Ah, another New Year.
That time of year where we take down the Christmas decorations, make promises to ourselves that we won't keep, and screw up writing the dates on things.
Thank goodness no one writes checks anymore. I know I had to cross out the dates on those suckers for at least 2 weeks, prior to paying everything online.
But the new year is a good time to evaluate things.
For me it has been a smack in the head, or in this case, the back.
But my 3 faithful readers already know that.
The back is getting better, but it really was a wake up call.
I know I have big dreams. Remember this whole blog started because of my BHAG!!!
I was going to do an Ironman triathlon! 140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running!
As a present to myself for making it 50 times around the sun.
But here we are 2 and a 1/2 years later. Covid prevented me from accomplishing that dream.
Or did it?
Sure, in 2020 everything was shut down due to Covid, so I get that. But what about 2021?
The race I had signed up for was cancelled, but they gave me the option to transfer to a different race that year. I seriously looked at Ironman Wisconsin, even though it was in September, and I'd have to go by myself without my family.
I really wanted my family there to cheer me on.
I got my money back, and told myself the "triathlon gods just don't want me to do an Ironman".
Now, I did a half Ironman instead, but whatever. Does it really count? Perhaps.
In 2022, I did not race any triathlons. Does this mean I cannot call myself a Triathlete anymore?
I ran 2 running races, which I should not have done, because I did not train as I should have. The race in November was a joke..
Yes, I was working full time. Yes, I was still trying to figure out my job, and how to do everything as us working moms do.
I'm (still) also trying to figure out this peri-menopause stuff, because it is real and it is NOT fabulous. I have a bad attitude, lack of sleep, and 25 pounds to prove it.
Not only do I like to do "Epic Shit" as my friends call it, I also tend to make up a lot of excuses of why I did not complete the epic shit.
And that is why I need accountability!
That is why I hire coaches. It is why I sign up for "programs", like Swimvember and classes like the cardio class I've been taking. It is also why I agreed to lead a women's bike ride on Wednesdays.
It is also part of the reason I write this blog.
So my 3 followers can hold me accountable.
With my back feeling better, I am determined to get back into a shape...preferably not as round as I have become. (see image to the left.)
I've been going to PT for the past 3 weeks. As part of their practice, the doctors also offer wellness and strength coaching. Instead of going to the gym and trying to figure out what to do, they will tailor a program that will incorporate the PT for my back, take into account my screwed up shoulders, add stretching and strength (aka, "life heavy shit" for the peri-menopause) and recognize that I'm still trying to do it all, even though I said I'd be stepping back from that.
This week is my first week, and even though it didn't seem like much. I'm feeling it.
But I am still a work in progress. Because not only is my physique a mess, my head is working on things as well.
I've talked a lot about letting things go, and asking for help. This first week back to work has been a wake up call for the rest of the family too.
And today, while working, I received an email that perfectly explains what I'm trying to get at in this post.
I wrote in a previous post about one of the best sessions at the Regional Museum conference I attended in November. It had nothing to do with collections management, museum education, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, etc.
It had to do with how to be a good leader.
I walked out of that session (which I might add was the last session of the day) rejuvenated, and engaged. I wanted to know how I could be a better leader.
So, I signed up for her emails.
Now, I did not hire her to be my career coach, but the occasional emails she sends out to her mailing list has some great little tidbits that I use all the time.
Which leads me back to permission.
A lot of us set New Year's Resolutions to strive to "be better". Others have started using the "one word" idea for the year. A guiding word or intention to focus on.
Carole Ann Penney is the name of the leadership consultant/career coach (in case you want to look her up).
She too has tried all those things in the past. In fact, 2022's guiding word was "clear". Like, "sharing a clear vision with clear roles and goals"; communicating clearly with others.
It didn't work out that way. In fact she writes, "Clear felt a lot like cleaning out a basement; rolling up my sleeves and sorting through beliefs and relationships from the past; letting go of some things and moving others around into a new order."
"By the end of the year," she writes," I was tuckered out from all of the work and vulnerability of active clearing."
After all that, she said that for 2023, she is ready for the next step. It is not making a resolution, or a clear intention.
"I need permission because I've realized I need to do things differently from how I've done them in the past and that's...really hard."
This makes so much sense to me. I've been trying every year to live up to some ideal wife, mother, homemaker, employee, athlete, jack of all trades--master of none, fantasy in my head.
I call Bullshit.
It's only taken me 52 years to figure it out. Well...ok, maybe only a couple of years. But still you get the point right?
Carole Ann goes onto say about her own path:
"Giving yourself permission is an active process. It doesn't just happen--it takes intention. It requires facing what it is that's causing you to resist switching your approach. It means recognizing why it's important that you allow yourself to change, even if you're not sure of the outcome. And it means telling yourself that you will have your own back when things get tough."
She even sent along a free downloadable "permission slip" to fill out and stick on the wall to remind ourselves it is ok, and permission is granted to make changes in your life.
That's what I've been missing...permission.
Now, I still need accountability, because left to my own devices, I'll waste time like you can' believe. But now that I recognize that I can grant myself permission to make changes, maybe things will go differently.
That includes spending the money for a health coach if that is going to make me fell better. I can't take it with me, but being healthy is going to make me feel better, and in turn my joints and back may not hurt as much, and I may lose weight (which in turn will help my joints and back not hurt as much...).
Permission includes not apologizing for spending time with friends to laugh and cry and rejuvenate my soul. A weekend with the book club on the beach, or a week riding my bike along the Erie Canal Rail Trail across NY State with my Epic Shit girls will make me a better mom and wife down the road because I will be blissfully happy and ready to return to the testosterone filled home.
Permission means I may take a day off here and there to be with my family. Work will still be there. I give myself permission to take time to attend karate graduation or a unified sports basketball game. Or a snow day to play in the snow with the boys.
Permission to be me...but the good parts of me. The parts that I've been missing since 2020.
On day 5 of the new year, I have worked out or had some sort of movement (even just a half hour walk) 4 out of my 5 days.
So, bring it on 2023! I'm ready for you with my permission slip in hand!
And I didn't even have to forge my mom's signature.