Days 69-72: Rising Above it All

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I am going to come right out and say that this week hasn’t been the best for me. From putting hydrogen peroxide in my eyes, to missing my morning alarm, to just feeling crappy in general.

I took a run on Monday and felt great, but not the usual great. I didn’t feel the zip that I usually got from burning some energy. I guess you could say I was in a funk. On Tuesday, I was looking at myself in the mirror, trying to make eye contact and figure out why I felt so shitty. So, what did genius decide to do? Well, I shaved my head. I got sick of my hair, sick of fixing it every morning, and shaved it all off. I felt like I wanted some major change, to break free from…something. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it was the constant rain we were getting. Maybe it was the daily, everyday grind. Whatever it was, it turned out to have been a good choice.

The next day at the school, my head drew lots of attention. It didn’t stop the day after either.  My head was rubbed over and over, by colleagues and students. At first I would say,”Yes, I cut my hair. ” The second and third time as well. The sheer (get it?) amount of people who noticed I had cut my hair was overwhelming.  I couldn’t step into any room without someone saying something. Don’t get me wrong, it was never mean. It’s just that, despite liking to teach, and working with the people I do, I am shy. Yes, you read that correctly, shy. It became unnerving. But, while driving home today, still regretting the buzz cut, I realized that all those people felt comfortable enough to joke with me and rub my head. It’s like a family.  I thought, “How fortunate am I to have found a place, so far away from where I was born and grew up, that is my home as well.” I was immediately filled with a warm, safe feeling. I went from the dumps to gratitude in one short drive.

I had another major funk breaker when I Facetimed a friend back home on Wednesday. We chatted for over and hour about anything and everything. By the time we said goodbye, I felt a tinge of excitement and hope again. Sometimes it’s good to just talk and let it all out. Sometimes the person you talk to comes up with better ways of looking at things. Sometimes they give you ideas. I was lucky to get it all. One idea was to look back at some of my first writings here to see if I noticed anything,  to reflect on where I was, and where I am today.  So, I went back and looked. What did I find? Holy shit. I have grown. I am feeling better. Life is better.

That’s some good stuff.

I lived today. It was awesome. 

 

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Days 62,63 and 64: Who Am I Now?

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Awhile back, I read in the Economist that certain countries have more rules and customs in their society, spoken and unspoken, than others. Sadly, I can’t find the damn article now.  Thinking as an American, I figured that most of those countries were either in the Middle East or in Asia. Well, it turns out that the 4 of the top 5 were Asian countries. You know, taking shoes off, manners, etc. Norway was also in the top 5. That may seem surprising to many, but not to me anymore.

When I first moved here I thought this country was going to be different, but not so different. Sure, they spoke differently, but they are western European. How different could it be? But, after living here for over 10 years, I can tell you that it is very different.  A recent article in one of the newspapers here called VG translated and republished an article from a French woman’s blog called  A Frog in the Fjord (which is wonderful btw). In it she talks about Norway’s busy, to do, culture. I highly recommend reading it. In fact, if you are ever curious about what life is like here, for a non-native, you will learn a lot. I read her articles and say, “Yep,” all the time. She writes in English.

It got me thinking about how living in this culture has changed me. One thing I know is that I repress my feelings and outward personality a great deal more in Norway. I am quieter, though most here would say I am not.

But who am I now? My friends here would probably say that I am a typical American, loud, expressive, yada yada, when in fact, I am much less “me” here than I am in the US. Or am I? To put it another way, if I were to bring the Norwegian me to the US, I would be considered very quiet and somewhat unsocial. When I visit the States, it takes a week or so to get back into the groove of being “me” again.  Am I me in Norway or am I not really being me when I am here? This has brought up some heavy existential questions. Am I identifying me with the culture I was raised in? Am I simply changing as a person as I grow older? Or, is the culture I now live in changing me?  I want to be a part of this society and have made many very good friends here. I like it here. That has meant following the norms and mores that come with it. But, sometimes those norms feel repressive. Other times, I am glad to have the norms because they suit me better.

This is where my thinking has been lately. It’s somewhat odd to be at the grocery store, or watching my daughters play soccer and being lost in thought about who I am. A lot of personal writing is involved as well.

As for not posting in a few days, May is a very busy month. In the meantime, I continue to exercise, eat well, practice mindfulness, and work on all the other things I set out to do.

Please forgive any errors or mistakes, I wrote this in a flash.

One thing I can say is, today was an awesome day. It really keeps getting better. I never want to finish this project. 

 

 

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Day 35: Draft #6523

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I have written several drafts and nothing has been, ” right”… so far. Let’s hope I get somewhere this time.

I hate to say it but,  “Today was one of those days!” I am fighting tooth-and-nail to stay focused on being present, in the moment, and not letting a whole day be ruined.

Today I slept through my alarm, had a small crisis with the kids in the morning that made me a few minutes late for work, missed my morning run, waited way too long for the Orthodontist to see my daughter, and then waited an hour more for her to get a mouth piece removed. Remember, my goal is to continue the old ones, while working on the new ones. Minus the writing, and a few mindfulness moments, I did terribly.

It just felt like there was never a restful moment. I never stopped and just breathed…until now. Messages came, emails needed to be answered, papers needed to be checked, and many students needed help at the same time. I worried about things I needed to do. I stressed about plans that had to be made. I got irritated with people on the road. I got down on myself for not running. It’s the first time in many, many weeks that I let it get that bad. Despite all that was going on in my head, I doubt one person noticed that I was feeling the way I was. I can hide it pretty well.

So now I forgive myself and how I dealt with things. Having peace among the chaos is not always easy.

I am going to use the remainder of the day to center myself, breathe, do some private writing and finish this day on an awesome note.  Then I am going to get a nice long sleep.

I lived today, but could have done better. Tomorrow is a new day.

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Day 23: Not Every Day is 100% Awesome

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I try to follow a writing process. One, write. It doesn’t matter if anything is wrong or jumbled, just get it written. Two, organize, edit, and make sure I explain my day without getting too personal. Three, reread and post. It’s that simple. Most posts take around 30 minutes. There are some days that I am not that meticulous. Today is one of those days.  It’s really late.

Pre 100 Days me would say, “I had a bad day today.” I am still tempted to start with that.

I had a difficult and challenging day today.  That’s better.

Not every day is as awesome as I want it to be. 100 Days of Awesome is not just about how great everything is. It is also about the struggles I have when trying to make the most of each day.

For the last 4 1/2 days I have renovated and worked on my place. The plan was 3 days tops. Even now, as I lie in my bed, there is an old bunk bed in 4 pieces to my left and 6 or 7 empty furniture boxes to my right. The kitchen is a disaster, the dining room is still filled with furniture and clothes, the fridge is almost empty, and one bedroom is still not completed. My home looks and feels like chaos.

Today’s plan was to run, assemble both new beds, put all the furniture back, and do some cleaning. Everything was to be done today. Instead I slept really late, exhausted from the physical activity I had on day 22. I was in catch-up mode from then on. No time for running… just get the stuff done!  My head was everywhere except in the present.

My oldest was also very upset.  I had to make a judgment call yesterday and decide whether to get her the new bed, but with the wrong color, or wait 2-3 weeks and get the color she liked. I decided to get her the wrong color rather than go through putting all her old stuff back in her room, waiting three weeks, then taking it all out again, getting the truck for a second time, and making another trip to Ikea. To be clear, I did try to call her and ask if I should wait or not. She didn’t answer though. Well, holy hell broke loose when she saw the color this morning.  I simply forgot to tell her yesterday.

Now, she is not normally like this and is actually very easy-going. She is also starting to get older…aka changes. I just didn’t know how to deal with it. The chaos I felt from a house that looked recently carpet bombed, my brain whirling like an out of control rusty carnival ride, coupled with her sobbing in the bathroom, fried my brain. Exhausted and feeling low, I did my best to talk with her without getting upset. It was really tough, but I think I handled it well. After that I was in another world.  Nothing felt right and it continued for most of the day.

I did manage to get ahold of myself in the evening. A little quiet time to stop and assess the situation can really help. I am just disappointed that I waited so long before I did something. I just feel exhausted. There is no question I have done too much without resting enough.

So what can I learn from today? It’s 12.40 am and I am not sure I can analyze it too much. The best I can do is…  Listen to my body… Listen to what I need. Rest. It will get done eventually. And, when I make high expectations of myself, it isn’t always going to turn out the way I want it to. It’s kind of like a prom or a wedding that’s been thought about too much. We create an image in our heads of how it will be and end up being disappointed when it doesn’t end up that way. I have known that for a long time, but somehow I let it all get away from me today.

So yes, I did do much of what I planned. And yes, I lived today. I just didn’t live it the way I wanted to. I am still thankful knowing that the struggles I face are nothing compared to what most of the world deals with.

I am going to stop thinking about it now.

Time to forgive myself, get some rest, and try again tomorrow. Forward!

 

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Day 19: Breaks in the Routine

kemcoFWI woke to another day of not running. It freaks me out a little. I don’t want to break the routine.  I want to get out there again. Idiot snow. No matter how bad it is tomorrow, and even though it is the weekend and vacation, I am getting up and going. Sunday too.

Speaking of vacation, I am a little concerned.  When things change, and I have less to do, I can get antsy. It’s been like that for years. I prepared this time. I made a list and have personal goals for the entire vacation. Some of those days are to do nothing. Others, I am going to practice exactly what I have done for the last 18 days. Mindfulness, meditation, exercise, writing more, reading, and recognize when I need to rest.

One major project starts tomorrow. I am redoing both of my daughters’ rooms. New beds, painting, fixing up the windows. Everything will be done by Monday. I am also going to melt into the couch in the evenings and watch some Netflix shows I have wanted to see for a while, including one recommend to me today. Lastly, I am going to get out and visit some friends.

In other news, a friend from back in Buffalo has nominated herself as the official 100 Days of Awesome cheerleader. I get random messages throughout the day. It’s awesome. Just got this one a second ago.

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She is too funny!

I also met a very cool person today who has visited Buffalo, went to a Sabres game and knows someone from there. So freakin’ cool.

I think, the more you grow and what you have inside, attracts people and moments that fit you for where you are. I like that. The world we create inside creates our world on the outside. It presents us with new opportunities when we are ready for them. 

I can already say that when the 100 days are over, I am going for another 100. This is too good to ever stop. 

Hope everyone enjoys their day.

I lived today.  It had its challenges. It had new experiences and people in it. 

Today was awesome. I feel great. I am here. 

Listened to this as I finished writing. Never get tired of it.

 

…and one more. It’s Friday after all.

 

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Day 18: Sorry, Snow Jogging Today.

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Here, in Drammen, Norway, we didn’t get much of a winter this year. Well, today we got slammed.. Wet, heavy snow. Lucky for me, I am from Buffalo. The snow always lifts my spirits. I think it is in my blood.

The only drawback was not getting a chance to run. I’m not Rocky IV getting ready to beat Drago. If this snow lasts more than a day or two I am going to have to find something else for a little while. I feel the need to run now.

I had some real challenges today. My daughter had a real tough incident, as growing up will do sometimes. She needed me. I was there for her. There were other moments as well. I had to stop and breathe a few times.

The most important thing I can take away from it all was that my thinking kept me in the moment. I was present for each moment. When I walk out the door, and don’t worry about what will happen, it is easier to deal with what life hands me. There are no good or bad days, just moments that challenge or lift me up. This is an essential part of the first days of this project.

When I was younger this was easier to do. Somewhere along the way I lost it. Thankfully, I am taking it back.

I lived today. 

 

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My Brain Hijacks My Website

(My brain hijacked my post!)

Screenshot 2015-03-21 11.49.35Ahhhhh. Saturday. What time is it? Only 8 o’clock. I feel so rested and it is still early. I wonder what the  weather will be like today. Let me check the weather app. Hmm, sunny all day. A little cold, but could be nice to get outside. Yes. I need to get outside. But what about the painting? I thought you were going to paint the porch and spruce it up this weekend. And look, there is a small pile of clothes that need to be washed. Geez. Ok. Let’s  get some coffee and  check today’s news. Crap. I didn’t finish cleaning the kitchen last night. Those pizza pans need to be washed. Fuck. I also said I would go running today. Alright, first we need to get a coffee and make a list of stuff to do today. Coffee first. 

   Let’s see. Coffee tastes good. Mindfulness! I need to practice more. That’s right, I was going to look through some of the books I got to see if there are any special things I can do to practice mindfulness more throughout the day. Let’s check the iPad. Oh. It’s my turn on Wordfeud. Let’s see. Can I make a word with geo? Looks like Gate is all I can do for the most points. Where was I? Oh yeah, mindfulness. Shit, gotta pee. This bathroom needs to be cleaned too. I’m hungry. Going to go make a smoothie. A smoothie will help me  jump start the day. 

That’s a good smoothie. Alright, where was I? What am I doing? Right, a list…. 

STOP! Enough! Get off this! This crap thinking went on and on, and nothing happened. I was in a state of indecision, stress, anxiety and was doing nothing in the process!

I just stopped. I took some breaths. I sat still and quieted my brain. It took a long time. Interruptions from the kids didn’t help either. Having a free Saturday can actually be a burden for me.

 

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