Thursday, March 27, 2014

Missing in Action

Beginning the year I set a goal to write a blog post every week.  Like many New Year's goals, I made it until about a month ago and have run into failure.  I hit a wall with my writing and though I've sat down to write something repeatedly, I could get nothing to come out.  I wouldn't feel quite so guilty about it if I'd been writing something, somewhere but even that was a failure.  But as with any failure, anywhere, where there is failure there is opportunity to learn and improve.

So what led to this particular failure.  I've been stuck in my own damn head.  I'm at the burn out point between Jimmy's hockey schedule, Marilyn's declining or at the very least non-improving health and shitty Dr's, and the weather we've had this winter.  Cabin fever has begun to set in for everyone in the house, even the damn dog.  It's March 27th and last week we had a night where it fell to -13 and we still have about four feet of snow on the ground.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy snowshoeing but when that's all that really available for you to do and you're an outside kind of person after awhile it wears on you.

But the reality is those are just excuses.  They're daily obsticles to overcome and work around and that's what I've been focusing on the past couple of weeks.  While I haven't written anything of record until today, I did begin writing in a daily journal once again a few days ago.  It's nothing big, mostly reporting on the weather and what I did throughout the day but it's writing.  And I'm finding even with that I fit in a few personal observations now and then so it's beginning to help break down some barriers.

I've been on contact with some friends with open ears.  Living up where we do, so far away from my support system was rough this winter.  I had no time to get away for even a day or two for over 6 months due to Jimmy's hockey schedule and that locked me in at home with no way to relieve stress or to really talk to anyone about what was going on in my head.  Yes, I could talk to my wife.  But that's not what I need(ed).  Sometimes you need independet third parties to either listen or tell you to stop being a bitch.  Those are the people I've been in contact with.  A good support system isn't just there to make you feel better, it's there to pick you back up when you fall.  While it's not the same as having face to face conversations, I'm very much trying to embrace the use of technology as an aid until we can move closer to those people.

Reading.  This is awesome for a multitude of reasons.  One is that it will help me with my writing.  Writers should read.  It's the best way to improve your craft and any writer will tell you that.  (Believe me, I've read it 100 times at this point).  Another reason why reading is so great is that it can open up your mind and make you see issues from multiple perspectives.  In the past couple of weeks I've read three books which have really helped me.  Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell, The Alchemist by Paulo Coehelo, and The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.  All three books had great messages about living life, overcoming adversity, and goal setting.  One of the main messages I received from all three was to focus on the task at hand and not worry about what's going to come later.  To live in the moment.  This was key to Luttrell getting through BUDS (Basic Underwater Demolition) training (Navy SEAL training for those who aren't aware) and as it was the first of the three I read it was on my mind as I read the other two.  That is an area that I've always had a lot of trouble with and something I'm now striving to make a strength.  Writing this post is part of that process.

Action.  Trying not to sit still can be something to overcome once you hit a point of feeling stuck.  The key to getting unstuck is to begin moving.  Sometimes it's forward but often times you may need to retrace your steps.  Moving back words can be a pain in the ass but is often a necessary pain in the ass.  I had a football coach in high school that used to tell us all the time, "you have to give ground to gain ground."  As I understood it then, stepping back or allowing yourself to be moved back can often put you in a better position to make a play.  It's the same thing with life.  Sometimes we try to push so far forward that we remove ourselves from the optimal position for reaching our goal.  Recognizing this is hard but is necessary.

Keeping a positive mental attitude.  Are some days going to suck?  Absolutely.  Am I going to get down from time to time?  No doubt about it.  However, in those times, if nothing else, I simply try to keep pushing.  If I don't feel great on a particular day or am pissed off, I try get at least one thing done.  Perhaps it's just putting the dishes in the washer or throwing in a load of laundry.  By doing that, it's one less thing on my list.  Even if it's simply something small, I know that when it's done I don't have to worry about it anymore and that free's my mind up a little bit.  The idea of sitting to write this today seemed almost terrifying.  So when I pulled out the computer I did it with the intention of just getting the first paragraph down.  Once that was accomplished I did the second, and so on.  I set a small, attainable goal and let it go from there.  Sometimes that's all that needed to get one started.

Regardless of everything else, this winter has been a learning experience and has been fairly enlightening.  Both myself and my wife have learned about of lot of things we're not overly happy with which is turn has and will continue to open up our minds in search of things that we prefer.  Moving is one of those.  While we like many things about our current location, it's time to move on and to find a home that's better suited to our needs.  However, we tried it and I feel as though for the most part we've succeeded in what we were attempting to learn and experience living here.  And as always, when times get tough, we try to step back and enjoy the simple things.    

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