Monday, July 7, 2014

Reflections on a holiday float

Good Morning…..  I thought I was supposed to 
be rested and relaxed after a week of vacation???  It’s back to work this morning and I think I need a vacation to recover from my vacation, but it will be good to get back into some sort of routine.  Most of the family left yesterday; the rest will be leaving later this afternoon or tomorrow.  What a great week of fun!   We certainly had beautiful weather.  As you may have noticed, I even took a break from Facebook for a couple of days, partially because my schedule got off-kilter a bit and partially because I was spending the early morning hours working on my float for the 4th of July parade.

I guess the sign of a good vacation is going back to work, thinking… “Gosh, I didn’t get to do this… I ran out of time….. I was hoping to ….”  It seemed like I was busy constantly, but didn’t get much time in on the bike; didn’t get much rest and relaxation; didn’t even get out on the lake/boat all week….. So I keep asking myself…..what DID I do and how did the week go so fast?  Hmm…good question!

 I guess the biggest amount of time was spent the past four days working on my float for the neighborhood parade and then tearing the float down yesterday. It seems like an awful lot of work for a very short parade, but working on it gave me an opportunity to spend some time by myself reflecting on my journey.  Ironically, I had a lot of mixed emotions as I spent hours… I mean hours….putting it together; some of them good; some of them, not so good.  At first my heart wasn’t in the float, and I didn’t really commit to a float until about four or five days before the parade. My sister and her girls weren’t able to attend the reunion this year and they were an integral part of helping with the past couple of floats, so I wasn’t really excited about doing one this year, especially since I was going to have to do it all myself.  BUT…. I did…..and I had fun in the process, even though it was A LOT of work and A LOT of time went into putting it together. Like most thing in my life….I’m reluctant at first and often try to talk myself out of things, once I committed to the project I was going to do whatever I could to make it the best it could be. Very much like this journey that I am on to a healthier, happier life. And so began the float…….  

It was very warm and sunny on Thursday afternoon and I must admit, I was getting a bit cranky…..perhaps a bit resentful….after about 4 hours of tying  paper flowers and attaching decorations to the large trailer that was the base of the soon to be human “Mt. Rushmore” float.   Why did I decide to spend the last four days of my vacation doing this?  For what.....a half-hour ride through the neighborhood and campground?  Certainly I could be floating in my pool on this gorgeous sunny day….or out on the lake with the rest of the family.  Heck, I could even be taking a nap….or riding my bike…..or working in the garden…..or…  The feelings went from excitement….  “This is starting to look really cool”  to  “Hmmm….am I doing this float ALL BY MYSELF” to “Is this even worth it” ultimately ending with….  “This is YOUR float, Theresa, and you made the decision to do it, so ‘buckle down and get to work’” …..etc.   Typically, I don’t have these kind of thoughts, but for much of the past week, I was struggling with feelings of control. There was a lot of eating, drinking, and celebrating going on at the family camp and, because I chose not to partake in much of that, I spent a lot of time at home…..doing my own thing…..working on the float.  It was harder this year than in previous years to be surrounded by all the temptation and to realize that this new life means that there are very tough choices that have to be made....over and over and over again. And those choices mean that I am often the ONLY one NOT enjoying the special treats that accompany this week of family fun. There were many times this week when my commitment was challenged….not by others in my family…but by myself. There were times when I resented not being able to indulge in the festivities, especially when others were trying wonderful desserts or eating deep fried home-made potato chips, or having a cold drink.  There were times when I really felt “out of place” and “out of sorts” because my schedule (get up so early and struggled to stay awake late when others were at the campfire) and because my lifestyle differs so much from those in my family.  And yet….even though I broke routine quite a bit and ate a lot more than I typically would have (way too many protein bars and all the fruit and Greek yogurt I wanted all week), I didn’t want to get too far off track because it’s too easy to slip into old habits, even after a few years. I noticed, however, that whenever I was tired, irritated, resentful, or stressed in any way, I reached for food. Old habits die hard and I must admit I consumed more calories this week than I needed to.....most of my choices driven by emotions rather than physical hunger.   Like is said, it will be good to get back into the routine of getting up early….writing…. going to work…..eating at normal times….. and getting back to my regular schedule.  (At least for a week or so before I have another few days of vacation to celebrate my birthday next week).

So……some reminders/thoughts/conversations that filled my mind these past several days…..
My/Our personal journey is like building a float……..
Others will ENCOURAGE your decision….perhaps even push you into it…..because they know you can DO it….but ultimately, it will come down to YOU doing the work yourself.  It’s your journey….and once you make a commitment, be prepared to do the WORK yourself. Sure, there will be offers to help you….but others have their own lives….their own things they want to do….and it’s going to come down to YOU and your commitment.  There are going to be periods when you ask yourself, “Is this worth it…….Why am I doing this when everyone else is off having fun (eating, drinking, whatever)?”  You are going to want to give up; You are going to tell yourself that this was a STUPID idea; It is not always going to be FUN….(tearing the float down is like taking down the Christmas tree….not nearly as fun as putting it up).  I had to take little breaks and come back to it when I started getting frustrated.  BUT… it started to come together, I could see progress….and ultimately, I was very proud of my efforts, and YES, even though I didn’t win the contest, I certainly put the most time into my float, I still had fun and it was still work the effort I put into it.   Just like this journey…....full of emotions…..some good; some challenging…..but ultimately, worth every bit of work.  In case you can’t tell from the picture, I was George Washington for the parade.    

Sigh… will be good to get back to “routine.”  I hope you all had a great holiday weekend.