Tuesday, June 30, 2009

When we stop trying to be better, we stop being good.

I think I'm neurotic. High strung. A worry wart. Slightly nutty.

Damn it.

I thought I had it together. I used to take yoga! I believe in karma! I believe in letting things be.

But oh, how I suck at it.

Remember my post on surrendering? Yeah, apparently, it is worse than I thought. I am worse than I thought. And I've gotta do something about it.

So...after that post, I had been giving a lot of thought to that concept of surrendering, and have been trying to be more aware of how often I am doing exactly the opposite. Unfortunately, it's more often than I care to admit, and I don't really like that about myself.

Take the last couple of days, for instance...

On Sunday, I wanted to go for a run on the beach. I needed to go for a run on the beach. All alone. No kids. No husband. Nothing but me and my iPod. But it was a bad South Florida weather day...major storms looming, high chances of rain in the forecast. But I thought (okay, I forced myself to think): "So what? If it rains, I'll get a little wet. I'll run to my car. I'll go home." When I got to the beach, I was fascinated to see that in spite of the forecast and ominous skies, it was packed. We're talking whole families with canopies, hammocks, tables of food, toddlers in playpens.... If they were able to enjoy their cloudy day and toss the Frisbee around and wade in the water, why couldn't I enjoy my run? As I ran, I made myself not think about the storm, not try to predict the pattern of the clouds, not try to measure how many blocks away my car was if the storms did start. After about 40 minutes, the winds started picking up and the restaurants started pulling down their rain shields, and yet the families and their all-day beach gear remained. Oh what I would give to be that optimistic, that free of worry... As I forced myself to continue my run in the opposite direction of my car and towards the black looming clouds (just to prove to myself that I could go against my instincts), I maintained a constant inner dialogue: "I'm not worried about the rain. I've run in the rain before. No biggie. Even a little lightening...nothing new in South Florida in the summer. I mean, really, what are the statistical chances of getting struck by lightening? And those people...they're not packing up. Gee, maybe they should. Look at that...they have a playpen! And 2 canopies! And there are three small children too. How will they get all those toys packed up in time? Just keep running, Liz. They're not worrying. You aren't either."

In the end, the rains did come. And hard. The kind of pelting, painful, sudden sheets of rain that shock you with their violence. And I did not get struck by lightening. And I did make it to the car. And I am sure so did all of those families.

Then there was yesterday. We had Babysitting scheduled. We had been looking forward to a day on the beach, just the two of us, no sandy diapers or beach toys. But again, the weather forecast was not good, to put it mildly. Hubby suggested we throw a bag with our suits and some towels in the car, drop off the kids, and just "play it by ear." Sure. OK. I can do that. Yeah. I can do that. I guess.

"Um, honey? If we don't go to the beach, what are we doing all day? Should I wear make up? Should I check the movie times? What if we do go to the beach and we didn't pack anything to eat? Should I check the weather online for the 100th time just to be sure?"

(Yes, I know. Sometimes I'm shocked he's married to me too.)

End result? We had a lovely brunch at a beach side restaurant. We managed to squeeze in two hours at the beach with a few patches of sun, even. We went to dinner on South Beach at a lovely Italian restaurant. We had wine at a sidewalk bar. We even went swimming at night in our pool. And somehow, miraculously, we managed to dodge the on-again off-again showers all day long...without even trying.

All that worrying...wasted (as most worrying is). We had a great day and decent weather. And if the weather had sucked, my worrying would not have made one damn bit of difference.

At some point during the day, I made some half-hearted joke about my futile attempts at micromanaging everything, even the weather. And hubby pointed out how I had gotten "a little worse" about my stressing over things over the last couple of years and how it "wasn't good" for me or "the boys" (and I am sure he was thinking "himself" too). He's right. Who wants to be around someone like me all the time? When my neurotic, controlling, pessimistic loved ones behave that way, I roll my eyes. When my 3-year-old shows evidence of his own worrisome ways ("But Mama, if I go on my boogie board, the salt water might hurt my eyes...") I have to force myself to be patient. These are qualities I don't like in others. I have to admit that maybe the reason for that is because they remind me of myself.

We were cleaning out our guest room closet the other night, and I came across a note my friend wrote me a long time ago, during a particularly stressful time in my life: "Just Be." So simple. Be. Exist. Surrender.
I am trying.


  1. You are describing ME. ME ME ME. It's so hard to be us, isn't it? Keep trying, though. Keep being present and aware. That's the best we can do sometimes.

  2. I too am always worrying about what could happen. Its hard to 'just be sometimes' but we should try harder I guess:) Loved your post!And Im glad you had a great time in the end:)


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