Recurring Thought

Don’t expect things to slow down.

That has been the, often too late, response to my whiny, immature, impatient self-talk that occurs when life feels like too much. Which is almost all the time. Especially since all I’m focusing on is – when is ________ going to end?  when is ______ going to get easier?

Well, I’m pretty sure things will get easier and slow down when I choose to see the good along with the bad and when I let myself find peace in the struggle. I can’t let my happiness depend on things going my way. I have to take control.

Bartley is really sick again. We had a rough couple of days with him, wondering if he would be okay. The steriods helped, but soon enough, the skin infection that had been a secondary thing, became the primary concern. He has lost a lot of fur and has pustules and lesions. He’s more lethargic again. However, we had a promising visit to the dermatologist today, and I am hopeful that although it might be a slow journey, we’ll start to see some progress in the next few days.

This is what I’m talking about: I expected a rejeuvenating summer and life had other things in store for me. I’ve spent a lot of time whining about it in my mind, wondering if the school year is going to be just as overwhelming as the last three years, and I just can’t do that anymore.

I need to take control of my life and make it a life I want for myself, not just something I complain about.

Last week was a 19-point week. Not bad…. Considering:

  • Possible points = 35
  • Goal = 25
  • Best yet = 11

So last week was a record! 😀 As I go into this week, I have a new rule – no less than 2 points per day. I’m going to have to increase my expectations if I ever want to explore new points!

Today is a 4-point day. Also, I’ve made slow but steady progress that I feel good about on the bookshelf. I threw out so much stuff, have give-away items in my car, and learned that my next step is to do the same with the bookshelf in the living room.

Until next time. 😉

 

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I’m a Virgo at Heart

…I just have weird priorities.

What I mean is, I want things to be organized and logical, I want to be in control, and I love planners, school supplies, lists, scheduals and spreadsheets.

But! The second life gets just a little too stressful – which is a lot of the time – all of those things just go shit. 😀 Which is why, as you can see from this page, organization is one of my main goals right now.

Disorganization really gets me down. For one thing, I don’t function well in that kind of state. I’m not a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of gal. It takes me to overwhelmed land really quickly. Then, I feel bad about myself for getting myself into the chaotic mess, and that’s when the negative self-talk comes in.

So basically, disorganization, for me, is a one-way street to depression and anxiety.

Thanks to one of my favorite bloggers, I got the idea to read Organizing for Dummies. I’m impatient, so I ordered the mini version for Kindle from amazon (only $0.99! Sorry, not an official commercial, but whoa!) and it only took a couple of hours to get through/take notes.

There are WAY too many things that I want to organize. But here are the highlights of what I took away from the book, that I’m going to put into action today.

  • Mission Statement: My mission is to get organized so that I can reduce my stress level and become more efficient with my time both at home, with chores and projects, and at work.
  • Where to start? I picked the “hot spot” option, which is the most annoying area. For me that’s the bookshelf in my bedroom. It is SO gross and over populated with crap I never use. Which leads me to…
  • Setting a time-frame = start today, finish one week from today
  • The three D’s: have three bags/boxes with me when I sit down to organize the bookshelf. Distribute (for things that you are keeping but are out of place), Donate, and Dump
  • What to W-A-S-T-E:
    • Worthwhile?
    • Again? (Will I use it again)
    • Somewhere else? (If I need to use it again, can I get it somewhere else?)
    • Toss? (Is it a big deal to toss it?)
    • Entire thing? (Do I need all of it, or can I just keep some of it?
  • Where to P-L-A-C-E it:
  • Purge
  • Like items with like items
  • Access items logically and easily
  • Contain items properly (boxes? Stacks? drawers?)
  • Evaluate when you’re finishing up to see what could be better.

I learned many other things that will help me with maximizing my time at work, keeping lists, keeping my desk clean, etc. This is just the information for today’s project. Here’s a before picture of the terrible state of the bookshelf! Can’t wait to show you the rest of the process, and the completed project.

 

This Guy

… is doing better.

It might be temporary, or it might give him a few more years,

but I feel so light.

I know now more than ever that I have to appreciate every day with him, because he’s older than I let myself realize, and he has a condition that can be treated, but isn’t going away.

This whole experience has been a great lesson in acting like a “grown-up” even though I don’t feel like one.  The internist who was treating Bartley really wanted him to see a neurologist because his neurological issues were advancing. (Remember, Bartley is a distemper surviver, and he’s one of very few dogs who was treated for distemper the last time it was advancing. The treatment was hugely successful.)

I was forced to decide which was more important: finding out exactly what was wrong by taking Bartley to more doctors after 11 visits, and three hospitalizations – one of which was overnight – or ask the vet to treat him as though we were sure it was encephalitis, since he was showing many of the signs, and given his distemper background, it was likely. I chose the second one. The vet was hesitant because the only way to treat encephalitis is steroids, but since I’m not interested in putting him through more stressful vet visits, and testing or procedures, she agreed it was a good next step.

And he’s feeling better. Like I said, it might be temporary, but hopefully it will be more long-term. He feels better, and I feel so light.

(Also, it’s only 12:18 PM, and it’s already a 3-point day 🙂 )

My Vacation While on Vacation

Balaton

Balaton

Over the weekend, we took a trip to the “Hungarian Sea,” Balaton. This vacation proved to be very challenging in the point-earning department. (See this post for the list.) On Friday and Saturday, I earned 1 point each day for organization. On Sunday, I earned 2 points – one for exercise, and one for organization. It’s Monday (actually, Tuesday, but since I haven’t slept yet, we’ll call it Monday) and so far, I haven’t earned any points. 😦 But, I’m blogging, so that’s 1, and I could easily and quickly take care of organizing and meditation.

So, let’s make this a 3 point day! If I can do that, I will be 15 points away from my 25 points per/week goal, which is great, because I have exactly 3 days left in the Friday-Thursday week! Call it cheating if you want, but I’m not counting the first day since I was obviously the most excited about this plan on the first day, and I think, long-term, Friday to Thursday will work best for me.


Anyway, back to exciting things, like vacations abroad. 🙂 Isn’t Balaton beautiful? I think it’s the most beautiful lake I’ve ever been too. We had a really nice, relaxing time with one of my husband’s best friends and his wife. However, it was by far the most expensive weekend I’ve ever had in Hungary, so I think next time we’ll plan more carefully.

Now that I’m more than halfway through this trip, I’m beginning to see it differently. I’m not quite Home, as I mentioned in this post. Yes, this is the place where I have felt the most at home, but this trip is different.

First of all, it’s a trip – I’m not living here semi-permanently. Second of all, for the entirety of the trip, we are visiting my husband’s parents, siblings, cousins, and friends. All but one of my friends has moved back home, and he lives in Budapest, so it’s not like we meet up anytime for coffee, drinks or a walk. So, how can I sum this up? I’m close enough to touch this place, my home, breathe it in, see it all, but I’m experiencing it from a completely different angle. And from this angle, I am very foreign.

That may sound obvious to you, but let me explain. There’s foreign on a technical level, and then there’s foreign in an energetically out-of-place kind of way. Even though I’m home, from this angle, I’m foreign in an out-of-place kind of way. These are my husband’s friends and family members. They have thousands of experiences with him that don’t include me, and (slaps self gently on the forehead) I don’t speak their language. Most of them speak some or even a lot of English, but it’s exhausting for them. And come on, they only get to see András twice a year so they’re unbelievably excited – they just want to communicate with him as much as possible. I feel like I’m in the way. I even feel distant from my András these days.

My goal for the rest of this trip is to acknowledge that I feel that way, but not let it keep me from loving and living this experience to the fullest extent possible. I hope these feelings will encourage me to go off on my own more, so I can feel more at home and less like a foreigner, messing with the flow of this.  As for the closeness with András, I can just trust that when we settle back into our routine at home, we’ll fall right back in place.

I think I am closest now than I’ve ever been to understanding how he feels a lot of the time back in the states with me.

What a sacrifice he made moving there with me.


And now back to the more mundane things. I just earned a point from organizing my things and packing for tomorrow. We’re going back to Budapest to visit some of András’ cousins.

I’m going to upload some pictures to Facebook, and then meditate before bed. So yes, today is a 3-point day.

Jó éjszakát!

 

Plans

I love planning things. I love goals. I love calendars, and schedules, and thinking through  all of the steps I would need to complete in order to achieve my ideal lifestyle.

What usually happens is that I see the big picture that I want to achieve, and then try to do it all at once. Of course, it becomes too much, even when I have an entire summer break, and I get discouraged and slowly but surely fall back  into my old routines, forgetting my amazing plans.

Obviously, this isn’t a very good technique then, is it? 🙂 It’s so interesting, because I used to be incredibly disciplined – when I was a teenager actually. Isn’t that so backwards? At one time I was a vegetarian who exercised diligently 3-4x a week (cardio and yoga separately) weighed about 130 pounds, didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, meditated *daily*, got enough sleep, and didn’t even have facebook. This was between the ages of 16 and 22. Crazy, right? I’m not saying I want a more restrictive lifestyle, I’m just saying I used to have the willpower to say “no” or “sure, I want to do that now, but it’s not worth it because ______ is my belief, or goal.” I used to believe that it was worth it to stick to these activities because, overall it would improve my quality of life, and unlike now, I actually lived that way.

So what happened? Indulgence, I guess.  I started with – well, wouldn’t it feel good to just relax instead? And in many ways I think I needed to let up a little. My social life was seriously lacking. It’s just unsettling how much a little bit of extra relaxation has turned to complete lack of motivation. The fact that I work 50-60 hours a week during the school year doesn’t help much either, but that’s not an excuse for living a lifestyle I’m not proud of, that doesn’t energize me.

I’m going to do something my therapist affectionately calls, a “throw-up” list. 🙂 You’re about to see all of my lifestyle change goals, in no particular order. Feel free to skip this  – it’s likely to be pretty boring.

Lose 15 pounds, exercise 3-4 times a week, daily activity that is the “foundation” for my daily experience – be it yoga, meditation, or walking to work – learn Hungarian at an advanced conversational level – this isn’t totally random, my husband is Hungarian and as you know, I feel at home in Hungary – 7 hours of sleep, stick to my monthly budget, spend more active time with my dog, walk or bike to work – never drive, drink wine or liquor – avoid beer, be myself 100% of the time, – avoid obsessively reading other people’s body language and modifying my behavior accordingly – journal, learn new things, plan meals – make grocery lists and vague weekly menus, take care of my appearance – clothes, make-up, hygiene (not obsessively), routinely clean my house, classroom and car so that the mess doesn’t become overwhelming, travel often and sometimes completely on my own, choose the right way, not the shortcut, help others whenever I can, write, build-up my “chosen family” support system and depend on my family less, and I think I could keep going, but I won’t. 🙂

Between school ending and leaving for this vacation, I focused on working out about 20 minutes  a day, eating better using MyFitnessPal as a guide, and following a simple cleaning routine. Even though I’m now on vacation, I want to keep moving forward, but I will have a different focus. (It would be wasteful to pass up tasty desserts and food that are unique to Hungary!)

So, for this week, I will focus on these 5 points. Let me know if you think I’m still overdoing it. Moderation is something I struggle with!

1. 20 minutes of cardio.

2. Brief yoga or meditation

3.  Almost daily journaling or blogging

4. A few minutes of organizing

5. Careful with what I eat (i.e. snacking less, drinking wine or liquor rather than beer)

I love this one:

 image

Not Invited

As soon as I had the thought, “Wow, I’m feeling really good,” anxiety waltzed back in, uninvited.

All anxiety is linked with some kind of physical sensation(s). I think most people experience it in one way everytime, such as increased heart rate, shortness of breath, etc. Mine changes all the time. Actually, the physical sensations I have may in fact be completely unrelated, but due to hypocondriatic (is this a word?) tendencies and stress, my anxiety adds much more meaning to them. It’s so annoying, and right now I’m on a trip to my favorite place, so it is definitely unwelcome.

But it’s always unwelcome. Anxiety and panic are never invited. Unfortunately, the more I try to push it away, the more stubborn it is about staying. I think it’s time to start doing my scheduled panic time again. 10 minutes a day where I let go, and actually allow all of my panic to happen – one stressful thought after another – and allow the physical changes to happen. In this case, I actually do invite it in on my own terms, as much as I hate it.

In my experience it has worked really well. Seeing as how my throat feels tight, my limbs are a bit tingly, and I feel somewhat weak, I suppose I should open up, and invite it in.

And then let it float on by.

Relief

I had no idea that the talk with my dear friend would lead to such relief. Panic has not come back to me in a big way since the afternoon before I talked to him. It is so nice to feel a little bit more like myself  again, to be assured that although this will come back in waves, it’s not a permanent state of  being.

My husband is out of town this weekend, so I plan to enjoy having our new place to myself, wake up early, spend time outside, do a little work (the fun stuff!) but definitely not too much, catch up with a couple friends, and of course spend time with the pup.

In talking with my friend, we’ll call him Sam, and my husband, I came to realize that as easy as it is to blame this episode on work, or problems with my marriage, or the trauma that led us to moving so suddenly, the source of my anxiety is simply: not feeding my soul for too damn long. It’s me just getting by, surviving life one day at a time. Of course these other factors intensified things, but with the way I’ve been living, it was just a matter of time.

This is something I’ve known for years actually, but I just maxed out, and my body did/is doing what it had to to get my attention.

Because I love myself, I’m really sorry it had to get this bad in order for me to wake up and recognize I really need to change.

I’m thankful this relief has made some space for change. It’s yogatime. 🙂