Calendar

I like organization and planning. Every year for Christmas at least one if not several people buy me post-it notes or some other office supply. In the past, when I was in a relationship with someone, I would try to get them to have a shared calendar – that way we would both know where the other person was, what they had coming up, etc. Every time though I always ended up being the only person who looked at and updated the calendar thus defeating the whole purpose. I was the one who needed to keep track of things and was responsible for making sure the other person knew where and when they should be places. That’s never what I wanted. I wanted someone who wanted to share in planning and looked forward to upcoming events together. I wasn’t looking for someone else to take care of, falling into the role of personal assistant more than girlfriend.

So now I have a relatively new boyfriend and again broached the subject of a shared calendar. It’s 2013 so this one is electronic and syncs with our respective gmail accounts. I posted lots on it initially – upcoming weekend plans and our weekly volleyball game – and then hadn’t looked at it in awhile. I was checking something recently when I noticed an addition. The BF is going away for the weekend soon and posted his travel dates to the calendar. He also labeled the day we plan to celebrate my birthday as ‘discothèque’ in reference to my desire to go out dancing.

Just thinking about him taking the time to post those two items almost makes me cry. Which is ridiculous I know but what can I say, I am a total girl on this. The tears are cathartic. I have been waiting for this for a long time. Waiting for an equal partner who shares responsibility and seeks to communicate and is as excited to spend time with me as I am with him.

The cheerleaders I coach have all met the boyfriend. The other day one of them was lamenting her boy troubles to me and made the comment that she needs someone just like my boyfriend – and I agree. Each of us deserve someone who is equal parts willing to take care of us and who lets us care for them in return, a true partnership. I hope we love ourselves enough to refuse to settle. Wait for the one who will keep a calendar with you…or whatever quirky metric you have :)

Two Miles

Every time I get back to running, starting is always the hardest part. I spent the day today with my boyfriend who lives in a city about an hour north of where I live. We talked yesterday about our plans for today and I mentioned sneaking in a run at some point. I had made a promise to myself that when we changed our clocks so it would be lighter later, I would start running outside again. Before I was actually able to pack my running gear though I had to find it. That may give you some indication of exactly how long it’s been since I got off my lazy arse. Two closets and many drawers later I found  my winter running  gear. That was actually the most progress I had made in my running goal as before I just thought about looking for my gear without ever doing it.

So with running shoes packed, I headed out. I originally planned to run in the morning. Then we decided to see a movie and there just wasn’t enough time to run, shower and get ready. After the movie we did some shopping and got back a little after 5:00. At that point I was pretty much out of excuses. We would start dinner closer to 7:00 so there was lots of time. I got dressed and went online to plan a route. I only wanted to do two miles and the bf was fairly certain that I could run a big block on the nearby streets and have a two mile route. He was right so I set out.

I guess it’s like that quote about a journey of a million miles starting with one step. Each tiny bit of preparation gets me closer to my ultimate goal. While these small things in isolation seem manageable, I quickly become overwhelmed by the totality of it. Tonight I ran two miles. By August, I want to run a ten mile race and set a new personal best. I would like to make it in 1:20 but think 1:24 is more manageable. Running two miles at around a 9 minute pace makes August seem very close indeed.

I have weekly goals that I set out for myself in all aspects of my life. Last week’s goals included things like find a new running plan, hang mirror in bedroom, eat a fruit or veggie with each meal, etc. I didn’t meet all of them but this week’s goals will certainly include following the running schedule. I also want to look back over Geneen Roth’s eating guidelines. Here is a link if you want to check them out: Eating Guidelines

I think Geneen offers a balanced approach to thinking about food and it resonates with me. It’s certainly not easy but I think a much more sustainable way of eating. Speaking of eating, I am sitting on the couch writing this feeling completely satiated. The lovely and talented bf made me dinner which included roasted broccoli with olive oil, salt, pepper and a touch of lemon, with shrimp scampi. I cannot cook at all so dating someone with kitchen prowess is simply wonderful. As soon as I finish this entry I am planning to make my way to the freezer where I know he has thin mints. In that case, I better just end this now.

Jennifer & Jessica

I have been contemplating rejoining Weight Watchers recently. I chalk this up to several things including a very motivating ad campaign with a heavy presence on Hulu (my primary source of media exposure due to not having cable television), feeling chubby and slug-like at the end of winter, and being totally overwhelmed  by the prospect of changing my diet in a meaningful way.

Here though are the reasons why this would be a terrible decision:
Last time I was a member I became hyper obsessed with food and didn’t enjoy eating anymore
For me, it’s not a sustainable way to eat. Counting calories or points or whatever feeds into my OCD tendencies and makes me a crazy person
I like to think of myself as a follower and believer of Geneen Roth ‘s way of thinking and she would tell me it is a bad idea

Why then is it so daunting a task to make out a meal plan for the week, put together a shopping list, and go to the store to buy what I need?

I started reading Tosca Reno’s book on clean eating and liked a lot of what she had to say. I also enjoy Michael Pollan. Those ladies who wrote the Skinny Bitch series are a little too mean. I need moderation. Eating at either extreme leaves me either fat and sluggish or skinny and angry.

I feel like I’ve successfully talked myself in a circle. I have a sense that I need more structure in my eating but I can’t seem to identify one that adequately meets my needs.

I understand that I probably would benefit from a diet higher in proteins and complex carbohydrates and a bit less sugar. Okay maybe a lot less sugar. I don’t like meat though and after months of trying to like chicken I think I will go back to being a pescatarian (no meat but yes to fish, eggs, etc.) So incorporate more non-meaty proteins.

I guess the real issue is why do I eat what I eat. The odd part is that it’s not necessarily because I like it or even because I’m hungry.

Here are some of the top reasons I have identified as to why I eat:

Habit
I always order a coke/Pepsi when I go out to eat – it doesn’t even taste that good and I do it mostly for the caffeine
I eat at the times when people are “supposed” to eat
I eat the same things I’ve eaten before even when they upset my stomach or don’t taste very good

Boredom
Well…it gives me something to do…

Exhaustion
Food is a quick pick-me-up especially if it contains lots of sugar

Stress/Anxiety/Procrastination
I find these to be very interrelated. If I am stressed  or anxious about something then I want to avoid it and if I’m eating instead then it buys me some time. The thing is though the thought of something stressful is normally much worse than the thing itself. I create a lot of false emergencies perhaps partly to excuse the purported “stress eating.” Avoidance and procrastination are recurring themes even though I know rationally I am capable of confronting and dealing with almost any problem. Emotionally I have far less confidence in myself.

Okay so if these are the reasons I eat when I am not hungry and/or am eating things I don’t like, then to address these issues is to find a more permanent solution to my food dilemmas.

That is my real problem with programs like Weight Watchers. If there are reasons other than not knowing how to make good food choices that have lead you to being overweight, then you will never  be successful until you figure out the deeper issues and a healthful outlet. When I attended meetings before I remember one short session on such issues. The leaders aren’t trained mental health professionals though and other than losing weight themselves, possess no skills or credentials to help people sort that through.

So here I go. Now that I’ve had some time to wax poetic on the issue, the real work begins. I’m going to start with exhaustion – stop blogging and go to bed at a decent time. I’ll keep you posted on working through some of the other issues.

Judgy Pants

It’s the end of February in Michigan and inevitably every year around this time I begin to question my life choices. Namely, how did I get to doing this job in this place and where exactly did all of the excess winter weight come from? The weight thing is easy. Every May I start a running program to train me up to run a 10 mile race in August. I am in prime race form running a swift (for me) 8:15ish pace. As soon as I cross the finish line I begin making promises to myself that this year I will keep up with the running. I will find other races during the year to maintain motivation, I will break out the cold weather gear and be a true year round runner. Then I find myself on my couch three weeks later making excuses and swearing I’ll go next time. Three weeks turns into three months and before I know it, April has arrived along with the panic that I won’t be in shape enough to start training in May. I frantically start treadmill running since, for those of you who have not had the pleasure of a Michigan winter, it is often still snowing through the first couple weeks of my birthday month. While in the past in-shape me would venture out into the cold to tackle a five mile morning run, that level of intensity is absent from out-of-shape sloth-like me. While it’s not yet crunch time for May training, I hauled myself onto a treadmill the other day and was barely able to eek out two miles at a 9 minute pace. It was rather excruciating and I wanted so badly to capture and retain that feeling to later retrieve post-August race so I would not yet again lapse back to laziness.

I guess the real truth of the matter is I am by nature a semi-motivated individual who has difficulty sustaining momentum and without some sort of larger goal, pitters out quickly.

Currently I am unhappily wearing the largest and least cute items in my wardrobe. This particular April I will be turning thirty and had an idea that by this point in my life I would have somehow worked through all my character flaws including my predilection for taking on huge life changes but quickly abandoning them as soon as it became tough, tedious, or frustrating. I am not as flaky professionally however see myself as lacking the gumption necessary for successful follow-through and completion. I like lists so here’s one of my outstanding life projects accompanied by the approximate start date just to give you an idea how long some of these have drug out:

  • Run a marathon – Several false starts on this… best guess on a start date is training for the Detroit Marathon in October 2008
  • Finish painting/remodeling my bedroom – June 2012
  • Run five miles 2 – 3 times per week, year round – August 2012
  • Complete remodel on back room of house – June 2011
  • Pick a paint color for my living room/dining room – October 2012
  • Take the LSAT – 2004/2005 – around the time I was finishing up undergrad

I feel like a blob inside and out. I don’t necessarily find my work intellectually stimulating and sense my brain is slowly turning to mush for lack of use. To clarify, I love the students that I get to work with, I just don’t think this is a long-term fit for how my mind works. Once I figure something out, I need a new challenge. I thought it would take me five or so years to reinvent the program where I work – looks like I was about three years too long on that guess. While I’m not done yet, I foresee a need to make some significant changes or risk serious burnout. I am incredibly lucky to have a supportive supervisor who is encouraging me to explore other avenues complementary to my day to day work. I have been struggling for awhile with my next steps and larger life goal when it came to me the other day. I think I finally know what I want to be when I grow up.

A judge.

So I absolutely understand this is a long-term goal. First identifiable steps being take the LSAT, apply to law school, go to law school, get some experience and then judgeship!

As a baby step I found a meditation training offered in my area starting this June. It is every Friday during that month plus once in July for a total training time of 40 hours. The icing on the cake is when discussing with the boss lady, she felt like it would be applicable to my current job so in addition to providing me with release time, she is going to cover the entire cost of the training.

Suddenly February doesn’t seem so bad.

P.S. Having a boyfriend willing to go to a five hour cheerleading competition where your squad only performs for three minutes just because he knows it’s important to you…that also makes for a pretty awesome month

P.P.S. Aforementioned boyfriend was also smart enough to figure out that while I said I didn’t want to make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day and also didn’t want to do gifts that what I really meant was I have secret hopes that my life is in fact a romantic comedy and not only did I desire a magical evening out together but flowers delivered to me at my office would be the perfect gesture. I like to think that I have been making deposits into the good karma bank for some time now and this man is the culmination of my savings. He is seriously fabulous. And I do mean that in the straightest way possible.

Recruited

Several things:

First, this morning I looked out my kitchen window and saw that my lawn was mowed. Except I didn’t mow it. For several weeks now actually. It looks as if someone paid a company to do it as the mower tracks on my driveway look commercial. Does this mean I am now an object of pity/scorn in the eyes of my neighbors? I am actually okay with that as I seriously hate yard work.

Second, I accidentally shut my cat in the refrigerator tonight. He’s fine. I found him before too long.

Third, I ate hot dogs for dinner. Which says to me this single thing ain’t so bad.

Now onto the title of today’s blog. As a single person who lives alone it is often assumed I have lots of time on my hands to take on projects. This is actually pretty true. My newly discovered singlehood danger of the week: being the new cheerleading coach at the college where I work.

The thing is now even if I wanted to spend some real quality time with an intriguing member of the opposite sex I don’t have any. I work until 5, practice starts at 5:30 and I am lucky if I’m home before 8:30. At which time I put on PJs, microwave hot dogs, and go to bed. The girls cheer for men’s basketball. We have 17 home games this season. So not only should I kiss good-bye any romantic interests (pun intended) but my friends won’t remember who I am come springtime.

Here’s the crazy part though. I love it. I get to work with college students which is already one of my favorite things but in a totally different context from my day job. I was always on athletic teams growing up and never realized how rewarding coaching is…which is a good thing since it’s a totally volunteer gig :) I have already seen girls do what they didn’t think they could and astound themselves. That is such an incredible lesson not just for school but life. Okay so I guess I should have warned you it was going to get cheesy and philosophical but I can’t help it.

I may get a cool t-shirt so that is exciting. I’ll have to buy it myself but still…

Overthinking

I had a fabulous conversation with a single female coworker this past week. We were heading to a restaurant/bar after work for a meeting. It went something like this:
Me: I am seeing this boy and want to ask him to come over here later and meet up with us. Is that weird? What should I say?
Her: ummm no that’s good. Let’s see – say something and make sure it seems really casual. Like hey I am just over this way for work if you want to stop by.
Me: Are you sure? That’s not too weird?
Her: Yeah. But only send it if you can accept that you may get a no. It’s already almost 7 so is unreasonable to count on a yes.
Me: Okay. So tell me what to write exactly.
Her: Um. I don’t know. I can’t remember the last time I had a boyfriend. Maybe you should wait and ask one of the guys.

Which is exactly what I did. Waited until one of the guys met us at the restaurant and crafted the following: I ended up at Bar XXXX for some work stuff – if you’re in the neighborhood you should stop by

All that mental energy for one text. Which is completely ridiculous! And I realize this but can’t seem to help myself. I am an epic fail at feigned casualness. He ended up not able to come but I did get to hang out with him the next night. At which time he met a couple of my work colleagues who immediately after introducing themselves congratulated him. Classy.

I guess this is really just part 2 of the previous post on all the reasons why I stink at dating. Actually I could probably come up with a pretty good list. A couple that I know off hand:
I talk a lot, especially when I am nervous and tend to monopolize the conversation
I like to tell stories about my cats
I pick outfits based almost entirely on comfort
I show pictures of my cats
I’m terrible with pop culture references
I offer to give the person a cat from my backyard
I have no poker face
I can’t cook so if I want to make someone dinner we are having spaghetti

There’s nothing really to be done though. I am exactly who I am. I have friends, people who like me. Definitely not ‘cool’ but never really have been. More of a nerdy type. I’m not going to fake it to manipulate you into liking someone who isn’t real. So I am going to continue to overthink. And be my same bad self. And by bad I mean super rule follower goody two shoes nerd.

Poker Face

Dating sucks. I am not any good at it. I also am not any good at poker. I just suck at bluffing. I was seeing this guy for a minute and I tried really hard to play it cool. He interpreted that as me being judgmental and aloof. But if I am honest and tell someone how I feel, don’t I risk scaring them off? That guy turned out to be super sensitive so it wouldn’t have worked long term anyways. If you drive a jeep with a lift kit on it and can’t handle someone making fun of you…then obviously we were not MFEO. (Got that off an episode of Private Practice – made for each other.)

I feel like Goldilocks searching for the bed that is just right. Wait – that could be misconstrued. Maybe it’s better to discuss using the porridge metaphor instead. Not too hot and not too cold. I tend to get one of two situations: I am very interested and they are indifferent or they are very interested and I could care less. It is so rare and challenging to meet someone who you like and who likes you back in equal measure. This could be why I tend to stick with cats.

I guess what makes it harder is that I didn’t think I was going to be playing poker anymore. I met someone I liked a lot, had fun with, fell in love with, and he asked me to marry him. Then at some point after he had done the asking, he changed his mind. Just wanted to go back to being boyfriend and girlfriend. After he had proposed. And we were engaged. And he had introduced me as his fiancée. Anyone whose known me for more than thirteen seconds can imagine how well this went over. I just couldn’t trust him anymore. He made a commitment to me and to us and when it got scary, he bailed. I like how my mom put it though – it was a successful engagement. It helped us realize it wouldn’t work longterm. Or at least helped me realize this. Looking back there were flags – red, yellow, etc. But for whatever reason I ignored them. So now in addition to being single again I am weary. Not of other people but the ways in which I lie to myself and allow myself to settle. I am trying to be cautious and find myself more picky. Perhaps selective is a better way to phrase that :)

Returning to the dating world after an almost marriage is defeating. I guess it’s similar to anyone trying to get back out there after being in a committed relationship. It takes time to establish a level of comfort similar to what you’re used to. I am notoriously impatient through this getting to know you phase which is ultimately where I scare people off. I asked a friend if I may come off as intimidating and he replied “well if you said and did all the things you normally do then yes.” Not encouraging. When soliciting dating advice from male counterparts I am told constantly not to over-think it. I just wrote a blog post on it. We are so far past over-thinking.