Monthly Archives: June 2014

The habit of failure

Do you ever think to yourself, ‘gee, I’d sure like to exercise/read/write more, eat less, get up earlier, have a clean house (and not just when company is coming), watch less tv, be on facebook less, [insert your goal here]’?

*crickets chirping*

I will take your uncomfortable silence as aggreement. 

After a very difficult year, I have been wanting to make some changes. I am no longer waiting for the next big thing, I’m done having children, we are settled.  I should probably start acting like an adult.  (Do you think that will make me feel like one? That’s another post altogether.)

The two areas of my life that bother me the most are my weight and my house.  Both feel cluttered.  I think I had this idea that somehow I would just start moving more one day and the extra weight would just melt off.  Or I would just not worry about my weight (because, after all, we are all beautiful, right?) and it wouldn’t have any real effect on my life.  But while I was trying to love my body no matter what, I felt like crap.  My stomach hurt, all the time. I had no energy and was not wanting to do anything with the kids.  I couldn’t afford to buy new clothes and because I was constantly eating whether I was hungry or not (although I really did feel like I was constantly hungry) I was slowly but surely growing out of everything.  As much as I tried to convince myself that salads and fruit were the way to go, I was not making any healthy choices.  And for as much as I wanted to see myself as beautiful, I didn’t even recognize the person in the mirror.  Something had to give.  So I bit the bullet and went to my GP and got a referral to Weight Watchers.  I have been going for 13 weeks now and have lost 19 lbs.  Doesn’t sound like failure, does it?  I’m actually quite shocked, myself.  I fully expected to crash out or for it just not to work.  And I struggle with keeping positive as I feel like it was failure on my part to a) get to this place in the first place and b) need help from a program when I should be capable of dealing with this myself.  I still worry that as soon as I’m ‘allowed’ I’m going to go back to scarfing down the krispy kremes at every given opportunity, but we shall see.  What habits will I have at the end of this program?  Will they stick? Will I see food differently?  Will my appetite really change enough to keep me from putting it all back on again?  I don’t know.  I have to say, at this point, I don’t really have a lot of faith in myself.  I’ve disappointed myself too many times. (I know, I’m being a real Debbie Downer today, but I can’t just blog when I have something cute to say.)

That brings me to my house. I went back to the FlyLady website a couple of months back.  I’ve been there before, and tried a few things but never really stuck to it.  I just couldn’t get past the kitchen sink.  Well, all that changed when we finally got a dishwasher.  I love my dishwasher.  So this time, I got past the kitchen sink, I had a whole couple of weeks were I got dressed every day, made my bed, did a load of laundry, did weekly cleaning bits, scheduled my week, kept a proper diary.  I was working my way through the baby steps, building myself a control journal, feeling a little less cluttered, more in control.  Then, in the space of a week I got my period (which is somewhat debilitating at this time) and had to take some terrible medicine in preparation for a colonoscopy.  (Are you still with me, gentle reader?) Fun times. Needless to say I didn’t do much that week and by the time it was all said and done, I was back at square one; all my counters were cluttered, my sink was dirty, my laundry was backed up, and everything was dusty.  It was like all the good I’d done had never happened.  I still haven’t recovered. 

Everyone selling self-help/organizational books like to tell you that it takes at least 3 weeks to develop a good habit.  Apparently it only takes a couple of days to completely throw it out the window. And then where are you? Back at the beginning? Starting all over again?  How many times do I have to go through those three weeks before it becomes a habit that’s not quite so easily broken?

I am so tired of being deflated. Tired of feeling like it’s only a matter of time before something derails me and it all goes back to square one.  Tired of feeling like my life is cluttered with a bunch of crap that I don’t need or want but can’t seem to get rid of. 

I wish I had an inspirational ending to this post.  I would love to say, ‘this is how I conquered this problem’, but I got nothin’.  I’m open to suggestions. 

 

And where is our intrepid hero now?

Stress.  So much stress.

Not like a season of 24 stress (which I have been watching for the first time lately) but a constant, low-level, thrumming drone of stress.

This has been quite the year (and a half). At the same time that The Rocket Scientist was starting to interview for a complete career change, we were welcoming our little Cuddlebug into the world.  That welcoming had its own stress, besides being a c-section which I was not looking forward to, I was not going to be convinced that she would really be okay until she was in my arms.  As it turned out, even that didn’t do much to alleviate my fears.  It’s very frustrating to be constantly afraid while your brain chews you out for such irrational fears.  And with all my energy going into a new baby and any excess energy being taken up with unwarranted fears and with more energy that I didn’t have being taken up with worrying about an impending career change and what it would mean for our family (and what it would mean for us if it did not happen), I did not have a lot left over to be supportive of The Rocket Scientist while he went through much the same thing (only without quite the same fears over our Cuddlebug). Let’s just say, we were not getting on well.

And then what we were expecting to take 3 to 6 months turned into 7.  Then 8.  Then 9.  At which point we no longer had a place to live.  The weekend before my birthday (on my Dove’s first birthday), we moved all of our belongings into a storage locker.  We couldn’t sign a contract for another house because if we didn’t have a job in another 2 months we would have had to go back to Canada, and even if we did find a job we had no idea where it would be. Sheffield? London? Oxford? New York?  So we lived out of suitcases on the kindness of friends and acquaintances.

Then it was 10. Then 11. 3 Weeks from his job ending at the University we were faced with a choice of two jobs.  Neither one was ideal except that they were a job.  One of our big concerns with the new job is that it had to pay enough for us to be able to afford Indefinite Leave to Remain in 3 months (an astronomical cost for all of us) and the pay being offered wasn’t going to cut it.  Until one of them offered to cover the cost.  Completely.  For the whole family.

What a relief.

It was over.

Within a month, The Rocket Scientist finished off his job in Oxford and started his new one in London, we got to spend a couple of weeks at a corporate apartment in London (where our Cuddlebug caught her little toe in a door and partially amputated it so instead of wandering around our favourite city we spent most of the two weeks in one hospital or another), we found our new home in Leighton Buzzard, and finally got all our stuff out of the storage locker. It was like Christmas.

Then came the settling in to a new city, not having any friends around to relax with, not having a church to fellowship with, adjusting to The Rocket Scientist having significantly longer hours than he did as an academic.  And our first Christmas without Grammie (she had come in September to help out for a few weeks and couldn’t afford to visit again so soon).

Well, we’ve been in Leighton Buzzard for 7 months now, all three of the kids have had a birthday in this house and we have found a church to call home.  Friends are coming a bit slower but I remind myself not to feel rushed.  The Rocket Scientist and I are, for the first time since we met, not waiting to move on, not thinking about having to leave our friends and make new ones.

We are settled.

Whew!

Did I mention that we are also homeschooling (and have been for the last year)? I certainly wouldn’t have it any other way and I don’t really find it stressful, but not having much in the way of time to myself is hard.  More on those adventures later.

So what, then, is the source of that undercurrent of stress?  I am waiting.  Holding my breath.  For once I am not pregnant although we are anticipating a new arrival to our household.  As soon as someone up there in the Great White North buys my mum’s house, she’s buying a one-way ticket and coming to live with us.  I’m sure it will be an adjustment for everyone involved but the pros far outweigh the cons.  It is killing me that there is no date on the calendar, nothing to count down to, just the waiting.

for someday

soon

hopefully

pleeeeeease!!