March 19, 2013 at 10:06 am | Posted in A Year of Mindfulness, And I ran (I ran so far away), Choosing Happiness. | 7 Comments

I was never really into science when I was a kid. Which is unfortunate, really – there’s a LOT of really interesting stuff I never learned.

I DID learn Newton’s Laws of motion. But I feel like I learned that stuff in a vacuum.

Because it hasn’t been until recently that I’ve discovered that Newton’s Third Law is actually applicable to the tidal movement of emotions.

To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction: or the forces of two bodies on each other are always equal and are directed in opposite directions.

Lucky turned 5 on Sunday. And as I was telling my friend D, he’s READY to be five. We’ve seen real changes in his behavior just this weekend: taking on responsibility to clean up his toys when he’s done playing with them with only a reminder from us (before he’d beg us to “help him!”). We’ve made some very real strides with the pottying stuff (another post for another time).

Almost overnight, it seems, he’s become independent.

It’s almost like the past few months of issues we’ve had with him was in ANTICIPATION of being five, and when he turned five, he made the decision that he was a Big Kid. And has been acting that way, at least for the past couple of days.

I also met with my running coach a couple of times last week: once to set goals for my next training cycle, and once for a one-on-one workout with him on Tuesday night. He told me that, at my CURRENT fitness level, he thought I had it in me to qualify for the Boston Marathon. On Tuesday night, he set time goals for me for a workout which I easily met. It confirmed that I do, in fact, have the potential to run a BQ race this year.

Now, you need to understand: running the Boston Marathon was on my bucket list even before I was a runner (want proof? This post from 2007). The way to run Boston? You need to run a marathon in 3 hours and 40 minutes to qualify (for my current age), or raise $5k+ for a charity.

I want to qualify.

Now, having the POTENTIAL to qualify and actually DOING it are two very different things. I have one marathon under my belt, which wasn’t exactly the best experience – I was injured at mile 22 and then walked the rest. I don’t have a lot of experience with marathons, which means that there’s a lot of variables that contribute to an actual marathon time.

But just HEARING that I have a potential is so gratifying.

On Sunday, I ran 5 miles in honor of Lucky’s 5th birthday. I had just run 10 the day before, a little too fast because it was so. freaking. COLD outside. So my legs were tired. I kept having to slow down, and my pace started to worry me, just a bit.

And then, this thought: Serenity, stop worrying about what you SHOULD be doing. This is what’s happening NOW. This run. Today.

As I heard This run. Today. over and over in my head, another thought popped up.

This LIFE. Today.

All of a sudden, I saw the parallels from the run to my life. I’ve had this idea of what my life SHOULD be like for so long now.

But, really, I’m living THIS life. And remaining attached to the life I was hoping to have is causing me to suffer.

In that moment, as soon as I realized, I let go of the idea of another child. Just, poof, let it go. Released it. And I came home to my family, and we spent the day celebrating how lucky we were, and I watched Lucky play with his friends and then his cousin until late into the night.

Lucky HAS a brother – my nephew. He has sisters and brothers in his friends. We don’t need more children to complete our family. We’re complete as we are.

Sunday was confirmation, for me, that I have the potential to be happy in the here and now. I was surprised at the depth of the feeling, the absolute peace I felt. I savored it, reveled in it. It felt AMAZING.

And then I woke up on Monday. Where the peace was replaced with grief. Sadness. Lucky is getting so big, and there will be no more babies. And when I started making plans to get rid of his baby toys – to really purge all the baby items from our attic – the feeling grew, until last night it nearly swallowed me.

The opposite reaction to peace is sadness for me, it seems. And like the waves, they crash around me.

I have never liked the ocean. I nearly drowned when I was Lucky’s age, and being out of control in a raging sea has always terrified me.

But it seems, that emotions ebb and flow like the ocean.

And I’m finally figuring out how to navigate these seas, I think.



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  1. Yes, emotions do come in waves and can be triggered by myriad (and often unexpected things). I think we are capable of having breakthrough moments and “aha” moments but the work to meld those moments into the psyche of our day-to-day lives, takes time and effort.

    Navigating is key. It’s the process, not the destination.

  2. The “aha” moments are so helpful, but like the previous poster said, it’s how we manage to keep holding on to them when our usual psyche snaps us back. It makes sense, I think, that peace brings sadness- you have a moment of really being ok, and then you need more time to process it.

    But it sounds like you are doing really well. And the Boston thing is AWESOME.


  3. Happy birthday Lucky! I’m so glad you were able to seize the moment- enjoying his day and your run without all that baggage weighing you down. I think that it goes to show that true overall happiness has nothing to do with never feeling sad or angry, but it comes from going with the flow, and not getting too wrapped up in what has been or what might be. Much easier said than done, I know, but not impossible. Oh yeah- that’s totally great about Boston! It would be hard work to get there, but I’m sure you could do it!

  4. It is hard, to watch your children slowly grow up, partially, you’re glad that they’re becoming independent, and at the same time, you’re sad too, because you know that one day, they’re going to fly from the “nest”, and, this will be especially hard hitting, when you have only one child, because he’s needing you, less and less by the day, but, you should change your mindset, and think that it’s great, because your son no longer needs you as much, and, eventually, they WILL be grown, and they WILL leave you, and make their own nests, and that, is just how things go, and, this feeling, i don’t know if it’ll ever go away, but, it will get easier as the years go by…

  5. Don’t you have frozen embies left???? I don’t understand why you just don’t try those…and then if you don’t get pregnant then you know you are really done. Those babies are sitting there and you never know what can happen

  6. You know, Lucky is sooo lucky to have a cousin his age, right nearby. My kids don’t have any cousins (well, one in France they’ll probably never meet) and even though they have each other now, I really wish they had cousins. So that does count for something, having your SIL and family so close by, even if it’s not exactly the family you had pictured. (I actually am jealous of your relationship with your SIL, too, since I only met my SIL once)

    And that is awesome about the Boston Marathon! I would come cheer you on if you ran it. 🙂

  7. I love what you said about the fact that Lucky HAS a brother, his cousin. I think we all need to do more of that – redefining family/friend relationships to make them work for us. I had a sister growing up too – a cousin. And a friend of mine who’s mom struggles with addiction gets her mothering from her aunt. It’s a beautiful thing.

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