Learning to coast

As I continue to enjoy the dog days of summer and find myself coasting for the first time in years, I thought I’d share this post that I originally published almost a year ago. It’s a testament to how far a person can come, to how much we can change and grow and resume living our lives if we only want to.

Finding stability and learning to coast

I recently loaned my copy of Life After Yes by Aidan Donnelly Rowley to a friend. As I packed it up to take with me, I took a moment to thumb through and read the passages I had marked. I came across this passage:

This is how happiness comes-in small moments, in fierce flashes. It’s not a state of being, not remotely permanent.

I nodded and sighed at the truth of it. I’ve written before about my relationship with random clarity, fleeting moments of overwhelming calmness coupled with the sense that all is right and as it should be. They are my happy times. But more than that, they emphasize a desire for complete acceptance with my life.

Life for me is never static. For some reason I live on a roller coaster of emotions and events that keep me from catching my breath. Some of this is self-inflicted, but much is beyond my control. As I grow older and weary of the constant fluctuations, I long for a period of stability and the opportunity to just coast.
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Over the weekend I had dinner with one of my closest girlfriends. We have both been so busy that we hadn’t seen each other in what seemed like weeks. I had so much to talk about. She thankfully let me rattle on. For more than three hours I chattered away about all the things that have been happening. I hardly came up for air. At the end of our evening she told me, “Too much. This is too much. You need to just slow it down for a while.”

She’s right. I’m weary, torn, and run ragged as I’m pulled in too many directions. It’s making me emotional again. This afternoon as I gear up for my return to work and a crazy week of commuting, working and coping I cried. It’s too much and it’s making me sick. Once again my heart is racing to keep up and the panic is taking over.

Steeped in this madness I quickly lose sight of the happy moments. They become more temporary, visit less frequently. In my rush to keep up, I’m forgetting what really matters. My children, my family and me.

It’s been a particularly stressful summer. My extended family is facing difficult struggles, some we’ve been through before, some that are new and scary. Work continues to be challenging. My boys are busy and overwhelming as boys tend to be. I haven’t had control of my domestic responsibilities in ages. And I miss my husband. He’s here of course, but our lives are so busy we hardly get to talk and connect.

How did I get here? Only a couple of months ago, I was radiating. But here I am again. It snuck up on me and I feel as though I have more swimming to do than ever before to reach my surface. The feeling of being submerged in a sea of responsibility without being able to catch my breath is back. In the chaos, I’ve lost the perspective that I gained through the spring.

I realize now that it requires constant vigilance to maintain one’s equilibrium, to keep focused on being healthy. You can never let up, it takes work to stay happy. I also realize that it’s time to ask the hard questions and to really prioritize and embrace change. My week of vacation at least offered me that perspective. For that I’m grateful.

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6 thoughts on “Learning to coast

  1. Aidan is quite right. Happiness is not a state of being.

    You will be radiating again, Christine. You will.

    Sending hugs.

  2. MKCountryman says:

    Christine,
    This post, or repost from a year ago makes me want to GRAB A CUP OF COFFEE : ) and sit and read every entry from now until then. Asking hard questions, prioritizing, and embracing change. That sounds like what I am attempting to do. I have a TAKE BACK MY FAMILY plan for the fall – we are temporarily quitting most kids activities, cleaning out our house, and doing fun family things that have been put on the back burner. I am literally writing a plan, with action items that include things like eat dinner together, family date, clean one closet…..etc . I told my husband that I missed him and our family. We aren’t living the life either of us envisioned , so we are trying to get it back. Perhaps reading more of your journey from the past year will help!

  3. Maria says:

    You’ve come a long way, baby 😉

  4. Alana says:

    Like MK I want to go back and read every post between then and now. Even without doing so however, I can feel the shift in your words. Those flashes of happiness are precious and I know how grateful I am that they come more often now.

  5. denise says:

    Hi friend. 🙂 I love this post because it shows yes, how far you, we, can come, but reminds you/me/us of where we’ve been. And those “sitting with the mess” moments keep coming, throughout your/my/our lives. So good to read your words again. xoxo

  6. Christa says:

    Today’s post is the best way I know to answer you and quite a few others who seems to be feeling the same way.

    You are not alone. It happens. It’s the overwhelm and the undertow, and you aren’t doing anything wrong.

    On the contrary, you are doing wonderful work. You will be back there before you know it, and likely in a better place than you were.

    And so it goes…

    XOXO

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