Thursday, December 6, 2012

I Want to Run Away

Guest Post By Lynn Shattuck, a writer and mother of two.


I used to fantasize about living in a wood cabin. It would have a cozy, romantic sleeping loft, a simple kitchen and a place to write. I would gaze out the window at pine trees and take long walks. I would have luscious pillows of time to write, play, rest, read and exercise.  

Instead, I live in a lovely old house that has become a jungle of plastic toys. My past week included three birthday celebrations and the inspection of a bigger house that we had under contract. This was on top of taking care of the kids and working after they go to bed at night. On top of attempting to get ready for the impending holidays.

I find myself running from birthday party to playdate, overwhelmed and exhausted. My body pulses with cortisol. I am impatient with my kids. Daylight wanes, evaporating my energy.

Somehow, I have chosen this.

Perhaps the very act of having two children has complicated life immensely. Or maybe it’s because the partner I chose doesn’t yearn for simplicity in the same way I do, and the compromise is a busier life. Maybe in a parallel life, I live off the grid in a little straw house with a husband named Maple, and we pass the days puttering in our organic vegetable garden and washing laundry by hand.

Maybe life isn’t quite so black and white.

Whatever the cause, I find myself in the midst of a life that is busier and more complicated than feels comfortable.

Strangely, the best solution I’ve found has been to add a little more to the swirling chaos.

Usually when I get too busy and overwhelmed, the first things to get squeezed out are acts of self-care. Exercise, healthy foods and water get replaced with extra coffee and comfort foods.

So I’m trying something different, something counterintuitive. I’m adding stuff.

My husband I have been doing the Couch to 5K, using the app on our iPhones (which my parallel life me would surely scoff at). I have never enjoyed running, but lately I have been craving it. I want to be fast, efficient. I want to keep up with myself. So we take turns heading out into the winter air while the other referees the kids. We jog and walk through the nearby cemetery. There is something about moving my body faster that lifts the extra fog from my brain, leaving me sweaty, focused and present. The bare trees (and the gravestones) remind me that nature is slowing down. Everything morphs, every phase passes; the busy ones, the hard ones, the sweet ones.

And while physically moving faster, my brain slows down. The chattering shards of thoughts disperse. My mood lifts. I focus only on getting through the next 20 seconds of running.This reminds my body that I can only do one thing at a time: focus on the next task at hand. Breathe. Hear the crunch of the leaves. Move your body.

Right now, there is no cabin, no simple life. But something about running leaves me able to deal a little better. To meet the chaos with gratitude for this full life, these busy days.

What do you do when things get busier and more complicated than you’d like?

1 comment:

  1. I love this Lynn... I like your approach of adding something vs. reducing the things in your schedule. I feel this same way about my Yoga Practice. Thanks for your lovely thoughts and words!- Kate