I know I’m not the only one who feels like we live in The Twilight Zone. It’s very weird out right now in so many ways. It feels like a hurricane is bearing down on us but we don’t know it’s path or strength so we just hunker down in the corner with our hands over our head, elementary-school-tornado-drill-style, and peek out every once in a while to see what the heck is going on. I appreciate the way humans come together during difficult times, and in some ways, our country needed a good shake up; that being said, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone at any time, as I could think of a million better ways for a country to come together besides a pandemic. People are bringing their meme game, which proves we all need humor in difficult times. Some of my favorites:
And the winner goes to:
This reminds me of the build up and then the subsequent aftermath of Hurricane Florence. You see so many hurting, scared, sick, unemployed, underemployed, lonely, but on the flipside, you see so many coming together to help out. This is a very weird time.
I’m very thankful I can continue to run. I was just starting to train for a half marathon trail race at the beginning of May, but I assume this race will not happen. Now that I can’t use the gym to get in some incline work, I’ve continued to add miles to my weekend long runs, now up to ten. Some runs are good, some are not-so-good, but they are improving overall, which is the goal. I struggled most when it was humid, so I’m a little nervous about the summer, but all I can do is keep pushing forward. **I wrote this on Friday but didn’t get to posting it until today. Race was postponed until September so I did not do a long run this weekend. I rode my bike for 90 minutes on the trainer instead.
For me, when things are stressful, which I feel like it has been in one way or another for almost two years, I either put my nose to the grindstone and forge ahead or freeze up. I’m in the freeze up version of stress right now. When expectation and reality are not close, and they are about as far away as the Sun and Pluto (yes, it’s a planet because that’s what I learned in school), I tend to struggle. This has been a very strange year so far, as I know it has been for many.
I started the year with the 2020 challenge, which consists of running 2020 miles in 2020. I took the challenge, but gave myself permission to walk additional miles and to not meet the goal. It averages about 5.5 miles per day, and when I cross train one day and take one day off, that is a lot of miles! And it’s a challenge that really doesn’t have a reason, it’s just a number, so I am not going to stress about it. I’m just keeping track of my miles, that’s all. It will be interesting to see how many I get by the end of the year! January was 161.52 miles, February 138.96, and with one day left, March is 150.78, and total is 451.26 miles! Considering I need 507 in the first quarter to meet the 2020 goal, it’s not likely that I will make it, but dang! 450-ish miles is pretty awesome!
When the kids went back to school after Christmas break, I found myself trying to get in extra walking miles with my dog. I have a path where I let her off the leash and she just runs around, sniffs everything, and pees about twelve hundred million times. She loves it and I love to see her happy. I had applied for a few jobs, and during one of those walks, I realized that I probably wasn’t going to get a call back for the one I really wanted and one I knew I was well qualified to do. Either way, I needed a plan. I decided that I needed to figure out what I wanted to do. I thought about not doing anything, which was quickly dismissed. I’ve only not worked or been a major volunteer a few years since my kids were born, and I needed to have something for me, something that was mine, like my coaching business had been. I thought about starting up my business in the schools again, and I just couldn’t figure out a way that it would work. Access to a bathroom, safety, and a good location were lacking. I thought about returning to the mortgage industry. I really enjoyed being a mortgage underwriter, but I knew I’d have to start at the bottom again since I had been out of the industry for 17 years. As much as I could do this, I felt like it wasn’t for me anymore, especially starting at the bottom, again.
My oldest son is a junior in high school, and we had just booked college tours. I kept telling both my kids that they need to do what they truly want to do, as long as it’s not something like “butterfly hunting in Africa”, and they could make a living at it. College is so expensive, they needed to have a career goal or they should just stay home and go to community college and work until they figure it out. I kept telling them to follow their passion, don’t be someone who grits their teeth through every work day. Their dad, my husband had chased his dreams for years and is finally at a place where he wanted to be and imagines staying until retirement. That’s what I want for them. Yes, you have to start at the bottom, you have to do jobs you don’t like, you have to work more than 40 hours per week, but if that’s what it takes to get to your goal, then so be it. To get your dream job, you really should have to pay your dues, live in a crappy apartment, drive an old car. But it’s worth it.
I found it ironic that I was telling my kids to follow their dreams when I wasn’t. I had stopped myself from even considering going back to school because of money, time, it’s too much sacrifice, blah blah blah. There was always a reason why I couldn’t or shouldn’t go back, and this time, I could not find one reasonable reason why I couldn’t follow my dreams. But what were they? Hmmmm, well, I’d enrolled in college after high school with the hopes of being a psychologist so I could help people with their problems. I had struggled with an eating disorder in high school, been to counseling, and felt my counselors were not very good. I wanted to be the good one. But once I got to school, I didn’t want to have to go for a bazillion more years. Looking back, it was a very short-sighted decision, but I wouldn’t be right here writing this if I had continued with that goal.
During that walk on a sunny, cool January morning, I decided that I was going to go back to school. I did days of research, met with an enrollment counselor, talked to others on the phone, and finally applied to Charleston Southern University grad school for the Clinical Counseling master degree. I was accepted on my son’s birthday, February 28th. Just this week, after talking to the director a few times, I officially enrolled in two classes for summer and three for the fall. I am officially going to graduate school!
And while I am bored out of my gourd and relatively frozen during this quarantine, I am hopeful for my future as a student and then as a counselor. It’s crazy what can happen when you take time to clear your head and get straight with yourself. I’m a lot less likely to take crap from people and cut out the drama, more likely to help out local businesses and call those I love, and find the niche where I can help. I’ve spent a lot of time on my phone playing games, reading, and not doing house work. My kids have been doing eLearning through their school, but I’ve allowed pretty much anything.
I hope you all are doing ok. I can’t imagine facing unemployment at this time, having sick relatives, being sick myself. I haven’t seen my parents since last July, and we are supposed to see them for a fun ten day trip this summer at their house. I don’t know if that will happen. It scares me. I miss them SO MUCH. I worry about them, I worry about the economy, I worry about paying for college for me and my kids. There’s a LOT of unknowns. My youngest son’s orthodontist appointment was cancelled (by me because he had run a fever two days prior) and I have no idea when he can get in again. My oldest son needs an eye exam. I need an eye exam. But I have to trust we are in the middle of a snow globe snow storm, and it WILL calm down. Things WILL get back to normal.
I’m wishing the absolute best for everyone out there reading this. I will say a prayer of calm, of comfort, of releasing the worry. Til next time.