Saturday, November 18, 2017

Transitions, lots of transitions.

This past April I graduated from the local technical college. From there, finding a job was a bit challenging. At the same time, I was going through some changes in my household that added an immense amount of stress to my life and eventually, it all took its toll and with the usual summer anniversary that comes around during the summer, I ended up having a bit of a mental breakdown. I realized then I had to step back and take it one step at a time and remember that things probably were not going to happen as fast as I wanted them to.

The girls both started school in September and had their own transitions. Isabelle started second grade which for her meant a new teacher and new classmates (at her school, she has the same teacher for two years at a time). It meant having some new responsibilities. Natalie started middle school and for her the transition was even more challenging. Only she and one other girl transferred to the new school which is a charter school within the larger middle school. It meant a new class, new teachers, adjusting to middle school and a 25 minute earlier start to her day. It meant taking the bus and band and choir and having responsibilities due to those extra classes. Both have had their struggles and I was able to be there for the first part of that while I was looking for work. I finally did find a job the end of September/early October and I started my new job October 9th.

Working has been a bit of a transition for all of us. I'm not home at all during the day anymore. I wake up at 5:30 in the morning to start getting ready. I wake Natalie up around 6. Sometimes Isabelle wakes up too, sometimes she wakes up later. Natalie leaves at 6:55 to catch the bus and Isabelle and I both wait for John to come home from work to take us to school/work. Some mornings things go very smoothly. Some mornings, not so much. Fridays have an additional challenge in that John is home the night before and therefore there on Friday mornings so Natalie doesn't take the bus and we all leave in time to take her to school, me to work, and Isabelle to school. John then is responsible for picking both girls up from school and he picks me up from work after that.

Nights vary. With Natalie in middle school, there's more involvement in things like concerts, plays, and other activities (thankfully she didn't go into sports!). Many of those take place at night. She had a band concert the end of October, a play this past week, and a choir concert coming up the end of the month. This adds to an already long day but naturally, I want to be there for these events as much as possible.

The days are long though and energy is limited. John's support also varies. He's pretty on top of getting the kids from school (at least I haven't gotten any calls from the school so far this year) but other areas not as much and I get the blame. I feel that despite the fact that I work longer (training has been from 8-4:30, after training I go 8-5 and will be doing overtime as well; John only works 11-7) and am up at 5:30 getting the kids up and ready for school, I'm still expected to do all the cooking, all the cleaning, and making sure the bills are paid. It's frustrating especially when my starting wage was almost a dollar more than he's making (and that's after three years) and went up another dollar the end of October.

It's enough to make me want to bang my head against a wall sometimes especially when he's also telling me I can't do this or that or the other thing because it offends his belief system. Um, sorry, no not sorry. To be honest, I really don't have much sympathy for this person who still can't get his crap together, still can't pay bills in a timely manner, goes off to his feast in another town instead of paying rent because his religion dictates it (never mind that being homeless would not be a good thing at all), and even messed up my bank account in the process by getting a parking ticket on a rental car which came out of my account because we used my card to put down the deposit to begin with.

My patience is gone. I am doing what I need to do to take care of us and beyond that, forget it. It's frustrating at times though. It really is. But all I can do is take it one day at a time, sometimes one minute at a time. Just keep on keeping on.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

I'm walking to the bus stop.

It's a mindfulness exercise I did yesterday. There are a number of things going on in my life right now and one in particular was causing a lot of anxiety. I was taking the bus downtown and since I live a few blocks from the bus stop, I took the time I was walking to really focus on the fact that I was ONLY walking to the bus stop and trying to notice what was going on around me, really notice the temperature of the air, how the wind felt on my face, the sun shining, etc. When I got to the bus stop, I continued this exercise really focusing on my body and the sensation of my socks on my feet, my feet in my boots, the sun slightly warming my face in a particular spot (it was pretty cold yesterday). It helped even after I eventually got distracted by the fact that the bus was taking awhile to get there. My anxiety did go down a little.

It's these type of skills I'm really going to have to work on in the foreseeable future. Granted, they are skills I need to practice for life but especially right now with major changes in my life on the horizon, they will be needed. I need to be calm and mindful now more than ever and for someone who is easily emotional, that will be quite a challenge. But the rewards, should I succeed, will be great. So there's that. I just have to see it as an opportunity to grow and improve.

So the next time you are out walking, try this exercise. Really focus on where you are going, not what happens once you get there but just that you are only walking to a place and focus on what your body is doing and what is going on around you as you do so.