Feeling sorry for myself

This is not a feeling I’m used to. I’m pretty good at shaking myself out of funks. I pride myself on being able to look at the big picture. I know that today is temporary and there is so much more ahead of me.

But this week has been hard. So. Hard.

I go to the Y 5-6 times a week. Granted, I can only do two things at the Y right now: swim without kicking or row. Oh! And I can do limited weights – so three things. I can do three things for my workout right now. I’m pretty damn determined to keep up with those three things. Working out is an important part of my health – both physical and mental. I have worked out 5-6 times a week for as long as I can remember save breaks for pregnancies… and it’s been 13 years since I was pregnant.

It’s discouraging to know that I can only do two types of workouts right now (sorry, three). I’m giving them my all mind you. But it’s still discouraging. These workouts don’t burn a lot of calories. Take into account the mandated rest periods I’ve had at different points in this Achilles recovery process and I’m a full 20 pounds heavier than I was at this time last year. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m at my heaviest weight ever. And while I’m not a person that pays much attention to the number on the scale. My clothes don’t fit well and I feel gross.

To recap: I don’t have the normal stress relief of working out so I’m stressed. I don’t have the normal calorie burning benefits of working out so I’m fat. I don’t have the normal endorphins from working out so I’m depressed.

Hey Internet… I’m having a hard time being positive.

I saw a friend at the Y today and she was all “I feel so bad for you.”  and “I don’t know how you do it. It’s so impressive that you keep coming in even when you can’t get in a strong workout.” and “It’s been such a long recovery! I’m so sorry.” And I know she means well but you guys… I feel bad for me too. And part of me is ready to just throw in the towel, eat some extra Reese Peanut Butter hearts and call it a day (or year at this point).

I won’t. But damn do I feel lousy. All the way around lousy. And there’s really no end in sight. I could run through the pain but I know that’s a stupid solution. So I’ll sit here… fat and stressed. And I’ll strap on my damn walking boot and I’ll try again tomorrow. But I just needed to tell someone… this really sucks.

The tricky balance of social media

I like social media. A lot. Social media makes me laugh, helps me see what faraway friends and family are up to, and gives me glimpses of people and places in which I’m interested. Social media is fun. Heck, I’ve even made real live, in-person friends from social media.

For the first time ever, I’m beginning to feel like I need to shut down or stop using some accounts… well really just my Facebook account. See I just shared a video on Facebook (literally, 30 seconds ago). The video made me laugh so I shared it. I don’t share things often on my page. I post pictures of our adventures or my kids fairly often but rarely do I share a video or link to an article. As soon as I shared this one, it made me stop and feel like I shouldn’t have shared it.  The video is about President Trump and it’s funny and pretty clever but some people are going to see it as some huge political statement. And that’s no fun at all.

See above: “Social media is fun.”

At least it’s supposed to be. I’m okay with it also being a place for people to take a stand or “resist” (which is clearly in the running for the word of the year and we’re only 26 days into 2017). But for me, it’s just fun. I have friends and family from all different walks of life and politics. I like them all – even when I disagree with them. But in today’s world, too many people can’t disagree politely. They get angry. They stop seeing a person and only see them as their opinion on one issue. And frankly, they lose their sense of humor.

So now I’m questioning myself and what other people might think of me because I posted a silly video from the Netherlands that made me laugh when I took a break from writing. My social media is becoming too controversial and too judgmental… and I’m afraid it’s making the world around me too judgmental. That’s not very much fun at all.

P.S. Here’s the video. I hope it makes you laugh.

Why I marched

I drove myself to Chicago on an unusually warm January day this weekend. Had breakfast with a friend and then walked under blue skies and sunshine to join tens of thousands of other people – over 200,000 of them actually – to peacefully protest some of the changes and attitudes that have crept their way into society.

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Let me make this clear – I did not march to make a political statement against President Trump. I marched because I am incredulous at what has happened in the past year. I believe in our country and our democratic system. I believe in the peaceful transfer of power. I believe that our country is bigger than one person. So I didn’t boycott the inauguration. And my attendance Saturday didn’t rise from anger at a person – my attendance rose from shock and more than a little fear at the society that gave power to a an entire administration that has already inspired, emboldened and empowered hate and disrespect. And I want those people to know that I am watching.

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I came home Saturday inspired and hopeful and amazed at the turnout across the country and the world. Millions of people – primarily women but there were plenty of men out there too – millions of us took a stand and said NO to taking away human rights. No to discrimination. No to hate. It was beautiful and peaceful and I still smile thinking about it.

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Since then I’ve seen women angrily posting on social media about how this march didn’t represent them. How this march was frivolous and unnecessary. How they don’t feel discriminated against and their right to vote isn’t going anywhere and they don’t experience any inequality because they are a woman. Posts that seemed threatened by a peaceful protest. And here’s the thing… protests make people uncomfortable – especially people who don’t want to look beyond themselves. You know what? I am not particularly discriminated against either but I think that makes it more important to speak up for others – for the single mother who relies on Planned Parenthood for her annual exam. For the lesbian woman who may not have the right to be with her life partner in the hospital. For the woman whose husband might be deported because of changes in work visas and immigration laws. There are real problems on the horizon and someone needs to step up and say that’s not okay. I don’t expect to agree with everything any government administration does – but when it comes to taking away the rights to live, work, and love in this country… it’s not okay.

I’m not angry at women who didn’t want to march but I think it’s important to know that I marched for valid reasons and those reasons deserve respect:

I marched because I am a mother who wants my kids – especially my girls – to see that in the face of adversity I stand up for what I believe.

I marched because I want my children to grow up in a society that is accepting and diverse – a society where a person’s character means more than the color of their skin or their ethnic background.

I marched because I am incredulous that so many people stood on the sidelines as others raised up a man who denigrates others – and I refuse to stand on the sideline.

I marched because I am proud of my country and want it to continue to welcome people in need of a safe place to live, work and raise a family.

I marched because I believe that ethics are important – not something to be skipped over.

I marched because it is NEVER okay to stand by and permit people to act out of prejudice or bigotry. Because I don’t want my children to grow up in a society that treats people poorly – or even violently – because of their race or nationality or faith or any difference.

I marched because I have been so sad for months. Sad of hearing stories of people feeling emboldened to treat people horribly – and of not enough people showing them a different way to live.

I marched as an example. An example of peaceful protest against a society that seems unable to respectfully differ. So unable that the implausible extreme has become reality. And I want to be an example of lifting up the good and caring for each other.

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Do I think this march is going to make a difference in the way people in Washington D.C. lead our country? No, at least not as one event. But I hope that it makes some lawmakers stop and think… to work for the greater good. And I really, truly hope that this march embraces my corner of the world and pushes love over hate, promotes inclusion over exclusion, and encourages treating others the way we want to be treated.

Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up.
~Galatians 6:9

An early birthday gift

I wanted to spend my birthday morning on the shores of Lake Michigan but the weather forecast had other ideas. (And it is indeed a blustery, rainy day. Where’s my birthday snow Mother Nature?!?) However,  the perfect opportunity presented itself yesterday so I hustled up to the Lake. I picked a spot where I could visit without hiking since I’m trying to be the best injured Achilles patient ever. And I soaked in 15 minutes of my Lake in all its winter glory.

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When the shelf ice appears the Lake is eerily quiet. The sounds of lapping waves are swapped for the quiet, occasional squeaking and creaking of ice. There were small icebergs floating further out. The pier had mounds of ice – waves that froze as they crashed over it.

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I took some deep breaths of Lake air. I said some prayers for the year ahead of me. I said some prayers of thanks. I raised up some intentions for others. I snapped a few pictures and happily went back to start my day. It was a good early birthday gift.

Goals for 2017

Definition of resolution: a firm decision to do something

Definition of goal: the object of a person’s ambition or effort

I don’t like to set resolutions. I prefer action, ambition and effort over “firm decisions.” I don’t want to just decide I’d like to do something. I want to set plans in motion to do it. I have no resolutions for 2017 but there are some carefully considered goals. Checkpoints that I can reflect on throughout the year to see if my activity is moving me towards those goals or away from them. Goals like…

Be a better wife: I do a lot in this house and for my family but I don’t always do a good job of doing something specifically for my husband. This year I’d like to spend more time with my husband doing things for just the two of us.

Grow my spiritual life: I pray every day in different ways but this year I’d like to read a few books and consider my faith in a new light. I just bought a new daily planner (remember I still like those paper lists) and the planner includes weekly scripture quotes and a plan to include Bible reading in each day. I’m hoping that gives me a daily reminder to keep moving towards this goal.

Heal and renew: I want this Achilles tendon to get better. I want to start running again. I want to go on walk dates to catch up with friends. I want to reduce my stress and give myself a break more often. That’s a lot of wants but they aren’t wishes… they are steps I have already started taking towards a better me.

I want to read more books: In 2015 I read 85 books. Last year I read 59. That’s moving in the wrong direction and a good indication that I was overwhelmed and not taking good care of myself. I set a goal of 75 this year.

We’ll see how I do as I attempt to move through my life with intention and care. Care for those around me, care for those in my house, and care for myself.