Sunday, July 4, 2010

Navel gazing at it's worst

You know how at the end of How the Grinch Stole Christmas he realizes that "maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store"? Well, I was sitting and watching the world go by today and thinking of all the ways I went wrong with my kids on this exhausting, hot, busy July 4th when I realized "maybe Fulfillment doesn't come from a marathon". I don't know why my Mommy Fail ponderings led me to think about running but who am I to try and understand my brain?

It occurs to me that I have been using running as a place holder of sorts until I figure out my next move. I, in fact, ran into a friend on my 15 mile outing on Saturday and told him I was thinking of doing another marathon in September and suddenly heard myself saying "well, I've got to do SOMETHING until I figure out what I want to be when I grow up." I had never consciously thought those words but, whomp, there it was.

I started training with bit of seriousness after I left teaching and began running my day care. "Hello, need for extrinsic rewards!" I'm not sure what sort of epiphany I thought would happen after I had my first (or my second or my third...) crack 26.2. I imagine it was something similar to what I thought would happen when I graduated magna cum worked-too-hard... or got a role I wanted in a musical... or gave birth without meds... or Lord knows whatever ideal "thing" I set in my mind as the way a smart, tough, please-let-the-world-approve-and-maybe-be-a-teeny-bit-impressed kind of woman behaves.

Whooo. That was a lot of thoughtful stuff for a Sunday night considering I haven't even had a glass of wine.

So... if running is a place holder and I haven't a clue what's next, I guess I'll just keep on running and hope that when I figure out "The Thing I'm Meant To Be" I still have the drive to hit the road a few times a week and see what's out there.


  1. Phoebe--
    You're right: I can totally relate to this post. I used exercise as a "place holder" while going through my divorce. By focusing on exercise, it meant I didn't have to think about painful stuff.
    Thanks for sharing. (And, oh, am I a terrible person, or just a former copy editor, if I point out it's "navel gazing," not "naval gazing." Unless you are staring at a bunch of sailors while typing... ";>)

  2. I do enjoy those boys in uniform... But it was completely my stupidity. Thanks for letting me know!

  3. In MY case it IS 'naval' gazing. Sigh...... (P.S. San Diego was heaven for that hobby.) In other news....

    (I'm gonna be harsh) And she said, "thinking of all the ways I went wrong with my kids" ---Girl, change that script! Until they start building bombs (instead of blogs) or terrorizing playgrounds (at the very least)---give yourself a break!!!! My advice (free of charge once as always) is to rewrite the script, starting with the words you use in your head--stop being so hard on yourself. [And I'm NOT talking the 'fake' happy affirmations that bog down Facebook updates either! But, thoughts that doubt should get thrown out--especially since you have PROVEN to YOURSELF you CAN achieve!]

    Um, oh yeah, and seriously...give yourself a break!

    You don't know what you're missing in your life until you actually have TIME to miss it. Yeah, I know mommies don't really have time for all that lux 'free' time, but if you have time to run 26.whatever miles, you have time! The best thing for a sadistic overachiever like yourself (coming from someone who knows all too well what that feels like---save for the birthing without meds thingamajiggy) is to stop chasing the tail and be bored. When you're climbing the walls instead of barking up the wrong trees--your heart truly starts to recognize the pieces of Phoebe that are missing. Let THAT draw you back to the things that really speak to your overactive brain! [Feelings of withdrawal (especially the endorphin kick from running), like you're wasting time or that you're indulging when you should be... is totally natural, BUT that's part of the process.]

    There's a great Thoreau quote that some marketing genius threw on a magnet that I let live squarely on my fridge all by it's lonesome (right there front and center so I see it every time I go to eat myself happy 'cause running to the grocery store for Breyers became an Olympic event in my particular case)--"Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder..."

  4. Thank you, Chris! Your responses to my blog posts are so appreciated. I'm touched that you would take the time to think about and write such thoughtful thinks... I will work on putting down the butterfly net.

  5. Well ('So' so wouldn't work here right?), Phoebe...I don't know how to be any other way--so (voila!), I do apologize if I tend to offend here and there. Obviously, I don't know your situation as well as I probably should but the one thing that I know for certain (am I quoting Oprah now? Oy) is that parenting is 75% presence and for that you have gone above and beyond for the little men in your life. You made the participation in their life a full time job during the most impressionable time of their life, so don't ever doubt you did the right thing and that one day that investment will finally feel divine. Just keep breathing and I promise to keep the word count down! Big hugs.

  6. Oh come on! Naval gazing is so much more fun than navel gazing!