motivation

Keep Your Hands Inside The Ride At All Times

You could eat out of this pantry without being poisoned. No more canned goods from 2003!

You could eat out of this pantry without being poisoned. No more canned goods from 2003!

I’m a strange beast. For most of the year, I operate at breakneck speed. I can’t stand to be bored. You likely won’t catch me growing mold as I fester on the couch, not even during the winter months. I’m busy, and I like it that way. But, for three weeks, three glorious weeks beginning mid-December and running through the first full week of January, I shut down and become Slothstine rather than Justine. In all likelihood exhausted from 49 straight weeks of running headlong into my future, I quit moving. I don’t work out. I only go out when absolutely necessary (apparently Christmas with the family is compulsory). I lounge in bed reading, surfing Al Gore’s Internet, playing games on my iPhone, and going into some sort of trance while busting through episode after episode of my latest television show du jour. It is decidedly, uncharacteristically, not at all like me.

There are pluses and minuses about this annual holiday shutdown. On the bad side, without my usual workouts and time on my yoga mat, I often resurface during the second week of January only to find a random Hot Tamale candy stuck in my hair and tell-tale orange fingerprints on my clothes from excessive Cheetos consumption. And, it’s right about that time that I step on the scale and hear it whimper. My house is a pit because it’s hard to clean a bathroom when your butt hasn’t moved out of bed. My husband, like a dog whose repeated enthusiastic requests for a nice walk have gone unanswered, stops barking at my door. Of course, that might have more to do with my slovenly state than with ego-bruise gained from the repeated times I smacked him on the nose with the rolled up newspaper when he asked if I wanted to go for a long, winter’s walk with him. My kids. Well…where are my kids, anyway? I have no idea. And, at the end of this three week period of sloth and gluttony, a time during which the only real accomplishment I can note is my OCD completion of three puzzles (2500 individual pieces, thank you very much), I’m usually ready to hit the ground running as soon as the kids start back to school after Christmas break. If I can find them, that is.

Just as Punxsutawney Phil emerges after a long, shadowless winter, I too am ready for spring. Yes. Spring is still over two months away. I know this. But, I’m well-rested after my three weeks of hibernation. To that end, in the past four days I’ve picked up the pace. I’ve done insane things, like wash light fixtures, clean out our pantry, and scrub the laundry room floor on my hands and knees. I finally made it back to yoga today, and they’re having a promotion that coincides with my fitness goals. If I complete 20 classes in 30 days I’ll get a retail credit for new yoga clothes, so that’s a win-win, right? I registered for the Tubbs Romp to Stomp 5k snowshoe event in Frisco, the 7k Running of the Green (which, knowing me, will be more like a Walking of the Green), and my annual MS150 ride. Yesterday I whipped out 16 handmade greeting cards so I won’t miss birthdays during the first quarter of 2013. I think I’m finally back on track.

I used to feel bad about this rollercoaster ride I’m on. I would berate myself for falling off the wagon and losing myself to Christmas cookies and movie theater popcorn. I don’t anymore. The way I have it figured I’m merely one of those people who needs something to motivate her. And, nothing motivates me more than the chance to let go and fall apart occasionally. After a quick, exhilarating downhill slide, my coaster car is back on the platform and about to begin its next ascent up the highest peak on the coaster. I’m a lifelong coaster rider, and I’m ready for another go around. There will be plenty of time to relax again when I head down the big hill next December, arms in the air, smile on my face. It’s all good.

 

 

 

 

I Have More Purpose Than Cousin Itt

My rough estimation of my own Cousin Itt.

I am lost. I thought that once the boys started back to school, things in my life would fall into a pace or rhythm in which I would be able to find adequate space for my writing. So far, though, that has not happened. Two weeks into my “freedom,” and I’m no further along on my book than I was months ago when I decided I should commit to writing it. It’s been weighing on me, this lack of progress, gnawing at my confidence and sucking out my desire to continue. Each day I’ve found it more difficult to believe I’m truly capable of what I’ve said I would do. Because of this, I’ve been feeling a bit like Cousin Itt from The Addams Family, a superfluous, faceless joke of a family relation with no real skill or purpose. It’s a dark place under all that hair.

A little over a week ago, I wrote a bit about fate and coincidence. I’ve long thought that life presents us with what we need. The problem is that most people are too closed off to the signs and hints, the gentle hand of fate that continually offers us what we need to help us along our journey. You have to be paying attention if you want guidance. As I’ve been sitting here wallowing in my self-perceived worthlessness and ineptitude, I haven’t been in tune with much else in my life. How do you see the positives when you’re up to your eyeballs in negatives?

That is exactly what I was saying to myself this afternoon right before I decided to check the email account I created for this blog last December. I don’t check this email regularly because experience has shown that not very many people frequent it. Still, today, as I was going through my other four email accounts to play catch up (I have an email problem), I thought I might as well go ahead and check my blog account. There, in my inbox, was a message from my graduate school thesis adviser. I haven’t had any contact with Dr. Savage in years. He found me through Linkedin (another account which I don’t use) and followed the link to my blog. On any other day, it would have been nothing more than a pleasant surprise to see a message from Dr. Savage in my inbox. Today, though, in the midst of my self-loathing, it was a sign. His message was full of complimentary statements about my writing, and these statements came at a time when I most needed an infusion of positive energy. I’d like to say it’s some sort of weird coincidence, but I don’t believe it is. The universe wants me to shut up, have faith in myself, and be patient. The universe sent Dr. Savage to remind me to solider on because I’m doing what I should be even if it’s not going the way I had hoped it would.

Ten years ago, I was close to tossing my thesis in the trash. I was frustrated, tired, and (quite frankly) bored with listening to myself talk. I wanted to let it go and move on. But, Dr. Savage told me I was almost there, so I kept working. He was right. I graduated in December 2002 with a master’s degree in writing. And now just when I’m shaking my head and wondering what I was thinking when I embarked on this writing journey, Dr. Savage shows up again. That is no coincidence. You know…Cousin Itt might not have had a purpose, but I do. I merely needed a little reminder.