Transitions + Constants

>> Thursday, December 13, 2012

I told you I was going to start writing more about what's going on with me in the present. I'll get back to recipes and workouts soon. But here's some of what I promised. A look inside my head.

Whenever I take a look around and feel like my world is falling apart, there's usually some transition to blame. It happened when I left home to go to college. That August, I refused to return my parents' messages on my dorm room answering machine.

I was transitioning into a more independent young adult, and I was a bratty, emotional wreck.

Years later, I broke up with my first long-time boyfriend. Or, rather, he broke up with me in what I now refer to as the infamous "Summer of Darkness". Honestly, the trauma of it all caused a type of selective memory. That's right: I can't even remember much of that summer. Read: Things I fell apart. I got depressed and would fall asleep around 7 PM each day. I'd cry and think exceedingly negative thoughts. How could life go on?

A while later, I graduated from college and was immediately thrust into the working world.

That transition was particularly tumultuous because getting a job was is HARD. And that was before the real problems with the economy. I applied to over 70 positions -- desk, retail, dining, etc. alike -- and tried desperately to stay in the college town I loved while using my degree in Writing. Didn't work out, so I moved back to my hometown and was subsequently sucked into an temporary void.

After 8 months of long-distance dating (yup -- another transitional time), Stephen and I moved in together a year before getting married when I finally landed a job in Ithaca. I'd always imagined living with the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with would be bliss. Instead, we learned a lot more about one another in that year . . . and there were many, many ups and downs, spats and tears.

I could list more (life is nothing but a state of constant change, right?), but I'll skip ahead: Having a baby, now toddler, and leaving a full-time desk job to stay home.

This time around, I am not sad or angry. These situations are things I chose for myself, for my family. And there has been much more joy and good. Still, I am finding my way, my role, my place in all of it. It's entailed struggle. The stuff you've been reading about for the past year.

Add to that helping Ada through her multiple transitions as well. It gets difficult. Every day something is new or different. Challenging.

I suppose I imagined that getting older would magically make these transitions easier. That the experience I've gained with the many changes in my life would help me land gently into the new instead of crashing down into the thick of it. I learned over the past year that -- though I am certainly wiser -- transitions and their enormity change over time. Yes, I may know better ways to deal with and understand them, but the nature of the beast is the same.

Which gets me to something positive and productive: Constants. There were times throughout all of these events and situations when I had people or places or things pull me up, help me out, and put things into perspective.

What do I mean? Basic stuff. Things like diet and exercise and writing are constants for me.

Constants are the types of things I have relative control over, things that have the ability to lift my spirits and heal me whether physically or emotionally. Of course, this control can be taken too far, but for the purpose of this conversation, I mean things we choose to have in our lives for good, that are always there, and that we feel our happiest and healthiest by doing habitually.

For me, eating well and moving my body has helped me in many ways process my new roles. Writing has helped me express my feelings related to it all. It isn't always easy, but I have promised myself that continuing to keep these things in my life, I can find solace in the occasional frequent insanity.

When I have a bad day, I can definitely get overwhelmed and negative . . . hell, I have entire weeks like that, even. But if I can continue to hold onto the good in my life, the things that make me feel my best and bring out the best in me, I can usually see things differently. I can continue healthy habits, and I can even hold onto ME in the process.

Yeah. The people I meet, the situations in my life, and the other external influences are all things I cannot control. And yet that brings to mind another big constant: ME. Who I am. Though I'm always changing (I mean LOOK at me a few years ago!), I am always here for me. I just need to take the time to recognize it.

Looking back on all of these crazy times in my life, I can't help but see the good in all of it. Really, seeing the good is something I'm trying to do more and more each day -- a lesson I've learned through much practice, I'll tell you. The power of positivity should never be diminished.

There was a lot of heartache and difficulty, but I am a much stronger person. I can see a wider range of what people around me go through, what they feel. I know that the same will hold true for my most recent transitions and those many more that will inevitably come in time.

Oh, and that breakup with my crappy boyfriend was seriously one of the best things that ever happened to me.

What are some constants in your life? Those things that have helped you through transitions? (I can get carried away in my longer writing. I may not be using terminology perfectly in this instance, but "constant" is what seems to best express what I mean in this moment.)

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