Releasing Judgment.

January 24, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Posted in And I ran (I ran so far away), Career angst, Crazy Talk (aka: Therapy), Infertility | 3 Comments

I am, by nature and most definitely nurture, very judgmental.

It’s why I made such a good auditor back in the day. Because I had an expectation of what I expected to see in a test, or a conversation with my client. More often than not, the answer met what I expected to hear. When it didn’t, then I worked really hard to figure out WHY it didn’t meet my expectations.

Was my expectation wrong? Or was there something else going on?

More often than not, I was off because I based my expectation on incomplete information.

But I am really, really good at judging and forming expectations.

And I think it’s the root of why I get overwhelmed, especially in the past couple of years.


I haz dem.

1. It’s been three months and I’m still not back to a regular running schedule- I still am trying to deal with tendonitis. I can’t run without some form of discomfort and/or pain. It’s pain when I push it too much. Discomfort most other times. Either way, I have been struggling a bit.

Because it was my expectation that I’d be “over it” by now. And discomfort is bad; all of my runs should be pain free.

2. I’m bitter that we went through fertility treatments again without the outcome we hoped. Multiple times. What gave me so much comfort when I had Lucky was that I figured we had worked around the issue – it was the wonky Ute that was the cause of our failed cycles. I expected, yes, to get pregnant right away when we went back.

To have been through this whole rigamarole again with nothing, really, to show for it has shaken me indeed. It’s really hard to know what to do next, if anything.

3. Charlie Brown just took a new consulting job. He makes marginally more than what he was making before, which is good, but it’s a HUGE increase in commuting time and focus. But. It’s an investment job, honestly – better in the long term with some short term pain. It means that I have to be very, very careful with scaling back my hours so that we can ensure we pay the bills. This week has been particularly bad since Lucky is sick and it’s the first week where Charlie Brown is at the client site. And it’s only Tuesday.

Thing is, I’m tapped with our life the way it WAS before he took on more of a work commitment. I already feel like I’ve got too many plates in the air and I’m going to drop something. On the weeks where Lucky is sick, like this one, knowing that we were splitting duties made it SO much easier on me.

4. My boss sat me down before Christmas and told me I didn’t work enough hours. That when you get to the level I get to, you can’t work a 40-45 hour week; it’s more like 50-60 hours. And the irony is that he didn’t seem to be punitive in this discussion; it was more like his way of mentoring me.

Except that holy crap, I don’t HAVE THE TIME TO DEVOTE MORE OF IT TO MY JOB. Where do I take it from? My family life? My running? Sleep?

I don’t WANT to. And the stress of expecting more from myself is starting to wear on me.

I need to let it all go. And for the past few weeks, I haven’t known HOW. I’ve found myself getting more and more stressed, my anger just a little too close to the surface. I’ve been making awful choices; indulging in emotional eating – anything that for one second will make me feel just a little better.

So this morning I decided to hit the treadmill at my gym. Last time I ran was last Wednesday; a run near my house that left me limping for the day and stressed to the max about my ability to run. I took some time off in the thought that maybe I just did too much last week.

Since my marathon, I’ve felt tension in my ITB about a half mile into my run. And every time I felt that tightness, I’d spiral into worry. Is it going to erupt into pain? Why was I still in pain? Should I even be running? I’m going to ruin my legs, what a stupid idea it was to run that marathon, Serenity. Why am I pushing this, who cares that my PT says it is okay to run through injury? Just stop and rest. Clearly you’re obsessed way too much with running, there’s something wrong with you, Serenity. Why aren’t you different?

I end up more stressed at the end of a run than I was to begin with.

Which, given the above, is NOT a good thing.

So today, when I felt that tension creep into my leg?

I changed how I reacted to it.

I breathed through the discomfort, focusing on my footfalls and visualizing my IT band loosening up. And I made sure my form was correct, and relaxed, and I wasn’t trying to overcompensate in any way. And emotionally, I didn’t react. I released judgment on the tension. It wasn’t good, it wasn’t bad, it just WAS.

And damned if it DIDN’T loosen up. By mile 3, I felt pretty good. It was a light twinge, still there, but not enough to worry me. I was able to really zone out and find my zen, in a way that I haven’t in a LONG time.

And I still managed to find my stress again when I got to work. But it got me thinking.

What would happen if I changed how I reacted to ALL of it? If I just let go of my expectations of myself and Charlie Brown and our life together?

Maybe I’d just get on with the business of, you know, living.

And that wouldn’t be a bad thing at all.


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  1. The co-parenting thing while balancing careers is really hard, especially when you make a decision that you know will suck in the short term, but ultimately will be better. Q. and I are struggling with this. It makes sense for me to be working on the dissertation again, because the sooner I finish, the sooner I’m on the job market and the sooner we can figure out what is happening with our lives. But in the short term? Trying to balance raising E. with a tenured academic position (where Q. imposes pressure on himself even when there is nothing external stating, “You must do this”) plus a PhD is really rough with E. being so small and still up at night, etc. I tend to get short tempered so much faster than I would like, and I keep having to remind myself that we are both doing the best we can.

    I know you have written about changing your own career path. Will Charlie Brown, once he is established in this new position, be able and willing to scale back/adjust to allow you to make changes? Do you have a timeframe in mind for that? It might help deal with the suck of today to know when things are likely to get better.

    I totally agree with your thoughts on letting go of expectations. I hope you can. If you figure out how, let me know!


  2. The working parent issues I can totally relate to. It is so hard to try to excel while also trying to take care of the family. Especially when a child is sick.

    I am glad you are learning to loosen up…I think sometimes that is something we all struggle to deal with in every day life–the things we expect/want and the realities that we are confronted with. I know I have issues with this lately–I find myself jealous of others who have “moved on” at certain things and I hate feeling bad/envious, but I am trying to learn to enjoy what I have here and now.

    Wishing us both luck on that! 🙂

  3. Re: #4. Wow. That’s a lot of pressure. Especially in light of #3. D. is a consultant, and it’s a big reason that I continue to stay at home with the girls. His workday is very erratic and changes at a minute’s notice.

    And #2 — I’m not sure how I could get past that. I remember that my mom’s neighbor said, when my mom told her about our successful IVF cycle, “I wonder why it worked for her and not for me?” Her only child is 24 years old now. That stung. Partly because I was pissed off, but mostly because of the could-have-been or should-have-been that is so much a part of infertility.

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