Searching for my Personal Best

My quest for a life recently brought me to a  ‘Personal Best’ seminar – three days aimed at shifting a few emotional gremlins and extending my focus beyond laundry and extra-curricular activities.  So, this post is dedicated to a new group of friends with whom, much against my better judgement, I shared the insecurities and idiosyncrasies that quiver beneath my carefully tended public persona.

It was an intense weekend of long days and late nights, and it was a leap for me to leave the family to fend for themselves.  When I left I instructed the children that they should direct all queries to their father for the entire weekend, which is more of an adjustment than you might think.  For the most part, when I’m out I get a series of texts asking random things like “What can I have for a snack?”, or “Can my friend come for a sleepover?” – even if they are sitting on the couch right next to their Dad.

It drives me crazy, but on the other hand, if I go out and they manage without me I’m really quite offended.  I guess it feels good to be indispensable.

When it came down to it they all coped very well and, frankly, I’m a little choked that they weren’t more delighted to see me each night.  The only one who was genuinely ecstatic was the dog who has been following me round whimpering in pathetic gratitude ever since I got back.  It’s getting a little annoying, but I hate to complain in case I regret it when she stops.

Of course, the scariest aspect of a long weekend committed to personal growth, is the thought of all the dirty dishes that four people can create and pile by the sink in three days.   It’s enough to destroy any amount of inner serenity and reduce to rubble a world of good intentions.   So after day 2, in an effort to ‘own my personal power’, I gently impressed on my husband the inadvisability of allowing me to come home to 3 days of dirty dishes after day 3.   As I left that morning he was evaluating the situation and visibly planning his attack.  He did quite a good job of tackling the stack, and I believe most of it was washed and put away by the time I got home.  Fortunately for him, the patient loving person who had, over the weekend, replaced his frazzled, tetchy wife, was willing to overlook the  fresh stack he built during the course of the day.

Anyway, the upshot is that I have gone public with this blog and made a commitment to myself and the world at large to write.  And for what it’s worth, this is it.  Enjoy!

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Busting Some Moves

My daughter recently joined a gym, and so excited were they at the prospect of her patronage that they threw in a free month for me.

Anxious to make the most of it I decided to try all the classes.  I quite fancy being one of those trim, slim MILF types.  The way I see it, I just need to lose ten pounds and grow 4″.

It was all going quite well until I tried a Zumba class – I’ve been hearing lots about it and it’s obviously the latest thing.  Well, holy crap on a cracker, it was the most humiliating experience of my life (okay, one of them, anyway).  The instructor was up there with her hips waggling and everything else shaking in all the right directions and I realized right away that I might not be quite equipped for this.  You see, my hips just don’t do that, and my limbs just  flailed every which way in complete disregard of the clear messages I was sending.

There were only four other people in the room, and now I know why.  Unfortunately that meant that there was nowhere to hide.  I did stick it out, but it took a great deal of willpower not to scoop up my dignity while there were still traces left, and slink out.

The upshot is that now I have to take dancing lessons.  I feel that my awkwardness and complete lack of rhythm  might just be a metaphor for my life.  Clearly, if I can learn to go with the flow and  feel the music I will become a much more fulfilled, exciting person.

So, I’m registering for a hip hop class, although every rationale, sensible fibre of my being is shouting “NO, start with something like line dancing!”.  Well, it should make for good entertainment, if nothing else.

Making my Heart Sing

So far, my most successful move toward creating a ‘life after children’ has been joining a choir.  It literally makes my heart sing.  I have even made the unprecedented move of press-ganging my husband into the chauffering to facilitate my attendance.  Yes, on a Thursday evening I don’t have to drive anyone but myself  – I can drive along singing to my heart’s content, completely free from the usual whining and complaining.

I managed to find an unauditioned choir which was very important, because it means I didn’t have to sing alone in front of anyone.  A cop out perhaps?  No doubt, and it has fuelled my secret fear that the beautiful noise I hear in my head might, from the outside, be an appalling caterwauling.  Every time the choir director wanders  near I find myself hanging my head and mumbling into my sweater just in case she discovers me for an imposter and hurls me from the building.  I imagine her trembling in righteous indignation, and pointing a horrified finger at the door, despite the fact that she’s adorably cute and I’ve never actually seen her doing a lot of hurling.  Well, you never know, do you?

One thing I have discovered is that the louder those around me sing, the better my own voice sounds (again inside my head).  It’s wonderful, because when we get to those really loud bits (I haven’t quite mastered the vernacular yet) I can honestly believe that I am singing like an angel!

So, Christmas is coming and I’m preparing to force my entire family to attend my concert – a glorious payback for all the stuff I’ve had to sit through over the last decade and a half.  Ha ha(evil laugh)!

The Playground of Life

Yikes!  Can it really have been over a month since my last post?

Actually, I’ve been paralyzed by the horror implicit in finally having three teenagers in the house.  My youngest  turned 13 and the hormones here have reached crisis levels.  Add to that the fact that I’m approaching menopause with alarming speed and it’s hard to express enough sympathy for my poor husband.  It’s like living in a terrifying playground complete with emotional rollercoasters and mood swings.

It occurs to me that the path to adulthood has children leaving home toward the end of their teens for very good reasons.  They can’t leave earlier because by the age of 15 they are, to use a medical term, completely crazy.  On the other hand after a few years of crazy the average teenager really needs to create some space between them and their parents or it’ll be murder she wrote.

I remember commenting in the face of toddler tantrums that childhood is supposed to be a happy, carefree time of life. Well apparently the tragedy of being denied candy at the supermarket checkout pales in comparison to the appalling suffering of the teenager.  My oldest  is miserable because her friends are all away at university and she’s stuck at home with the most boring people in the universe.  My second is miserable because he has to live with the most annoying, stupid people in the universe (oh how I wish I had it all figured out as well as the average 16 year old).  My youngest is just miserable, but I think he at least still likes us.

It’s amazing how your standards change.  I now find myself reeling in delighted surprise at any tiny demonstration of spontaneous courtesy; celebrating whenever I catch a glimpse of a bearable human underneath that appalling scowl.  Each of those moments is like a light at the end of the tunnel – although, to quote Terry Pratchett, you can never be quite sure whether that light might be an oncoming train.

Oh yes, it’s all fun!