Balance. That elusive thing that so many of us struggle with, women especially. I have been struggling with it more so than usual since I started full-time hours. Have I ever really had it though? In the years that I was at home with the kids, no. I had an orderly house, reasonably stimulated and entertained kids, but a husband that had checked out, and a deep, lingering sense of purposelessness that I tried to mask with my increasing mastery of the domestic arts. But I felt unappreciated, unloved, frumpy.
The end of my marriage was a very sudden amputation. But a miraculous new limb grew from my wound, and very quickly. I felt freer from the moment the moving van left. I was a better friend, a happier mother, and had nothing but open, wide road in front of me.
That was five years ago. It’s been quite a ride, with many highs and a handful of lows. I experimented with relationships and discovered that I could be desirable. I created a new career for myself. I became healthier in mind and body. I revelled in the ability and freedom to make adult decisions on my own, unencumbered by resentment and silent acquiescence.
I have come so far, left so many things behind, keeping only the best of the best.
Then the smallest little comment, said in a careful, loving way, but offhand at the same time, sent my mind back to those years of being married to someone disengaged, resentful and passive-aggressive. A trigger, set unwittingly by my most loving partner, but one that set off a cascade of anxiety and fear.
All because he commented that my saying to him (even in the humorous way that I did) to tell him it was his job on Christmas day to make sure that everyone had drinks. It triggered him back to his own unhealthy marriage, where his ex-wife was controlling and demeaning to the worst degree.
He said to me, but you are not her. You are not like this at all.
Which is how it, momentarily, took him by surprise. He mentioned it then moved on. But my mind dwelled. And days later I am still trying to shake it off.
I guess we all live with ghost that come out of the woodwork from time to time. He is not my ex. He is engaged, happy, loves me like he’s loved no one before. My reaction is disproportionate to his intent. I know that. But it is still unsettling.
Today though I will move on, press through, focus on the good and what I can do with a full week of vacation still ahead of me.
Which leads me back to balance. I have only one resolution for 2015: to work less. I went full throttle into full-time work in the fall, at the expense of the other things in my life that contribute to my wellness. Healthy eating, downtime, and above everything, exercise. My body doesn’t feel or look as good as I am used to, and this has dragged me down too. It is cumulative.
If I were feeling as healthy and attractive as I normally do, maybe that comment wouldn’t have brought up everything it did? It is the little things. Little things that cumulatively add up to a lot.
So now I’m going to get dressed for the gym. Make my bed. Put a bit of makeup on. Make the kids a nice breakfast. Get out of the house and get some sun on my face.