Oh, Cosmo.

20170831_083908I’m waiting for my car to get an oil change and tire rotation.  I just paged through the February issue of Cosmopolitan.  The cover held such promise but every time I read these magazines (which is only when I find one in a waiting room), I’m always disappointed.

“Mushy Move Guys Are Totally Into”:  They suggested buying him a lottery ticket or write a love note on a piece of fruit he takes in his lunch (fruit with a peel – like a banana, they cautioned).  What??

“Hotter Sex For You!”:  It included a question from a guy who was unclear how to play with his girlfriend’s nipples.  Really??

“Flawless Skin”:  This was o.k. but it basically said drink a lot of water, wear sunscreen and have a positive attitude.  Duh.

The short article about lipstick colors, “Lipstick Colors Decoded” was o.k.  “Nudes give off a sense of composure and dependability” which makes them good for interviews and such.  “Wine and plum tones signal confidence, ideal for imaginative positions”.  Who decides this stuff?

I’m clearly beyond the demographic Cosmo is aiming at.  (Not that I’m sad about that.)  One article starts, “Like you need an excuse to take more selfies!”  Umm . . . I don’t take selfies.  The language is even different.  “Vacation” is always “vacay”  And while the “Dates from Hell!” was funny, I don’t need the front of my magazine to include the phrase “Effed-Up”.

I guess I’ll just stick with People (again, whenever I find one in a waiting room) and their photos of “celebs” I’ve never heard of.

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How to be Different

Apparently, I need some lifestyle changes.  After collapsing at work out of the blue (caused a huge commotion), I went to see my doctor yesterday.  (I refused to go to the ER with the nice paramedics.)  My doctor called me a “textbook case of the healthy person who drops dead from a heart attack.”

Well, hmmmm . . . She was concerned when I looked puzzled at her order to “spend the rest of the day doing something for myself.”  I have plenty of things that I’d really like to do for myself but they never seem to happen.  For example, 3 days ago I picked some fava beans, found a recipe and have been wanting to make soup.  Fava beans are still sitting on my counter and they don’t seem to be making soup themselves.

How is that possible?  How can I not even find time to cook food that I want to??  What the heck do I do all day?  In my opinion, I don’t do much.  But when I tell my girlfriends, “I did this and this and this today . . . nothing!” they’re like, “wow, you did all that?” My doctor says I tend to minimize.

So, o.k., I need to lessen my “constant state of stress and anxiety” (more doctor quotes) and that’s great but HOW??  How do I just start being different?  How do I make space for myself?

I think I’ve asked this question before here in my blog.  Maybe the better question is: How do I not feel guilty about making space for myself?

I mean, we’re not talking about me going on a shopping spree or something.  We’re talking about soup!!!  Healthy soup that the rest of my family could eat.

I did finally announce to my 12 and 14 year old kids that they get to make their own school lunches and unpack their lunch box when they get home this year.  My husband was thrilled at this declaration.  I’m not exactly sure why – he rarely if ever made their lunch; he just seemed to be upset that I made lunches for the kids.  The kids were less than thrilled.  Me?  I felt guilty.

When Your “Happy Place” is also Your “Sad Place”

I love my horses and I love spending time in my barn.  Its where I do my best thinking and, even though I often forget it and neglect to spend enough time there, hanging out with my horses truly makes me happy.

But its complicated.  While my barn is most definitely one of my most happy places, its also a sad place sometimes.

My horse, Stormy, turned 28 on June 13.  I was hanging out in the barn with him and, for some reason, my thoughts turned to my beloved first horse, Tori.  Pretty quickly, I was sitting in my barn, balling my eyes out.  I had to put Tori down on September 3, 1997 – that was a long time ago!!!!  But oftentimes it seems like it was yesterday.  Is it always going to seem like that?

Hanging out with my current horses – Stormy, my retired old guy; Slewy, my gorgeous off-the-track Thoroughbred I can’t seem to ride; and Holly, the kids’ mini – is certainly comforting.  But, sometimes I’m in the barn and I’m just overwhelmed with how much I miss Tori, how he was supposed to still be here with me (I know he’s always “with” me).

Compounding my sadness is the fact that I feel like I’m failing Tori daily by not riding Slewy.  Its as if all the time we spent together and all the skills he taught me is somehow being wasted.  That, though, hasn’t been enough motivation to get me back to riding Slewy.

Because Slewy’s not Tori.  They’re both Thoroughbreds and I put Slewy’s bit on Tori’s bridle, hoping that would help. They have similar personalities – sweet, kind, inquisitive, always in your pocket.

I just know that somehow, in my slightly nutty head, this is getting in the way of riding Slewy again.  And I’m just not sure what to do about it.  Logically, I think I would feel better if I were riding.  But logic doesn’t seem to have much to do with this.  If it were all up to my logic, I would have been riding years ago.

My happy place being my sad place makes it complicated.  And difficult to move forward.

Mired in “Do-Nothing-ness”

I was making progress on a few of my goals.  I was spending time in the barn, practicing Spanish (occasionally), walking the dog, feeling healthy, and, in general, just getting things done.

Yet once again, it has all come to a screeching halt.  It started with end of the school year activities, my son graduating from 8th grade, etc.  Then I got sick and was down and out for about 10 days.  Since then, I haven’t been able to get back on track.

I’m frustrated and upset about it.  But mostly, I’m just tired.  And not quite sure what to do.

Last week I took my son to the doctor for his summer camp physical.  I hopped on the scale . . . and was dismayed to find that I’m the heaviest I’ve been in a long time.  136.5 at 5′ 4″.  Ugh.

I haven’t been walking my dog so he has a ton of energy and is up all night roaming the house, which is keeping me awake at night.  So . . . not sleeping well.  Plus, we’ve gotten in this pattern of not going to bed until midnight or so and then sleeping in.  Also, not good.

I came up with the idea that I would be back on my horse by September 3.  That’s the 20 year anniversary of my first horse’s death (thoughts of Tori still brings me to tears, nearly 20 years later).  I lunged Slewy exactly twice and that was going on three weeks ago not.  So much for good intentions.

One of my new excuses is that its harder with the kids being out of school.  I don’t have a few hours to myself every afternoon.  And I’m a person who desperately needs a few hours alone most days.  But with the kids not in school, 1) they’re always around so there’s no down time for thinking, writing here in my blog or my journal, or much else of my own and 2) I do things with them (which I love and am not complaining about) – we go to the pool, go shopping, or who knows what.  So, again, very little time to myself.  Right now, this afternoon, I think is the first time since June 1 that I’ve had any time home alone.  And I’m spending it writing and playing Hay Day rather than really accomplishing anything.  But I’m so, so tired.  I feel like I just need to sit for awhile.

O.k., so no answers really.  Just complaints.  Often writing helps me to sort things out in my head so maybe this is a way to start again.  I don’t know.  I’m tired of “starting again.”

Do Something . . . Anything

I have reached complete overwhelm.  I made a new to do list, hoping that would re-focus and organize me.  It just made it worse.  Looking at my schedule the next few days and the list, I’ve got absolutely no idea how its going to get done.  And these are things that really have to be done.  I can’t just not return work phone calls!  And we have our annual end of the school year swim party on Saturday.  I can’t just ignore that!!!  I’m kind of freaking out.  I really would like to just sit here at my desk and color.

My dog is sitting next to me, whining.  He wants to go outside and play or go on a walk or something.  I wish he would be quiet.  The property isn’t 100% fenced so he’s not allowed to go out without me.  And apparently, for some reason, sitting on the back deck isn’t good enough for him at the moment.

I must have put on three different outfits this morning while trying to get dressed for work.  One skirt that I haven’t worn for awhile didn’t fit.  I mean, like didn’t fit to the point where I wondered when it had ever fit me.  That was upsetting.  Just before I tried to get dressed I was sort of complimenting myself for having things pretty together.  So much for that.

The other day there was a lizard in the house, right outside my closet.  I am TERRIFIED of lizards.  Its been that kind of week.

Of course, today the kids get out of school early so I have even less time.

I’m drowning in end of the school year activities.

Ugh.

So, for the next 20 minutes, until I have to go pick kids up from school, I’m going to fall back on my strategy for when life gets like this, which is “Do Something . . . Anything.”  I’ve found that if I just start going down the to do list, its easier to continue.  Starting is the hard part.  It doesn’t really matter exactly what I do; anything is better than sitting here and staring out my window.

Here I go . . . something . . . anything.  Just start somewhere.

When Your Passion, well . . . Isn’t.

I’ve ridden horses since I was 9 years old.  My parents finally gave into riding lessons by assuring themselves that my love of horses was a “phase” that would soon be cured by a few lessons.  After all, we did live in suburban Los Angeles – I was a city girl.

So much for the “phase” theory.  The main requirement when my husband and I were shopping for our first house was that it the property be flat enough for a barn and riding arena.  I now have a lovely little barn, an arena and three horses.

Despite that, I haven’t ridden in over a year.  I haven’t consistently ridden in probably 10 years.  My daughter rides and yesterday we tried out a new barn for her to take lessons at.  Watching her ride made me almost want to climb aboard my off-the-track Thoroughbred again.  Almost.  Maybe.

I expressed that thought to a friend of mine who replied something along the lines of “well, I know its always been a passion of yours.”  And that got me to thinking . . . has it been?  Was it?  Is it still?

Horses are definitely part of my identity as far as most people who know me are concerned.  But the fact that I ride and own horses is certainly not the first thing I’d tell you about myself.  I enjoy my time in the barn, which now mainly consists of feeding the horses, turning them out, cleaning stalls, brushing them, etc.  My best thinking is done in the barn.  No matter what’s going on, time in barn is pretty much guaranteed to improve my mood.

Can I even say that I “ride”? Or do I need to move that to past tense . . . “I rode.”?

I constantly berate myself for not riding my horse.  He’s likely the nicest horse I’ve ever owned or will ever own.  I constantly tell myself that it is therefore ridiculous that I don’t ride him.  For awhile I was just flat out afraid of him but that’s a story for another day.  And our relationship on the ground is definitely on the upswing lately.

But back to the “passion” issue.  I tend to think that if riding truly was my passion, I’d be finding a way to do it.  I’d be finding a way to make time for it even with all my mom, wife, attorney, etc. responsibilities.  So I’m wondering . . . is it really my  “passion” anymore?  It was when I was 9 certainly – but not any more so than any other horse-crazy, 9 year old, little girl.

Is the fact that I haven’t gotten back on my horse evidence enough that I’m ready to give it up?  And if so, how do I let go of that part of myself?  How do I tell my first serious riding instructor (who I still am friends with), “you know, I don’t think I’m going to ride anymore.”??  She’s also on the “but its your ‘passion'” bandwagon.  My Mom believes the same, “oh but you’re so, so good with horses.”  Ummm . . . yeah, Mom, not so much.  My last two horses destroyed my confidence and I’m just plain scared of my current one half the time.

I feel like “I’m not going to ride anymore” is an extremely radical statement.  Maybe I need to get back on my horse and ride a bit first.  Maybe that will help sway me one direction or the other.  Maybe I need to stop making such a big deal out of this.

In the meantime, I enjoyed watching my daughter ride yesterday.  It made me almost want to ride myself.  Almost.  Maybe.

What’s Holding Us Back?

The other day, some of the ladies at work were, yet again, discussing their need to lose weight.  I laughed and said, “Yeah, you guys will lose weight when I speak Spanish.”  (Its o.k., we have that type of relationship so they weren’t offended.)

But it really got me thinking . . . this is a conversation I have with so many of my women friends.  The desire to do this or that . . . and the absolute lack of sustained progress.

It really got me thinking . . . What is holding us back??

In my last post, I asked “What would success look like?”  The question of “What’s holding us back?” is a little different.

I posed that question to my good friend and she answered, “Fear.”

O.k., but fear of what exactly??

I asked my Mom.  She answered that she doesn’t like to be noticed so she thinks that’s what’s holding her back from losing weight, dressing better, etc. . . . someone might then notice her if she were attractive.  To which I replied, “Well, maybe people are noticing now and thinking how frumpy you look.”  (O.k., so maybe that wasn’t very nice of me but I think it was a legitimate point.)

Back to fear.  I know that for me and Spanish (because that’s an easy example), I have the immediate fear that people are going to think I’m stupid or sound funny in my beginning attempts at speaking Spanish.  Logically, I know the people I can practice with will absolutely not make fun of me but the fear is still there.

But what’s beyond that?  What if I did accomplish some of my goals?  Would I be able to internalize that success?  Would I be more confident?  Would people then expect more of me?  And, to my Mom’s point, would people notice me more?  Am I comfortable with that?  What would my husband say if I stepped out of my comfort zone and did well?  What would my friends say?  (I know “true” friends support you no matter what, blah, blah, blah).

Aaaahhhh . . . so much unknown!!!!  So maybe my friend was right.  Maybe it is fear that’s holding us back, plain and simple.