July 3, 2014

challenge = change

If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you.

Hoo-boy, when I read that this afternoon, it struck a major nerve. I feel like I've been challenged in all aspects of my daily life as of late. From raising kids and going back to work to personal relationships and mid-life crisis. I keep struggling to push myself forward while balancing on this tight rope of life.

Several times, I've come back to this place to share news, report a hilarious misstep, express joy or relay a thought. But for some reason, I keep falling short. Unable to find just the right words. Plus, with the arrival of Spring and baseball/softball season, my life jumped into warp speed. I mean like "Sir, the coordinates they have set, they are on a direct course to Sector 001." (You know what I'm saying, right Trekkies, right?!) All I was really able to focus on was providing clean uniforms and arriving at the right ball field at the right time with the right child. (Which proved difficult at times, believe me!)

Life, as we all know, ebbs and flows. Growing smallish people into bigger people, with all the crap they throw at us, isn't easy. We all know that too. Add a dusty ball field and gather a group of people together and then, call them a team has it's challenges. I will say this, three out of the four teams my family was involved with this season have been great. And, I felt much reprieve when I was able to come back to those groups and know everything was ok. Standing up for myself (and advocating for my child) with that fourth group proved to be more of a challenge I cared it to be. A challenge partly brought on by my own doing I will admit. However, the most hurtful challenge wasn't my doing at all. It changed my hope for a fun season and turned it into something I had to "get through". Lies and gossip and bullies aren't something I've had to face head-on in my personal life before. Although, through navigating it, I proved to myself that I am strong and it opened my eyes to some true colors of those around me which I'm grateful for. However, I was very sad and disappointed in my community for a while. Lost my mojo for a bit. But as I realized I could control my reaction to the situation I was handed, I was able to pull myself out of the funk. I dusted myself off, took stock of the behaviors around me, reevaluated, focused on my kid and moved on.

Growing up, when my parents turned the magical age of forty, I didn't think much about it. I never thought it was old or young. Just an age. But as I inch closer to the tipping point myself, I've thought quite a bit about what I'm doing with my life. Or rather, what am I going to do with the rest of my life. No one needs to fear I will cash out my social security account, change my name to Rainbow Rose and flea to some island, somewhere. It's just that my babies aren't in diapers needing naps anymore. All three go to school full time and for the most part are pretty self sufficient, aside from the reminders to brush teeth and wear weather appropriate clothing. And, I spend much of my time twiddling around doing this and that. Don't get me wrong, having three kids doesn't come without challenge, stress and chaos that REQUIRES my attention but as they get bigger and are needing me less, I'm left with myself more, wondering what's next.

So one rainy day in April, I decided to apply for a substitute teaching certificate. I have had teaching credentials under my belt but when my wee family was just a family of three and our bread winner was commuting three+ hours a day, I let things expire and put it all on the back burner. I'm not sure I want to be a classroom teacher again, but I wanted a way to have a flexible schedule and contribute the bank account. This seemed like the perfect solution. My summer surprise was an envelope in the mail making me officially official. I will get myself put in the system for the Fall and get my subbing on. Different challenges and more change ahead I'm sure.

Since September I have been actively practicing yoga. I found a spot that fit and it made me happy. Yoga challenges my strength mostly, but sometimes how I thought and perceived myself and life around me as well. I aspire to get "better" and continue to challenge myself in ways I never thought possible. You know all that self doubt and negative talk kept getting in the way. "I'm not strong enough", "I'll never be able to do that", "Only young people can sit like that". But the more I practiced and peeled those labels away, the more my physical and spiritual self changed and grew. It was so nice to roll my mat out and move from one sweaty asana to the next , knowing I was building strength and exfoliating the challenges of the outside world. Changing. Growing. And, I am grateful.

Summer vacation is in full swing now. Our routine has evolved from getting up early and rushing out the door to sleeping in and hanging around in our pajamas. It's a welcomed change of pace. Although summer time doesn't come without challenges. This just in. What the heck am I supposed to be doing with these three people that keep calling me Mom???

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