Monday, December 21, 2009

How to get a new groove

I have an amazing life - 2 healthy, adorable kids, a great husband, nice house and the financial freedom to stay at home. So why do I feel frustrated and crazy? Part of it is just the frustrations of every life, part of it is "the grass is greener" syndrome, but huge chunk of it is that I don't know who I am anymore.
I'm sure there are many women out there who achieved all they wanted to professionally before they had children and are happily balancing work, family and personal needs, but not me.

I rarely watch movies, however awhile back I saw about 30 seconds of "Marley" while I was walking through the TV section of a department store. Jennifer Aniston's character is apologizing for getting mad and says something to the extent of, "I love being a mom, I chose it and I don't want to stop, but I didn't know that I would have to give up so many of the things that defined who I was."
I so relate - when you don't work how you used to work, play how you used to play, relax how you used to relax, eat, sleep, dress - all those defining things are changed. And building a new persona - as yourself within your new titles and habits, is a struggle.

Currently, I work as a nanny and housekeeper. These are not the professional goals I aimed to achieve. I was, professionally, a late bloomer and then I got pregnant a few years, an overseas adventure and a graduate degree sooner than I'd planned. Consequently, I'm not working overseas, saving the world one pregnant refugee at a time. I'm making cheese sandwiches, smoothing out kindergartener melodramas and cleaning the bathroom.
I want so badly to regain myself - I've railed against the changes and schemed to find ways to carve out my Own Life within my life. But there's no magic fix and all the writhing has only made it more clear that things have changed and I need to change with them. As I mentioned, I have a perfect life. But it's not the life I dreamed of and I've been slow to grieve my old life and set myself free to dig into this one.

I'm not going to get my old groove back. Clearly, I need to make a new one.

As an experimental measure, I took advantage of my mother's visit earlier this month to dash to a gym and run for 20 minutes most days. I felt great - tired, sweaty and sore, but great.

Everyone has something they need to keep their sanity. My younger sister needs to create - if she isn't making something amazing, she gets wacky (and not in a fun way - no offense, Teal). Others need to socialize, write, whatever. I need to exercise. When I move on a regular basis, I can handle the bumps in the road a bit better. Obviously, I'd love to climb a mountain, get a massage, have time to journal, create art with my kids, travel, read and eat a gourmet dinner, but all that is not happening.

So I've taken it back to the essentials: what achievable thing can I do for myself that will allow me to thrive in this new groove of domesticity? Get a sitter a couple days a week and run.
Not long and not far, but movement. I'm not holding my breath that this will be the year of my 15 year goal to run a marathon, but I'm aspiring to run a little bit most days of the week.

And from that small groove, hopefully I can better appreciate my many, many blessings.

Here's hoping all of my wonderful friends and family have a good groove going - or find a new one.

Caution: This post comes across as melodramatic, but writing it felt more pensive and grounding. There is no wrinkle-free time in anyone's life and I'm simply venting about the difficulties in this particular phase of mine. So don't be alarmed by it, just feel free to rant to me whenever you want to about your life! 


  1. no apologies necessary! i am sure i'm going to have the same thoughts in a few short months and i'm looking forward to discussing with you!

  2. Looking at your blog again, all the way in March, so I don't know if you'll see this comment Jen, but this doesn't seem melodramatic to me at all: I too feel strongly the need to regain a sense of self, and exercise is part of it for me, too, both because exercise is all about me, and not anyone else, and because of its ability to calm me down and focus me somehow. There's so much to say here. --Ansley