Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Winning at Life

I'm sure that most people are familiar with this phrase (thank you Charlie Sheen), but what does it mean exactly? For me, I have never really felt that I was winning at life or even placing, for that matter. Usually, I'm on the sidelines watching it go by.

When we are young, it seems that we have so many dreams for ourselves. The world is completely open with possibilities and we can do anything. I wanted to be an actress and wildly famous. I thought that sounded so glamorous and I loved the idea of playing the parts of different people. Why would I want to be myself when I was so boring and nothing ever happened to me? It didn't occur to me to think that the parts were only temporary and I would still have to be myself the rest of the time.

In college, I had a great time. I was free to explore who I was and what I wanted to do. I was in a sorority and had lots of friends. I also got the opportunity to spend the summer in France which was one of the best times of my life.

Then came marriage and kids and I feel like I gave up on myself. My dreams were shoved aside so that I could help nurture my husband and my beautiful girls. More than that, though, I didn't participate in my life like I should have. Too many nights on the couch watching TV instead of going out and having a family activity or a date night. Too many complaints about being broke instead of looking for solutions on how to save money in little ways or finding fun free family activities. I was so bored with my life and unhappy about the person I'd become, yet again, did nothing to make myself better. I was so jealous of single people because they weren't tied down with family and responsibility and could do anything they wanted. My eyes had not been opened to the fact that my family was not holding me back, I was. They could have been my biggest cheerleaders.

I am starting to see the pattern repeat itself in my life again. I'm becoming bored with the day to day humdrum and wishing that it could be different. What I finally realize now, however, is that it can be different. It is all up to me. I need to figure out what I want and how to get it. I need to use the love and support of my partner in life instead of pushing him away and sabotaging our relationship.

My mom was 58 years old when she passed away. For me, that is in 20 years. Will I have lived life to the fullest in that time? 20 years can seem like a long time, but it is really not. I just went to my 20 year high school reunion a couple months ago and it seems like the time has gone by in the blink of an eye. I don't want that to happen with the next 20 years.

I want to be happy with my body and not be fat when I turn 40. I want my kids to have amazing memories of times we spent together. I want to travel and see the world and tell stories to my children and grandchildren. I want to be remembered for more than my family or my job, I want to make an impact on people. Will I be able to do all this? Of course I can do it, it is a matter of me actually doing it. I need to be getting off my ass and on the treadmill; setting aside a few dollars a month to save up for that trip to Ireland or Italy or where ever it is that I want to go; but most of all, not hiding in my own little safe world. I'll still need to deal with the day to day hum drums, but I don't have to let that be my whole day. I need to stop making excuses for why I can't do something and start making plans how to do it.

Is this going to be easy for me? Hell no. I am so used to putting things off or complaining about them or silently fuming about how something made me mad. It is way too easy for me to talk myself out of doing something for one reason or another. I'm tired, I have to get up early, I don't have any money, blah, blah, blah.

I'm not sure why these feelings struck me this morning all of a sudden. Maybe it was that accomplished feeling I got for actually getting out of bed and getting on the treadmill and completing W5 D1 of C25K. That was a big deal for me considering how much I love to sleep in. Maybe it was finding out that my oldest, Hannah, has started running and getting healthy which makes me so proud. I have to celebrate the little accomplishments so that I can get to the big ones. Most of all, be present in my own life and not a spectator watching from the sidelines. Maybe I'll look into getting a new passport...