, and I could distinctly remember how many moments I've had like this in the past, and how they were all precipitated by the fact that something was happening beyond my control. I look back to our infertility struggle and see how much added pressure I put on the situation, simply because it was something out of my control. I saw it all so clearly, all the ways in which I made bad situations worse, and there in that car I made a conscious decision to make a change. The new year was coming and I knew I didn't want to go in to another year, having the added stress from the one before. That was about three weeks ago, and I have to say, I have really noticed a difference, simply by just being more aware. When something happens now, I take a second and think, is this actually bad, or is it just bad because I can't control it. Taking that time to breathe and assess has done wonders for my mental state, and I feel as though the boys and my husband will be the ones to benefit the most, not having mom freaking out over ever little thing. It's nice, and I hope it lasts. To that end I've come up with a few resolutions to bring with me in to the new year.
- Recognize that I cannot control everything. It's too much, and it's not healthy. In every situation I'm going to really try and see it for what it is. Imagining the worst, as morbid as it is, really helps me. When I can see that the worst possible outcome really isn't that bad, I find that I am much better able to be patient in any given situation i.e. not loose my shit.
- Allow more time for EVERYTHING than I think it will take. This is a big one for me. Often I will look at the clock and see I have 40 minutes until pickup and then think, "I absolutely have time to hit the bank, then the dry cleaners, and drive though the pharmacy." "No, NO you don't!!!!" I want to scream at 2014 Robin. I have a terrible habit of underestimating how long it takes to do anything. On my grave it should say, "it will only take two minutes." This need to get a million things done is driven by my desire to do them without the kids, clearly, but I need to stop actually running all day long. Gray is getting bigger now, and can come on more errands than I give him credit for, and just being realistic about how much time it takes to do things, especially in the city, is going to save a lot of stress this year. You have to leave time for those damn garbage trucks.
- This year I also want to make sure that I prioritize myself more. For the past few years, working out has been my luxury and a priority, and I've used most of my "me" time for that. I definitely still love it, and don't want to stray too far away from it, but I also want to be able to say some days, f%*k it, I want to see my best friend and do nothing for two hours and not be on some crazy schedule I feel obliged to stick to. See that, that's called giving up some control.. and it's only January 6th ;).
- Have fun! I feel like adult life is so serious, and this past year dealing with my husband's ongoing pain saga has really sucked a lot of the spontaneity from our life. As soon as he's feeling better I want to live a little more. See also #3.
- Simplify EVERYTHING. I feel like this is a theme for most people this year, and I am definitely on the bandwagon. No more stuff, saying no to a thousand obligations, cooking things that are more basic, streamlining my to-do list. Simple is easier, thus it's better. I started this at the end of 2014, and I'm definitely going to continue in the new year... with a vengeance.
Those are my resolutions for a new year. It's amazing how far a little self reflection can go and even though it's early in the year I can already feel the shift. It seems like the theme in all of this is let go, have fun, relax more. All and all these are not bad aspirations to have, and let me tell you, these are 5 things I'm definitely going to stick to!
2015... let's do this!