Friday, June 9, 2017

The Seven Year Itch

My husband and I have reached that next milestone in our lives - the one where some of your friends start, to borrow from Gwyneth Paltrow, consciously uncoupling. We're past the expensive years of engagement parties, booze-filled destination stags and stagettes, and weddings that are all pretty much the same (rustic, outdoorsy, nature - it's all the same fucking thing okay?); past the gender reveals, the baby showers and almost past the epic over-the-top 50 person first birthday party. It's okay, I did it too. You're among friends. 

And now we're here. People slowly starting to figure out their marriages aren't working, they aren't the same people anymore, they want different things. And it's freaking terrifying for those of us on the sidelines. We huddle together, shocked when we first hear of inklings of discontent. "Wow, I had no idea. They seemed so happy. We just had a dinner/vacation/celebration with them. I never thought it was that bad" And as a husband and wife you begin to look at one another, critically, wondering what is going on beneath the surface. Wondering if there's something he's not saying. Wondering if there's someone else she is talking to. Wondering, "could that be us?" Because you thought you were close, you thought you were the same as them. You thought you'd have your whole lives together, though maybe you'd drift apart if your kids played different sports. Or you might have a disagreement over where to go on a joint family vacation. But you never thought that this could happen. To them. To you. 

Mind you, it's not happening to you. But something is happening to you. You're wondering, 
"Would I let get that far? 
How would I know when to say something? 
Should I change? 
Should he change?
Do we need a change now, like a preemptive change?
Am I overthinking this? (The answer is always, unequivocally, yes for me on this one)"

And undoubtedly, you're laying blame on these friends, as a way of supporting yourself. Telling yourself that perhaps they didn't do this, or they should have done that. And aren't you a big person for recognizing that. Pat yourself on the back. You know that by doing this you're a terrible friend. But the idea of being a terrible friend is slightly more appealing that the dark notion that you can do all these things and they might not work. They might not "save the day". That at the end of it all, no counselling, date nights, moves, new job, no job, more babies, is going to save you. Some marriages can't be saved. You don't speak your vows in front of 150 people at your rustic wedding (sorry, I had to) with the idea that your marriage might be the one. The one that doesn't last. You can have no way of knowing that 5, 7, 10 years later, you'll look at that person and decide you don't want to married to them anymore. 

So if you can't know beforehand, and by the time you realize it, it might be too late as evidenced by your surrounding friends and family, you can't not be terrified when you hear from a friend they are having "marriage problems". 

You can't not wonder, "are we okay?" But you can grab the wheel, you can continue to drive the car you are in, even if your friends aren't driving the same way anymore. You can say to your spouse "I'm scared and I want to be okay."

~ H

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Race Day

Race day
I know. I haven't written in ages. No excuses. I just haven't written. Let's move on. Because today is RACE DAY!
For those of you who have not had a race day, I want to explain my process to you. Because race day is like the first day of school. Increased by 1,000. The night before race day, I am silent. Don't talk to me because I am busy processing every iota of what will be tomorrow. I am laying out my swimsuit, sports bra, bike shorts, shirt, and socks. I'm making my overnight oats, while muttering to myself "don't forget your earbuds, water bottle, goggles, swim cap, money, change of clothes, wait, did I make a water bottle? WHERE ARE MY EARBUDS?!?!" I'm walking myself through the race, wondering where I should put my stuff so I am out of the way but not too out of the way. I have a bath to calm down, but it's not as comfortable as I would like in our 1970's small tub. I try to read, but my thoughts drift to my transition plan (exiting the pool and heading for the bike, as well as getting off my bike and starting to swim). I go sleep, and usually, thankfully, sleep deeply until 5:55 a.m. I set my alarm for 6:45 a.m., stupidly thinking that I can sleep that long. Yeah right. The first twitch and I am up, itching to move and get going, like a child on Christmas morning. I try not to rush, since the race isn't for hours. But there's nothing left to do, for I have prepped the night before. Read the news? Good luck. My eyes reread the same words over and over. I move slowly, sip my tea, eat my oats. And I check the clock. Five minutes have passed.


I got to the bathroom, the first of many nervous pees. I pee all the time on race morning. There, I said it. ALL THE TIME. It's a bit ridiculous. I pack up my stuff. Double check my list. Earbuds. Check. Water bottle. Check. Wallet. Check. Flip flops. Check. Goggles. Check. Shoes pre-tied so I can slide them on during transition. Nope. Do it now. Put everything in the car. Load up my bike. Double check my stuff. Get in the car and go, because I'd rather be early to the race than kill time at home. 

Itchy. Pacing. Nervous.

When I drive to a race, two things happen. 
One - I listen to electronic dance music or rap so loud I cannot hear myself think. The whole way. I do this on purpose. Because of the second thing that always happens on race day. 
Two - I cry on race day. Every time. My emotions are running on overdrive, close to the surface, and I always cry driving to the race. Sometimes about something specific, sometimes just because. 

I get to the race and I'm early. Always. Like somehow I think the drive will take me three times as long, but it never does. And I get there and I wait. And I wait. And I wait. The nerves get better and then worse and then better. And then it's time to line up! I make nervous conversation with the people behind me in line, attempting to sound more experienced than I feel. My stomach bounces and my hands open, close, open, as I desperately just want this thing to start. 

As whistle goes and I quickly to the front of the line as more people get in the water and begin to swim, one by one. They all seem so much faster than me. Some people pass others, some people almost crash into one another and then, all of a sudden, it's my turn. Wait. I'm not ready. Oh wait. Yes I am. NO, WAIT! 

"3, 2, 1, go!" 
And I'm off.

The race itself is a blur. Mouthfuls of water when I need mouthfuls of air. A slow sticky transition. Dead legs. A burst of energy. 
And it's over.
That's it.
I wander around the finish area, looking for my family. Sometime races I find them, some races they can't make it.
I slowly start to ease back in the world of the non-racers. I drink my water, eat my orange and pull on my warm pants and flip flops.
It's over. 
I post pictures, give race recaps, perhaps finish a blog post ;) 
But, in the end, it's over.

~ H