Today I have my thinking cap on and when that happens, I get very introspective. Get me out of dodge for 24 hours (more on that later) and that tends to happen. We all need to get away sometimes so we can have a chance to miss the things that have become mundane and clear out the cobwebs. Lately, I have felt very dusty and unclear inside.
At the beginning of the year, I started going to a counselor. I was talking about this with a friend of mine at breakfast yesterday and I realized that once I started seeing the counselor, I all but stopped working through my “issues” here on the blog. I’m cool with that but it was interesting to discover the why behind my pulling back from this place. It’s not that I don’t want to share what I am learning. It’s that I haven’t been able to put it into words.
Thinking through it some more, however, there are a few things I want to share.
On my very first counseling visit, I was told to go out and buy the book Boundaries, by Drs. Cloud and Townsend. Over time, I have read the entire book and I have to say it is a MUST read for any man or woman who doesn’t feel 100% in control of their life. If you are on top of things, feel free to skip it. But for the rest of us? This book is a Godsend. Literally. (My local friends are laughing at me right now because most of us go to the same practice and have all done “the homework”.)
Christian disclaimer: I am a Christian so I could appreciate and relate to the faith-based reasoning behind this book. That said, I really believe you could remove the religious lingo and still have really solid and helpful advice that would help anyone. So even if you don’t identify with Christianity, please check it out anyway.
Of course, not every single situation in the book applies to me, but I know I will be referring back to certain chapters with regularity. I had SO many aha! moments and my eyes are slowly opening to the ways I can grow as a person, woman, wife, mother – you name it. I guess my point is, I am coming to terms with the fact that I am not finished.
I am very goal oriented and it’s been that way as long as I can remember. I love to check things off the list, accomplish something and move on. Looking over my life, the times when I have felt the most at peace are not the “perfect” times, but the ones where I know I am making progress. I am in steep competition with myself and constantly needing to be “better” or at least “improving”. Going backwards is not an option.
But that’s exhausting.
And I’m exhausted.
What I am learning is that the upward or improvement process isn’t a straight line from the bottom to the top, but rather a squiggly line that gradually inclines a little and then declines a little. So I make some progress and then I come down a bit, make progress and come down a bit. But each “down” is a little higher than the last down, and eventually the downs are even higher than some of the initial ups! I am learning that progress doesn’t equal happiness and that is ok too.
I’m identifying with other women as wives, mothers and professionals in a way that I really can’t communicate any clearer than to just say, solidarity bitches, we’re gonna make it.
And I am ok with the fact that making it might not look like that picture in my mind. It’s not that factory-perfect, Martha Stewart image. In fact, I think it’s more of a quilt. Squares get a little tattered and start to pull away so we redirect the needle to reinforce that part that needs it most. Over time, we have something uneven and worn, but stronger and softer than ever, something that our families will cherish for generations.
I’m a finish line kind of girl. But I think I am finally starting to appreciate the journey.
*photo by gina pina