Slowing things down.

August 22, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Posted in And I ran (I ran so far away), Career angst, Cult of Personality, motherhood, My life | 11 Comments

This weekend was my first double-digit run in preparation for my half. 10 miles.

So early Saturday morning, I laced up my shoes and started my run.

The last time I ran this route, I was training for last April’s half. And though I didn’t really pay attention at the time, I walked FAR more than I probably should have. I walked the hills. I stopped at mile 4, at the most steep hill, to have a Gu and drink some water. I walked at the end, when I was so tired that it hurt to run more than a half mile without a break.

This time?

I didn’t stop.

And as I was running, my thoughts wandered. Why have I been so unhappy lately?

Part of it is that the job environment is hard and I’m unhappy with the way things are at work.

Part of it is that I don’t have this sense that I’m doing anything which will leave a mark on the world when I’m gone.

Part of it is preparing, I think, for the idea that our family dynamic might change in the near future. And therefore planning for the potential complexity around having TWO kids that need to be fed, changed, taken to daycare, cleaned, etc. I already feel like I have no time right now. Adding another to the mix will put me into a time deficit, I worry.

Part of it is that I’m lacking direction, and movement forward, and am therefore craving change.

It’s a lot of things.

But, as I was running, tracking my miles and pace, the thought struck me.

In the past 4 months since my half, I’ve realized something about me. As a runner, I push too hard, too fast, and can’t keep up with it. I visualize crossing the finish line before I am there. I see the mile ahead and want to run TO it, with no regards for what’s realistic.

So my training focus THIS time, then, has been about running SLOWER. I’ve been running WITH people, instead of trying to best my last time, I chat and enjoy the process of running. When I’m on my own, my mantra is “nice and easy, nice and easy.”

I joke with people that it’s “running slower to go faster,” but that’s what I’ve been doing.

Why couldn’t I apply this to my life, too?

Because lately I have this sense right now of feeling like I need to MOVE. To go faster, figure out where I’m heading NOW, so that when O is in school I am able to be fully devoted to helping him academically. I want to know where I’m going to be in a year if we’re lucky enough to bring home a baby.

I am so far into the future, without really KNOWING where I’m going; I’ve forgotten how to slow down and be okay with the JOURNEY there.

I’m seeing some idealized finish line, where I am SuperMom who has a fulfilling career and has plenty of time to bake and sew and tutor her kids through elementary school. Who manages to balance everything all at once all the time. Who has perfect angel children who turn into amazingly adjusted high achievers with none of the baggage that comes with being type A.

Yeah. Not realistic.

(I don’t sew, to begin with.)

I need to chill the EFF out.

So. On Friday, I emailed a local women’s shelter who specifically called out volunteer opportunities on their board of directors. I told them that I was hoping to take on some volunteer work, that I was both a CPA and an MBA, and would love to help in whatever capacity they needed.

And J and I are considering the option of me taking a part time Controller or Accounting Director position sometime next year. Some things would need to happen in order for me to do that, but we both agree that more time at home would make us BOTH happier.

Maybe I don’t have the perfect, fulfilling career. But maybe if I scale back my hours so that I could devote some time to something that IS fulfilling, maybe that’s a good compromise.

It’s a start, anyway.

I finished my run at 1 hour and 35 minutes. That’s about nine and a half minute miles and is a FULL minute per mile faster than my half marathon time from April.

And it’s high time I start to do that with my life, too.

Thank you all for the comments and love. I so appreciate every one of you.



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  1. I’m glad that things are going to start moving in the right direction for you. It is so hard to go to work at a place that doesn’t “fill” you.

  2. This made me laugh: “(I don’t sew, to begin with.)” Haha!! Oh, geez, why do we, as women, set such unattainable standards? I just think you are amazing. And now to take on volunteer work to help those in need? Fantastic. Hugs and kudos, lady.

  3. Oh, Serenity, we are kindred spirits! I am so glad for you and hope that your new found attitude brings you some peace and allows you to enjoy the NOW!

    As you know I have been laboring over how to have another child. And, we’ve been looking to buy a house for a YEAR. There is finally a property that we think will work, so we are looking at the floor plan to see if we could make it what we need it to be.

    But here’s the other thing, I had a good chat with my husband just now, one his real feelings about how to bring baby #2 into our family. In his words he is “100% on board and behind any way that doesn’t involve me being pregnant”. So, it is done. As I am typing this comment to you, the adoption retainer is printing next to me. I’ve needed his resolve to help me with my own. Truth be told, I do not want to be pregnant again because of my IC and my age, but was waffling thinking that somehow my husband would bond better to a baby if I carried it.

    My mantra of late has been, “I only have this one life”. I have to live the hell out of it!

  4. Sounds like some solid thinking. I like where you going with this. I will also say that it is something about thinking about another child that pulls you out of the here and now and into the future. Like we need to have it all figured out before #2 arrives (or is even conceived! I did it too).
    I think that as women we try to reach for everybody else’s ‘gold standard’ before realizing our own version.

  5. Good for you. It sounds like you’ve given this a lot of thought and found the right direction in which to point. I admire that.

  6. I feel the same way about my work. I think we both have very high expectations for ourselves. Which is awesome for the most part, but can make it hard to feel successful. FWIW, I think you are doing an amazing job ‘having it all’. And good for you for starting to formulate a plan for increased satisfaction.

  7. it’s a great thing, to see see from your own perspective what will work for you..and get that path cleared.

    All I know is that you are amazing, no matter what. You do have it all…and I’m so glad to be part of your world.


  8. My job isn’t fullfilling either. I’m good at it. But without going into what I do – it’s managing a technology team at a LARGE (too big to fail) bank. But – I do my thing, and then I go home and play with Cam and Maggie. They are my mark on the world.

    Oh – and I can teach you to sew anytime…. lol. And knit?

  9. “I am so far into the future, without really KNOWING where I’m going” You have no idea how this perfect describes how I feel. Thnaks for sharing

  10. This post really resonates with me because I’ve been having a lot of the same feelings. I always feel like I’m not living to my potential, that I could do more to make a difference, that I could be more creative and crafty, that I could do more with my son to teach him and help him develop. I always feel like there’s more and I know I need to really look at myself to determine how I will find that fulfillment. Thanks for sharing this post and your feelings. You express them so well!

  11. Oh good plan! You sound like you have really had a lightbulb moment.

    Good luck with your work for the shelter and your focus on going slower to go faster.


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