Relapse

Just the other day I was coasting along through life doing absolutely fantastic at identifying when my inner critic chimed in and started leading me down a path, or when my anxiety was starting to flare and cause panic, or even when I was about to go down a road of fear, misunderstanding, and old habits. I was fucking rocking it. I’m rocking it right now.

But I hit a week where that was no longer true. This was a week of confusion, what felt like extreme exhaustion, bickering because I couldn’t put myself first no matter what Eddie said, staying inside feeling trapped, and so much more. I was struggling but I wasn’t able to identify it. I didn’t identify it until one morning after we had our worst bicker in so long I can’t even remember how long it has been.

This week was the first week I was home, restricted from traveling, restricted from going to yoga, restricted from buying groceries because people cleared the stores out, and the weather was gray and dreary. This was the first week that the COVID-19 panic truly set in. This was also the week that the largest earthquake in 10 years hit Utah.

It was a funky, weird week. There was nothing normal about this week and it truly showed in my mood. And my emotional reactions. Thank God I was not on my period during this week, Eddie would have lost his mind.

I am calling this my relapse week because I lost all knowledge and connection to the work I have been doing over the years. I didn’t really even know who I was. I was merely going through the motions, barely getting by each day. Have you had a day like this recently? Or even a week?

How do you handle your relapses? I assume this will happen more than once in my life. I assume I will encounter this discomfort again in the future. I bet you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I would say this probably wasn’t the first time that I got to this point. I relapsed when we were going through infertility treatments. I relapsed when I couldn’t barely walk before my spinal fusion. I haven’t even been on this good track for a year. But this relapse was the shortest.

I was able to identify that something wasn’t right after we had a pretty bad bicker. It was the end of the day and I was chillaxing on the couch. It was weird that I started to realize what just happened. I literally had this “what the fuck” moment. I felt blindsided that this relapse had happened. But then I started to think through the progression.

I worked through identifying how the spiral happened. I identified what the warning signs would have been. I discovered what the triggers were that sent me to the full relapse point. I pretty much retraced the entire week. Then I made a decision.

I decided that the following day would be a fresh start. After all, each new day truly is a fresh start.

So I did. I started fresh. I woke up early like I normally do automatically. I had my morning doing my Start Today Journal and Planner, I had lots of coffee, meal planned, paid bills, and set my intentions for the day. I started fresh. I started the day just as I would any other day that is a good day.

And you know what? It worked, mostly. I was struggling to come out of the mood, but I was controlling all of my thoughts. I was identifying my feelings. Then we went off-roading. My mood wasn’t the best when we started, but after sticking with the truck at the bottom of a trail that I didn’t want it to go up (hey, it’s perfectly capable, I just don’t like pin striping and I’m not ready to put a scratch in her), I had some time to just gaze into distant mountains and to walk around the hills we were in. This alone time in nature was a Godsend. I needed it. My mood completely changed.

How did I get out of this relapse? I pulled myself out of it by doing the things that enrich myself. I pulled myself out of that relapse by realizing that that person who was showing up that week was not the woman I know that I am. I pulled myself out of that relapse because I’ve been working my ass off to grow emotionally.

I am going to continue to work my ass off because maybe next time instead of a week, my next relapse might be just a day.

I Don't Know How to Set Goals

I’m not a goal setter.

Goals are too restrictive.

I was never taught how to set goals.

Goals aren’t achievable in my life.

I’ve set goals before but have never accomplished them, it’s no use.

Have you ever caught yourself saying or thinking any of those? I have. The one I used to use the most was “I’m not a goal setter.” I would come back to that over and over again. I look back now and see that it was just another excuse to stay stuck, to not do hard things.

I wasn’t ever taught how to set goals, but for some reason, that was never an excuse for me. I actually didn’t learn how to set goals until within the last couple of years and it still took me time before I set goals.

In my opinion, goals require feeling behind them. If I set a goal and I am not emotionally vested in the outcome, I’m never going to do the work required to reach that goal. If I set a goal that I’m kinda invested in, but am not sure how I truly feel about it, then I’m still not going to do the work. I have to feel into what I want the outcome to be before I will actually put in the work.

Goals can be huge or they can be extremely simple. It doesn’t matter. One of my goals right now is to get through this social distancing a stronger person. Most days have been downright difficult. Why? I couldn’t tell you. Especially because I’m an introverted homebody. But I hit a low point and it took a day or so to realize what the hell was making me forget ALL of the work I’ve done.

Another goal I have is to plant and truly take care of some herbs. I have these cool planters, but I always let the herbs die. I don’t plan enough meals to use the fresh herbs. Now I’m looking to find more meals to make that use the herbs that I plant.

A big goal that I have that I keep having to come back to is to become debt free. It isn’t an easy goal to achieve, especially when there is so much to buy and make life easy. Or food to eat. Or cute clothes that can make me feel better in my own skin. Or, or, or. To accomplish this goal, I’ll have to make a huge mindset shift. And I have, but then I get lax on my mindset and it goes to hell. Each day I am closer to achieving my goal, the more I feel the feeling of relief and joy.

So how do you set goals?

You have to have things that you are emotionally invested in achieving. Did you read my last post I Don’t Know How to Dream? If you haven’t, go back and read it.

To know what goals to reach for, you have to know what your dream for your life is. You have to sit down and truly look into the future and what you want out of your life. You cannot just simply set a goal and hope for the best. You have to be invested in the goal.

Setting goals just to set goals doesn’t work. If you set a goal to run a 10K but have absolutely no interest in running or physically cannot run, you aren’t going to achieve that goal. If you set a goal to become a millionaire but have no interest in working your ass off, then you aren’t going to reach it. If you set a goal to pay off your debt but keep spending frivolously, you are never going to pay that debt off.

Take all of the dreams you wrote down from the previous post and break them down into action items. Some with have high level action items that break down even further. That’s good. Those are your stepping stones. Keep breaking these steps down until you have actionable steps that you can achieve one after the other. You just set goals. Each of those actionable steps is a goal.

You can set goals. You just have to get out of your own way and allow yourself to dream and become emotionally invested in those dreams.

What are some goals you are working towards right now?

Let Your Inner You Come Out

Let your inner you out to have fun and come alive.

I’m not sure where I heard this, but it immediately resonated with me. I am one who has been extremely rigid in my way of living in the past few years. I cared so much about other people’s opinions that I didn’t let myself be myself. I wouldn’t laugh at some things, I tempered how loud I laughed, I let go of all of my sarcasm and wit. I became a person who didn’t want to offend or be considered weird or even stand out.

I boxed myself up and shoved me deep inside. I wasn’t living.

Then I heard this statement and I knew I needed to hear it in that moment. I immediately wrote it on a sticky note and stuck it to my monitor. Then I made a phone background and it is still there. I need a reminder every day to let myself be myself. I haven’t fully broken through the fear of leaning into who I truly am in every single situation. I’m working on it, but I have a long way to go.

I’ve been louder, I’ve laughed more, I’ve been sarcastic more. I’ve been open and honest with coworkers that I’m working on growth and that I appreciate and need their constructive criticism for the work I’m doing, even if I don’t change anything.

If you are anything like me, let yourself out. Have some fun. Fuck what other people say. You are a wonderful person that has hidden all that wonderfulness for far too long. Try a little each day to bring your inner you out to have some fun. And if you need a daily reminder, here is my phone background. There’s a lot of empty space because my main screen apps are around the text. I literally fit it to my app layout. No matter your layout, this will be a wonderful reminder for you too.

What would you do differently if you let your inner-self out to have some fun?

Dreams

There is so much programming out there telling us to “follow your dreams” or “let your imagination run wild” or even “you can be anything your heart desires.” The problem with this programming is that it isn’t universal. Depending on where you grow up and where you come from, you might not have dreams, an imagination, or even know anything more than the small environment that you are part of. Dreams are not universal.

I was one of the kids who didn’t actually hear any of this programming as a child. My programming was more along the lines of “graduate high school before getting pregnant”, “anybody better off than us are assholes”, or “so-and-so should be taking care of us because they are better off.” There was no hope, no dream in the future that was being programmed into me. There was nothing bigger than living off of family who made a life for themselves. Doing more, being more was never a thought.

My imagination as a child was very limited. I didn’t know anything outside of the small town and poor life I was growing up in. I didn’t have good examples in my everyday life of following dreams or even dreaming big. Goals were not something that ever crossed my mind.

Today I am living a vastly different life than the one I grew up in. Why? Because I took the glimpses of life outside of the poor situation I was in from what little TV and movies I watched and books I read and knew there was more out there. I didn’t know how much more. I didn’t ever consider that I would be where I am today. I just knew I wanted more.

My first real dream I followed was going to college. It was never a consideration for my parents to even encourage college, but I knew I wanted to go. I figured going to college would give me an edge on living a better life. Once I was in college, I started seeing more and more of life outside of living a poor life, counting on everyone else. I knew before college that I wanted to live my own life and support myself, but my eyes were being opened and my mind was learning.

I never dreamed of getting my MBA or becoming a project manager, or being a traveling professional. I never dreamed of making the salary I do today or buying a home. I never dreamed of sharing my life with random people or becoming an overlander who has gear to travel to places most vehicles can’t make it. I never dreamed of working from home from a mission-driven company. I never dreamed of most of what exists in my life today.

I did dream of being a writer as a kid, but thought that would never happen because I wasn’t rich enough. I attributed everything to money. Yes, money does provide a lot, but so do goals and dreams.

Today my dreams are bigger than I would have ever expected growing up. I wouldn’t have even imagined my dreams were a thing. That’s the difference of the environment that we are in.

I frequently question why people don’t get off their ass and do something about their situation. I did, why don’t they? I’m learning that it isn’t that easy for some people. The programming that we receive during our formative years can and will determine everything about our life. Some people don’t have the mental acuity to look outside of the hear and now. I frequently lose my patience when people limit themselves, then I have to remind myself that I have limited myself in various ways throughout my life.

Not only does it take hearing or learning about what else is out there, it takes desire to do more. For those of use who come from places where dreaming isn’t or wasn’t a thing, it isn’t just about the dreaming. It is about what we have access to. Some people don’t even have the limited TV or movies that I had. Some people don’t even have books. These people may have a burning desire for something more, they just don’t know what that is because they are in a place where their imagination and ability to dream is limited.

Unfortunately in our world today, there is still so much limitation on the ability to dream and imagine a different life. We have a long way to go.

I am sharing my story because I hope that if you are reading it and you are someone who is in a position that doesn’t have access to anything that will stoke your imagination and dreams, it will give you a little bit of hope for something more.

Growing up I didn’t dream of a better life without the input of TV, movies, and books. I thought the only way to get a better life was to be born into it. Today, I work on my thoughts, dreams, and overall knowledge every single day. My inputs have changed my life tenfold. I am where I am today from one little dream, living a better life than what I grew up in. I didn’t know what that would look like, but I chased it.

What did you dream of when you were a kid? Did you have big, audacious dreams? What life did you dream of?

Consistency And Stability

My parents got divorced when I was 12. Every year after that, my mother moved us to a new home or moved our trailer to a new location. We were always moving. Gone were the days of any consistency with life. Stability? Yeah that didn’t exist either.

I moved out when I was 17 and moved frequently for a few years after that. I think the longest I was in one place was when I lived in Ohio for 22 months. Once I moved out on my own, I also changed doctors and hairstylists frequently. Nothing was really consistent in my life, except for a couple of friends.

I lived with Eddie at his mom’s house for 18 months and then we moved to Utah. I stayed with some friends at the time for a few months (Eddie was traveling 100 percent of the time for work), then we got an apartment. Then we bought a house. We moved into this house in March of 2014.

The most consistent and stable things in my life have been two friendships, my almost nine year relationship with Eddie, raising Chloe for seven years, living in our home for six years, and my hairstylist, dentist, and chiropractor of six years.

I realized the other day that my life is finally changing to what I always dreamed it would be and that is probably because I am finally consistent with a few things in my life. For me, my life always felt like it was in turmoil, nothing was ever just good.

Our home is still in renovation mode and we still have things we need to pay off, but that is okay. This is our little piece of heaven and stability that I’ve always craved. We have a built a life of stability that I almost thought I would never have. I built a desire to have more than what I grew up with and I have it.

I don’t think I would have been able to truly care for my health or my emotions, or even quit drinking if I didn’t have this stability and consistency in my life. I wouldn’t be here today.

A lot of people don’t think twice about how long they’ve lived somewhere or how long they have been going to the same dentist or hairstylist, but I do. I mean, until this dentist, I NEVER got cleanings because I wasn’t raised doing it. My hairstylist met me when I was more particular and a pain in the ass than ever and embraced keeping me as a client. When I realized how long I’ve been with her, I got emotional. Yeah, yeah, it could have been the period hormones, but I truly appreciate the consistency I’ve had with her. She is dear to me and we’ve been through some life together. Unless we moved states, which isn’t happening anytime soon, I don’t think I could leave her.

Being able to look back and see where I’ve come from to where I am today is kind of overwhelming. Holy crap, I just teared up. I can look back at all of the instability and inconsistency in my life and feel so much gratitude for where I am today.

If you are in the throws of instability and inconsistency, I want you to know that you can have both stability and consistency in your life. It doesn’t happen easy and it doesn’t happen overnight. If you are here reading this, you are showing yourself that you want more. The key to getting that more is taking life one step at a time. Start buying laying the first brick of your new foundation.

What is your picture of stability and consistency? Is it a consistent place to live, a consistent relationship, or even a consistent job? Lay one brick at a time. Find a place that gives you almost everything you look for in a home. For me, it was a yard, close to stores, space for guests, space for an office, and a garage. Lay one brick buy finding that place within your budget. You might have to get something that needs work, but that’s okay too.

You can get the consistency and stability you want in your life. One brick at a time. That’s how I have both in my life.