Snap out of it.

I’ve not really felt like I’ve been my best self lately. I’m not happy about or proud of this.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been angry and irritated and impatient and intolerant and sarcastic and potty-mouthed  and snarky and frustrated and tearful and pretty negative all round. I’ve been withdrawn and I’ve bailed on team sporting commitments. I’ve been tired all the time, and I’ve not been making good food choices.

Work has been unpredictable and stressful for some time, and all the change and uncertainty has left me feeling anxious and generally uneasy – but this is really no excuse. This is just not me.

I’ve been a real wet blanket. don’t even want to be around me lately, so I don’t know how others have tolerated me.

Ordinarily, I am a pretty cheerful person; even when things are tough I can usually manage to slap a smile on my face and muster a little enthusiasm. Lately, I’ve barely tried. I know I certainly can’t be upbeat all the time, however I do think there is something to be said for always doing your best. While one’s “best” is of course bound to change depending on how one is feeling in that moment, even stressed and tired, I know I could be putting in more effort.

The only thing that is certain right now is that the next few weeks will continue to be exhausting and stressful.

Life

Four Christmases

Wreath

I’m not really sure why, but I always feel a deep sadness on Christmas Day. Perhaps it’s knowing that it will soon be over for another year, or having unrealistic expectations of what Christmas should be like, or maybe it’s just the general stress of the holiday season and the amplification of family dysfunction getting the better of me.

Whatever it is, I was not looking forward to running the gauntlet of Four Christmases (sounds something like a cheesy Hollywood film, doesn’t it…) this year on Christmas Day.

Swimming pool

I woke early so that I could get a swim in before the festivities started. An early morning Christmas swim has become somewhat of a tradition for me – the solitude of the pool and the repetitive meditative nature of the strokes through the water calms my mind, and I feel less guilt over all the calories that I know I am about to imbibe.

The exchange of gifts between Mr Posy, the furkids and I was left until quite late this Christmas morning – there was beetroot to be roasted, chorizo to be fried and broad beans to be shelled for salads, and presents for Mr Posy’s folks to be wrapped.

PosyDog

As a small child, I would poke holes in the wrapping paper of my gifts under the tree, too excited and impatient to wait until Christmas. Now that I’m older, I never want to unwrap my gifts. It means Christmas will soon be over. I try to delay the unwrapping as long as possible (in fact, I still have one gift left to unwrap…). PosyDog does not feel the same, and let us know as such throughout the morning. When she was finally allowed to open her gift, she ripped into it, eager to play with her new toy.

Mr Posy / PosyDog / Miss Posy & Niece Posy

Soon after presents, and a video-call with my brother who is holidaying interstate with his girlfriend, it was on to our first stop of the day: lunch with Mr Posy’s family.

Niece Posy has grown so much since last year. “Merry Christmas!” she would shout over and over, while pointing at the presents under the tree. “I won!” she would yell, as she cracked bonbons with Mr Posy, her Papou, her Yiayia.

I wanted to squish her little cheeks when she unwrapped the books that we bought for her, refusing to open other gifts, instead wanting to read.

The poor kid was over it all after a couple of hours. My favourite part of this Christmas was Niece Posy curling up in my lap, because she was tired and wanted a cuddle. Nephew Posy had no idea about what was going on around him, and kept himself amused in a pile of discarded wrapping paper and ribbon.

Next stop: a half hour drive out to visit my dad and his partner in their new house. Too full from lunch, we exchanged gifts over cold beverages and took a tour of their property. An hour flew by pretty quickly, and then it was time to get back on the road and on to our third stop: Mum’s house.

The plan for Christmas with Mum was afternoon tea, but it was too hot and humid, so we skipped the coffee and gorged on chocolate brownies instead.

Mum and Dad only split a few years ago – this was the first year that we saw them separately for Christmas, and I have to say, it was a bit of an adjustment. It was pretty weird. And kind of awkward, made more so because Mum didn’t want to celebrate Christmas. I’d like to think that it is something that will get easier with time, but right now the thought of spending future Christmases out of the country is very appealing…

Swimming pool

Our fourth and final stop was back with Mr Posy’s family – his sister-in-law’s family were up from Melbourne, so we spent dinner with them. Niece and Nephew Posy had each had a three hour nap, and were back in fine form entertaining the extended family with their antics, and having a splash in the pool. Mr Posy and I later sat outside with his brother, our feet in the pool, watching the boats in the marina.

By the time we arrived home late that evening, I was exhausted. The overwhelming sense of sadness had mostly dissipated (as it often does by the time I’m back home all tucked up in my bed), and I was ready for our annual screening of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (the ultimate in family dysfunction); another Christmas tradition.

And so Christmas is well and truly over for another year. The post-Christmas ennui hit hard on Wednesday, soon after I left the madness known as the Boxing Day Sales, and even harder yesterday when it was time to return to work.

Perhaps by the time 2013 rolls around PosyKitty might have forgiven me for making her wear a polyester shirt.

PosyKitty

Groundhog Day, The Sequel

The Blackmores Running Festival was held in Sydney last Sunday, and with it, the half marathon that rain, hail or shine, I was going to run, stumble, walk or crawl to cross the finish line, as you might remember. I was so looking forward to running across the Harbour Bridge, finishing up down at the Sydney Opera House, collecting my medal, and ticking an item off my 30 by 30 list.

I think I severely under-estimated just how much of my time would be required in taking on three units for my final study period of university, on top of my full-time job. I would battle through 10-hour days in the office, drive home, set myself up with my journal articles and my MacBook, work on essays through until around 1am, finally fall into bed to sleep, only to wake up and repeat again the next day. Weekends involved trying to juggle essay writing while babysitting Niece and Nephew Posy.

Thirteen weeks, three units, twelve essays.

Mr Posy picked up the cooking (it felt like there was barely time to eat, let alone time to make dinner as well!) and cleaning duties, my sporting commitments fell by the wayside, I got behind in all my television shows, I couldn’t remember the last time I opened a book to read for fun and not for an assignment, and my friends started to forget what I looked like.

I’m not sure when I thought I was going to train for a half marathon.

I handed in my final essays for the study period a fortnight ago, today. I can’t even describe the overwhelming sense of relief, the delirium, that I felt when I pressed the ‘Send’ button for the last time.

By the end, I was up to three coffees a day (from my usual once a day, only in the morning routine), and it was still a struggle to keep my eyes open. I was wrecked.

Now, I’ve had two weeks with so much ‘spare’ time, and I feel a little bit lost. I’ve found myself researching Masters programs, downloading training plans for a half marathon, searching vendors and suppliers for our wedding next year, and coming into work on weekends.

This not-studying-thing is going to require some getting used to. In the meantime, I need to decide on a new half marathon race to run…

Groundhog Day

Do you ever feel like every day is Groundhog Day? Lately, I’ve felt like I’m living the same day over and over; like every day is the same as the last. I’m not exactly unhappy – but I am suffering a mad case of ennui.

I know that we’ve not long finished off the Christmas ham, and that we’re all dusting off our party shoes to bring in a new year, and that I should be buzzing with energy and excitement. But I’m not.

For the past few months, I’ve had dreams most nights of chopping off my hair, and at my next hair appointment in January, I plan to do exactly that. Such a plan would have previously been panic-inducing, but currently, the thought of it is exhilarating. Freeing. Change has always been a major source of anxiety for me, but right now, I’m itching for it.

I read blogs like Fit Mumma, Meals and Miles, Skinny Latte Strikes Back, and Healthy Tipping Point, and consequently I feel… restless. I want to achieve something big. Huge, even.

For months I’ve been trying to work out what that something was, and I’ve finally decided – the Blackmores Half Marathon in Sydney on Sunday 16 September 2012. Run, walk, stumble or crawl – I’m going to cross that finish line.