well, it’s official

yes, it’s official. i not only need glasses to read my book in bed, but as of this past weekend i also need them to read menus, to fill out hotel registration forms, and nearly to tie my shoes. I’m nearly 46.

this doesn’t bother me much — except that it’s irritating to carry my glasses around all the time — it doesn’t bother me, because aging doesn’t really bother me much. i’m in good health, i look younger than my age, i don’t have to color my hair (no kids! no gray hair!).

I’ve heard 45 called “middle-aged.”

Me, I see life like this: from ages 0 to 20 years old, you’re growing as a body and as a personality, and you’re under the influence of parents and peers.  Stating at age 20, your life really begins.  If you live to 80, that means that you’ve got 60 really productive, adult, fulfilled years in your life.  OK, from age 20 to 40 you’re still figuring out a lot about who you are, and hopefully you stop doing a lot of bad shit, and you get yourself together, and you figure stuff out. More or less. That means from 40ish to age 80 is a huge bonus time, where you know what you want, and you set about having it …

So, at age 45, my life is really about 1/3 finished.  Disregard 0 to 20.  I didn’t really have any choices then.  My life started at 20.  I’ve lived from 20-40; I still have two more thirds to complete:  40-60, and 60-80.  And really, i may well live beyond 80… or i might get squished by a big bug, but i’m not counting on that.  i’m a non-smoking, non-drinking girl in a happy marriage, who runs.

i’m a girl who blogs OUT the bad shit before it takes root in her head.

i’m a girl who does NOT have to learn everything myself, the hard way. I take direction, I learn from mentors … so i can get where i need to go more efficiently. Stop wasting time. Start having fun.

and this is my plan.  even if i need bifocals to help me find my way!

i’m quiet, but not drinking

I’m quiet, but not drinking.  Just swamped with passion job #3 thingy. Tomorrow is another long day.  The contract that i started last week DID get me to do more work for them this week, and have already asked for something for next week.  So they’re not going away. (PS/ their request for next week is based on a sample that i took into my original meeting with them, that was not part of the work that they asked for.  but once they saw the sample, they’ve changed their business direction slightly to include that aspect of my work. Note to self – think outside the box, give them more than what they ask for. I’ve also been giving them other random samples each week with their new (requested) work, just so that they can see the range of my abilities.  fun fun stuff!)

and in the middle of all of this, yes, I ran today … even though i got up at 7:30 am and have been going non-stop ever since (now it’s 9:39 pm)!  AND i will run tomorrow.  I realize now that not only do i feel much better when i run (duh!), even for 18-20 minutes, but it also gives me the opportunity to fall in love with my town again, each and every morning. Today, outside the fish shop with the big front step, as i ran past at 8:30 am, the smelly fish guy in his rubber apron and knee-high boots was helping granny down the big step: granny, her cane, her wheelie cart.  There was a big line-up waiting to be served, and the fish guy is there helping granny get out onto the sidewalk safely.

Expect more silence from me.  On friday we head out of town for a 4 day weekend. it’s supposed to pour rain. we’re going to some armpit community not far from here, just to be away. i suspect there will be reading and bad TV… there will be vacation sex. there will be bad random food in weird touristy restaurants. there will be a church or two for photographs. my husband will collect rocks and chestnuts.

a good day

Here’s how I know today is a good day:

  • enough sleep (woke before the alarm)
  • weather is sunny and warm
  • i literally forced myself to go for a run, like bending your fingernails backwards FORCED — and thankfully felt great afterwards
  • had a shower in the dark (i really love this!)
  • one perfect steaming cup of coffee. OK, let’s get this recorded. I am addicted to caffeine.  That day without tea/coffee was shitty-ola.  This day, by comparison, with coffee: it’s like the light is a bit brighter, the air a bit sweeter, the room a bit cozier. It’s like the imaginary hit from booze that never really happens. Yes, that buzz really is in coffee! One cup of coffee per day. Makes all the difference.
  • the discovery that it’s probably tonic water irritating my heart thing, since the timing is nearly perfect with increased tonic water consumption and rise in symptoms. and it’s much easier to give up tonic water than coffee/tea! Amen!
  • four new requests from clients for my passion job #3 thingy, and then we’re away for another long weekend.
  • i love vacations. I need more of them. I say this all the time. One long weekend a month! October’s is coming in 4 days!

And i went to the get supplies this morning, and went to a store far away that i’ve been putting off for (i don’t know) 5 weeks.  then, just like that, it’s done and i can cross it off my list.  All is well in this part of my world.

And I do adore the fact that — after my near-miss drinking feelings on Saturday — once i got through it and went to bed, it’s like it never happened and the days after are ‘normal’.   Once i’ve kicked the wolf in the face, and once i go to bed, the next day it’s like it never happened and i’m back in my sober car again just tooling along, busy, happy, productive. And now that i have my tea back, all is well.  What a stupid idea giving up caffeine.  What was i thinking…

i’m going to bed

it’s 8:40 pm and i’m heading to bed. it’s the only way i can be sure that i won’t consume wine, so bed it is. i’ve asked my husband 3 or 4 times if we can have wine, and he’s made a joke each time. he made me tea, then tonic and cranberry juice. he made supper. he wrapped me in a blanket. he says shitty-chipper things like “i like it that we’re not drinking now.” Then i’m just silently mad at him that i can’t have wine, cuz now it’s his fault. by asking him for permission, and him saying no, i’ve made it so i can be irritated with him. instead of just announcing that i’m having wine, which he probably wouldn’t counter. what a co-dependent GIRL i am. i’m sure boys don’t do shit like this.

well, this girl is dragging her sorry ass to bed. i had a perfectly lovely busy day, yes i’m tired but not overly so. yes i was hungry but then i ate. it was a nice sunny day.  light reflecting off rooftops. and everywhere i looked, every single fucking person on the planet had a drink in their hand (this was at about 5 pm). there was booze in the grocery store, in the store windows, it was just fucking everywhere.  everyone else is having wine and having a nice lovely time. and i’m not.

and now that i’m 91 days i deserve a prize! A big Wine Prize! (I did order a 90-day present, it’s an electric griddle/frying pan thing.  hardly exciting (to you maybe) but i can’t wait for it to come so i can make homemade English Muffins cuz the ones in foreign-land SUCK rocks…

Did i say bed? i’m going to bed. tomorrow will be fine. thank god i can always go to bed.

to get away from myself.

90 days sober and an eargasm

90 days today. i’ve been planning a reward but haven’t come up with anything suitable yet.

I have a long — “time to make the donuts” — kind of day ahead of me today.

As I celebrate 90 days, i’ll share a few random things:

  • my favorite meal to have at home is roast chicken with carrots, dressing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce (homemade if possible, depends where you live, can’t get fresh cranberries here). my favorite meal to have out is breakfast. yes, it’s eggs and toast, but in a restaurant it tastes so much better.
  • my favorite dessert is Pie. I know i write a lot about cake, but a really good apple pie can change my day. or homemade cherry pie (none of that canned stuff). or lemon meringue. or coconut cream.
  • ok, something not food related: i had younger sisters growing up, but LOVED playing with my teddy bear. i used to think if i was quiet enough, that i could hear it speaking to me. one year i made my teddy bear a christmas tree out of the branches cut off the bottom of our big tree. i still have that bear, worn and bald, stored in my in-laws’ basement.
  • i can sign in tune and have perfect pitch. i can sing an A, for some reason that sound just lives in my head and i can pull it out at will. i used to tune the instruments in my junior high school band. if i’m watching a street performer and his guitar is wildly out of tune, i scrunch up my face a little.
  • that said, music is the one thing that can consistently and repeatedly give me goosebumps.  listen to this if you dare: http://gawker.com/eargasm/

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZ5ZclZTeTU]

  • when i go swimming, i feel like i’m on vacation. even if it’s snowing outside and i had to take the bus to get to the pool. something about swimming is magically relaxing to me. it takes me somewhere else. sort of like a long run, but with less angst …
  • i wrote this in my journal once: If i could paint like Mark Lague, my life would be complete:

Now I live in Europe, i’m super happily married, i have a couple of great jobs,  and I’m a wine-free zone. I don’t need much else : ) Think i’ll celebrate 90 days with a nice thick English-language newspaper imported from somewhere (Guardian UK? NYT?), and then on Sunday, when i’m finally done my work week, i’m going to spend an entire afternoon just reading it …

Hugs, me

i don’t believe in colds

this is as brave as i am.

while i haven’t changed the theme for this blog, I am brave enough to change the fonts.  I really hate small fonts (i’m old! i can’t see!) and much prefer serif fonts. OK, i’m not as brave as BBB but advancing, slowly.  i’m not as patient as RoS (Christy), but i’m learning by example.

As i sit here in my desk chair, cup of coffee consumed, cereal eaten (not the best of breakfasts, but i did have a half an apple alongside) … I am facing a long work day. All three of my jobs are going to require something from me today. i didn’t sleep quite enough (husband awake with a cold, he can sleep again quickly whereas i cannot).

I don’t believe in colds, so i won’t be participating in his event.

my big new contract for my passion/job #3 thingy, i delivered the first part of the work yesterday and went by the space in the afternoon. Upon arriving, i found out that they DID hire someone else in addition to me, so there we both were, side by side, looking at each other … and i’m thinking: “oh, this isn’t an exclusive gig for ME?”

At first i was disappointed, then relieved. This means I won’t have to do all the work myself. this job will not overtake my life. i can share the load with someone else.

And when i came home there were two more requests for work from other smaller clients.  As predicted, once I announced to the rest of my clients that i’d scored this big new gig, they’re all excited now to work with me even more. So even if the big gig eventually phases me out, the side-effects are already being felt among my existing clients.

well, what am i trying to say here? (as Paul would say, i’m “rabbiting” on …)

i’m trying to say that my perceived value has increased simply by announcing the big new job … and i can continue to reap these benefits EVEN if they don’t keep me, even if they eventually phase me out, even if i share the work with someone else, even if i eventually back away from the workload … my other clients are like “oh, do you have room for me this week? can i see you? yes of course 7 pm on Friday is convenient for me”).

So, you see, it’s all good.  Even if they eventually don’t need me anymore.  It’s all good.  This is my (frustrating to some) attitude of the glass is half-full in grand display.

and today, even though i’m a bit tired, and maybe a bit sniffly, and today even though the weather has dramatically changed this week, and it’s dark and stormy… today i will work away on cleaning and puttering and preparing for my appointments.  i will listen to fascinating podcasts, and i will be patient, and in-advance. i will answer outstanding emails and clear off my voice mail.  Today i will run and shower and dry my hair (!).  Today, on not quite enough sleep, i will work hard to have a very good day. Starting with another cup of coffee in my favorite mug.  It’s all good.

who do i have to become?

i am well.  day 86.  i do feel like i have a reward coming on day 90 but haven’t figure out what it should be yet. maybe a big feed of sushi. i was previously thinking expensive jewellery.  but now that i’m here at day 90, i want my BIG reward to come later… it’s getting easier to move the big reward forward in time. when i’m sober 120 days, 6 months, 12 months …

yesterday afternoon, after another 3-day passion/job thingy, i was sooo tired. and there was an open bottle of champagne in the house from guests. it was 5 pm and i was nearly collapsed with fatigue.  i asked husband if he was going to finish the champagne, and he said no. i said well this would be a good time for me to have some. a normal time. this would be the exact time where champagne would be a normal thing to do. he asked if i wanted tea. he poured the champagne down the drain in the kitchen, with me at his side, and i was saying “maybe you’ll finish it?” he kept pouring.  i love my husband. he is adorable.  he emptied out the champagne and then made me tea.

so yes, had a very busy weekend but with my new rules, i’m doing OK. i was even in bed last night BEFORE 9 pm and then slept 10.5 hours… this week i’m going to get to bed as early as possible every single night, just to ensure a good, smooth, even, enjoyable week.  This is the week that i begin the new contract for my passion/job thingy. well i haven’t heard from them since we ‘agreed’ to the terms by email, so i assume it’s all going ahead starting on wednesday. i have planned a very slack week for the rest of my life, to ensure adequate time, energy and room for this. also, husband is out 3 evenings this week so i’ll have lots of alone time suitable for bubble baths and early-to-bed reading.  i can seriously vegetate.

Who do I have to *become* in order to achieve my life goals?

I need to be someone who gets enough sleep 6 out of 7 nights, who is ‘in-advance’, who is patient, who does today what needs to be done and doesn’t wait for tomorrow. I need to be someone who rewards myself small and big, someone who pats myself on the back for a job well done. And someone who takes enough time off and has enough mid-week mini vacations to make it all worthwhile.

ladies and gentlemen, I have shit I want to DO with this very cool life of mine, and so i need to become the right kind of person. i need to evolve. and for me, the first step in evolution is enough sleep.

I must remove exhaustion from the table. At all costs.

I’m feeling about 75% well today, so better than yesterday.  Sickness, exhaustion, and overwhelm = not my finest moments. not the best combination. Mix that with the witching hour (7 pm to 9 pm).  Last night was hard but not impossible. I’m glad I posted.  Glad I put it out there that i was struggling.  As soon as I press “publish” i know that i won’t drink.  I expose the wolf for all the world to see, and then he shuts up. Thankfully.

But i have to accept, also, that this new hobby/passion is kicking my ass.  and I am going to have to make some new rules starting right now.  These things are more important to me than my passions, my work, or money:

  1. No matter how busy I get, I have to get enough sleep.  For me that is a minimum of 8 hours, and best is 9.5 hours. That’s every night. If i am too busy to get enough sleep, then i’m too busy.
  2. No matter how busy i get, I have to be able to run. This is 4-5 times a week. I can only run if i’ve had enough sleep, and if there’s enough time between job 1, job 2 and passion job.
  3. This means that I’m probably going to have to scale back … I know the new passion job is taking wings, and getting ready to explode with popularity (someone featured my new gig on their blog yesterday, god help me).  The big new contract that I spoke about before starts next week (yes, in addition to all this, it’s going to get busier)… While I love this new adventure, I’m not ready for it to take over my life.

If i’m being overworked by my passion, then I need to take a step back.  if it’s not fun, and it starts to feel like work, then I’ve got to be careful. I don’t want to get burnt out on the one thing I really love doing.

I’m nearly 46 years old.  Today is the day that I learn, once and for all, that I need enough sleep. It’s virtually impossible for me to stay sane, productive, running, and sober if i’m exhausted.  I must remove exhaustion from the table.  At all costs.  Even if that means giving things up.  Sleep and running are number one, because they LEAD to the other goals being possible.

If AA rules are don’t get too hungry, angry, lonely, tired…then mine are (expressed in the positive, cuz that’s the kind of chick i am):

YOU MUST GET ENOUGH …

  • Sleep
  • Exercise
  • Healthy Food
  • Down-time
  • Rewards (like cake, tea, nail polish, fresh pineapple)

(i’m never lonely, and i’m usually only angry when exhausted, so i can remove those from my personal list)

I refuse to need to relearn these lessons any more.  I’m old enough, i’ve lived long enough, and I know this already.  I know that i need enough sleep.  Stop fucking talking about it, and just do it. From now on.

 

I am mad at James Hollis. I’m not going to finish his book.

Day 80.  Which is pretty cool.  no, i’m not specifically ‘counting days’.  i have my date in an excel file and can calculate from there. sometimes i like to know what day i’m on so that i can plan a reward.  like at day 90 i want a present. but other than that, i don’t check anymore.  i think i stopped checking just after day 30 (when my mental math thus required Excel’s help!).

but here’s what i want to say today, and i’ve been avoiding writing this post.

I’m mad at James Hollis’s book “Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life.”  and i’m not being facetious, i’m serious. Yes, the book is a bit pompous, and yes the language is a bit circuitous and so i often have to read entire phrases multiple times before i can figure out what the fuck he’s talking about.  In fact, it’s my least-favorite kind of self-help book.  the kind that has a lot of theory, and no where near enough ‘how-to-implement-in-your-life’. there are great ideas, but they sort of go in one ear and out the other.

until i get to the chapter where he talks about magic realism. and here’s where i got mad. and i’ve stopped reading.

i’m going to paraphrase, and badly, but basically he says that everyone gets to a place where they realize that life is full of bad things, that nice vegans get cancer, and that the world is full of randomly shitty things.  and you really only grow up once you accept the world as a chaotic and random disaster, that is full of great and bad at the same time.  You’ll have to confront your ‘magical thinking’ that if you do right, think right, eat right that you’ll be spared the worst of the shit.

well then, mr. hollis, if that’s your definition of the world (and of how to grow up), then i’m not the slightest bit interested in participating.  count me out.

because, you see, i DO engage in magical thinking. I do believe that things happen for a reason. i do believe that if i can visualize it, then i can make it happen.  i do believe that (for now) i’m continuously constructing a life where more bad things will not keep happening to me.

in reading this book, i realize that i’ve been living with my current attitudes since my early 20s.  Right after i escape my disastrous childhood, i thought:  whatever happens to me now, compared to that, will be like heaven. it’ll be joyous.

for example, i was single for a long long time in my adult life, and/or could only manage to date/attract idiots.  and yet i always held out the hope that if i got married, it would be worth the wait, and that i deserved to be happy, and that i’d have the kind of marriage that other people envied. because that was the deal. i’d earned that.

i’d already had enough grief and pain in my life, in the early part of my life, so the later parts are going to make up for that.

i’m one of these magically thinking weirdos, who does believe that thoughts and feelings can – to a very very large extent – determine what happens in my life.  that i’m the one driving the car.  that I get to decide how happy I am. That i get to decide what adventures I have.  that there are speed bumps to be navigated, but they’re trivial and learning experiences, and nothing is random anyway.

here’s a snapshot of me that i don’t show the outside world: 

I grew up poor: no-telephone, no-car poor.  this poverty did not lead me to believe that wealth was “for other people and wouldn’t happen for me”; instead i realized that if i wanted wealth in my life i’d have to go out and make some myself.

I grew up in a dark, wet apartment.. i witnessed some jesus-bad violence. and i’ve known real, terrifying fear.

so yes, once i got out of there, since my early 20s, i’ve felt like something good was going to happen for me.  to compensate, perhaps. or that the shitty earlier life was going to drive me to create other goodness (in my life and in the lives of others). I own a company or two (one of which is ‘helping’ others), i have the ability to create work when i want to so i can control my own income. i have an amazing husband (got married at age 39).

I don’t have kids, but i also feel that this was part of the trade-off that i made with the universe back when i was 12.  the trade-off that said, i’ll have all the shitty scary stuff early in life, and the rest of my life would be at my direction, my creating, and therefore by contrast would have to be better, amazing, rich, abundant.

I don’t resent that i don’t have kids, i’m quite at peace with it.  to have been pregnant at age 12 would have been a disaster.  the universe spared me from that.  in return, i’m not pregnant for the rest of my life. and I say “that’s a great trade, universe, thanks soooo much, it’s the best possible outcome.” seriously.

Hollis says that we falsely believe that if we follow certain rules, we’ll be spared the worst of what life has to offer: “Yet sooner or later life brings each of us not only disappointment, but something worse, a deep disillusionment regarding the ‘contract’ that we tacitly presumed and served to the best of our ability … the friendship we counted on, the protection we assumed would be there perpetually, the comfort that someone would pick us up and make it all right when we fell …” (p. 84).

fuck that, i say.

yes, OK, perhaps i’m living in an imaginary fantasy land. i’m happily married, healthy, middle-class. i live in europe. i speak a couple of languages. i’m childless but i consider that to be a lucky turn of fate, not a curse. i’m happy beyond … i’m lucky beyond … and i’m even sober.  i’ve done all of this myself, made me into the person i am.  and yes, now i do fucking expect great things to continue for me… If I continue to work for them, if I continue to dream things up, if I continue to allow them.

I’m clearly more of a Law of Attraction girl than a Jungian one.

in conclusion. i’m mad that someone writes that there are always more bad things coming.  i disagree that this is necessarily true.  and if the only way to grow up is to accept that there’s no contract with the universe, then i respectfully disagree.

i feel like i’ve made my deal with the universe a long time ago.  and so far we’re both living up to our sides of the agreement.

Here’s what i really believe, from a different James:  “The outer conditions of a person’s life will always reflect their inner beliefs.” ~ James Allen

PS/ i’m really not going to finish reading this book, and will happily mail it to anyone who wants to read it next.

car accident subject line increases readership

duly noted:  my ‘happy’ posts get fewer pageviews than my ranting, on-the-edge-of-the-cliff posts.

Good to know.

So this post will get 3 views then!  it’s positively brimming with ease and flow.  If you’re looking for a car accident, best to leave now. Unless i put something good in the subject line …  Done!

today is day 75 (go, me!).  old drinking buddy from North America is in town for one night (tonight), on his way through to go somewhere else interesting.

i literally sit my husband down and prep him in advance of dinner.  “i don’t want him to make fun of me or give me a hard time for not drinking.” i tell husband, “watch out for me, and if necessary you may have to say something nice to deflect his jabbing/jeering. He’s a hard-core drinker this one.  start at noon, pace yourself, drink all day. He is going to give me a hard time.  I don’t to feel any pressure. Interest is fine, but no pressure.”

we go for dinner (me, husband, buddy).  i order tonic water.  You’re not drinking?

nope.

not at all?

I say: I stopped for awhile and realized that i felt better, and didn’t wake up at 3 am anymore.  so i’ve decided to stop for good.

He says: yeah, we’re getting old.  so on the train today they served us this omelet with sausage and orange juice  …

and that was that.

can i say it again?

nobody cares.  at all.  not even a little bit. no one gives a rat’s ass that i’m not drinking.  most people are so fucking self-involved that they could care less about how dynamically evolved i am becoming : ) this is said with sarcasm, of course.  i’m relieved that he didn’t take a jab at me.  i’m super pleased that i had tonic water and tea while he had (alone) a half liter of wine followed by 6 x 1 ounce shots of port.

ok. back to our regularly schedule program already in progress… where i’m doing great, thanks for asking : )