I wish I could say that I’ve been doing super productive things. I wish I could say that I was totally engrossed in self-care activities. I wish I could say that I was just too busy to pay attention to all things online. But I can’t.
What I will say is honest.
I’ve been down in the freaking dumps. I’ve struggled with my anxiety. I’ve wondered if I would actually be diagnosed as depressed. I’ve been in touch with my eTherapist. I’ve taken extra time off. I’ve struggled to get out of bed in the morning. I’ve struggled to spend time with family and friends. I’ve thought about how bummed out I seem to get when my love life is in the dumps. I’ve thought about how much I hate when people spout the old “you can’t love someone else until you love yourself” or “how can you expect someone else to love you if you don’t love you?”
I’ve eaten a lot of crappy food. I’ve eaten a lot of good food. I’ve just eaten a lot of food. So there’s presently more of me to love (or not love, depends on when or who you ask).
But I’m starting to turn that around.
It’s the second annual salad challenge. I’m failing quite miserably, even with the expanded “rules” … but I am eating more healthfully and conscientiously. I’m using my gym pass. I’ve not ventured far from the “random” setting on the treadmill, but I’ve started the month strong and the scale is responding in the right way. I’m making plans with friends and keeping them. I’m recognizing when I need a day off and am taking it. I’m getting involved with my community through volunteerism. And I’m researching all sorts of potential education opportunities. [Truthfully, the volunteerism and one of those opportunities could potentially be quite intricately linked.]
I’m making the efforts to feel better. To be better. And to do better.
I wish I could say that I’ve accomplished all the betters listed above, but the truth is that I think they’re always going to be a work in progress.
With eight weeks left in my early* 30s, it feels like a good time to reflect on the past ~3 years.
You’ll break your 30s into three-year chunks because it makes you feel life you can leave parts of the decade behind so you can do better when the next three years come.
You’ll accomplish some things. Like finally finishing that degree. Or buying a home.
You might even be the only gal you know who bought that home on her own.
Anxiety is real. It can be vicious and it is real.
For me, it feel like a giant constrictor is squeezing the life out of me. Everything that goes with that, from the hot/cold sweats, the GI upset, the difficulty breathing, and the pounding head, I get it.
It messes with your sense of accomplishment. You can (quite literally) buy a home and finish a degree, but anxiety will tell you it’s not enough.
It messes with your chemistry. You always feel like you’re on shaky ground and your saturation point for all of the things is drastically reduced.
Heartbreak sucks. But being disappointed in yourself sucks more.
You’ve learned what’s not worth sticking around for.
You’ve learned what’s not acceptable.
You’ve learned what you’ll tolerate and what your hard standards are.
Sometimes, you’ll end up having those standards pushed against because you’re not willing to put your foot down over the acceptable and tolerable. But you’ll learn from this, too.
The cats (mostly just Henry, if we’re being honest) are just preparing you for motherhood one day.
When they are difficult, they are just testing you.
When they love you with their little ridiculous faces, you’ll forget about how they were testing you.
Netflix has a really strong siren song. You’re maybe a little bit weak on this one.
You’ll wish it was the gym with that siren call, but you’ll also learn …
That it doesn’t hurt the day after, but two days after. And more intensely.
Age tricks you into thinking that you can do it! Your body disagrees a little bit 48 hours later. But you inherently know that if you kept up with the being active, the recovery would be so, so much easier.
You’re willing to admit you don’t like putting in the work and that you long for the days of ballet.
You’re going to lose people. And that sucks. And it will make you question your life a little bit, but you’ll recognize that you’re in a good place and that the little bit of darkness that you feel from time to time will pass.
But most importantly, you’ll question “best before dates” not because you’re a risk taker, but because you’ll uncover a strong need to convince yourself you don’t have a best before date. Now excuse me while I make a tray of blueberry-rhubarb oatmeal muffin bread.
Post-script: The muffin bread is delicious. And so far, not poison.
* The early 30s constitute the years 31-33, mid 30s the years 34-36, late 30s the years 37-39, because when you’re 30 you’re 30 and when you hit 40, well, that’s a new decade.
I’m a book learner. (Surprise, surprise!) But not in the “read it-got it” kind of way. In the “I love traditional learning environments (e.g. the classroom)” kind of way.
Even when I’ve felt out of place because of the content (difficulty, language, etc.) of a class, I’ve always felt at home in the classroom. When my mind is engaged and I’m surrounded by people who are able to engage collectively and take home information individually, I’m at peace. I’m content.
I’m content when I’m learning. But sometimes “on the job” or “life experience” just doesn’t do it for me. Sometimes, I crave a course syllabus, left stapled and three-hole-punched, a pack of highlighters, and a coil-bound notebook. Sometimes, I need to get my geek on in a classroom of strangers.
And when I leave at the end of the hour (or as the case may be right now, three hours) I feel somehow more whole. It’s how I learn best. Surrounded by other brains, as if by osmosis.
Somewhere in my journey, I thought it would be a good idea to get into events. Some ten or so years later, I’m still plunking away in the field, but have moved from small fundraisers, to seniors’ recreation, to large fundraisers and campaigns, to continuing professional development (and back to small fundraisers). And, more and more, I’ve come to accept my true, introverted nature.
As we fly into Q2 of 2017 (seriously, where has the year gone?), I’m falling prey to impostor syndrome. And I can’t help but wonder if part of this niggly feeling can be attributed to being an INFJ.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading since the new year began and, while it’s not all personal/professional development-related, a good portion of it has offered some insight into who I am. And although the “big happening” hasn’t yet happened, the self-discovery is underway and on schedule to continue on through the rest of 2017.
Thoughts from 2016-12-30: Have you ever found yourself at the close of a year thinking, I feel like something big is going to happen next year …
The last time I had one of those feelings, I was sitting in my room struggling through an assignment while the not-yet-ex drank and gamed the night away. I’d wanted to go check out the local festivities [because I hadn’t been out to an Edmonton celebration (I still haven’t)], but that wasn’t something he was interested in doing so we stayed home. Like usual, but that’s a whole different story I’m not sure I’m ready to expose to the world.
So, here I sit two years later—taking a break from a different course assignment—with a similar feeling of, I think that next year might be a big year. Well, the last time I thought these things, “next year” was 2015, a couple months later I was single and another couple months later I was a homeowner. Neither of which I had really anticipated would be things that I’d be experiencing in that year.
And I’m really not sure what to expect for 2017, but there are a couple things that might be equally as exciting and “big” … but I’ll wait to let the year play out on its own in another year of self-discovery.