Ever have one of those days? One of those months or even one of those years?
Well I’m having all of those.
Today is my 40th birthday and while I am no where near having a mid-life crisis, I have been spending a lot of time reflecting on the kind of person I have become and whether or not I like it.
For the most part, I do like where I am now, but there are some issues – some pretty big issues – which have been issues from as long as I can remember and I don’t see any way they are going to go away unless I focus on fixing them myself… Starting now!
I have even considered professional help (again) to get over the hump. I sought professional help about 4 years ago to help me figure out why I was resistant to change. I was in a job I hated and I had people telling me to suck it up and stay because I’d fail in the private sector, and I had my support system encouraging me but doubting me nonetheless. I knew I needed to change… For me, and I had to figure out what was holding me back. Fear of the unknown was not a good enough reason to dread doing what you are doing on a daily basis. Once that played out I was ready to embrace change – however – I was now in possession of anger issues. I swear. I think it was just me being pissed off at the quack that the EAP program had hooked up for me. He pissed me off each and every time we met. I wanted to talk about moving life, especially my career, forward, and he just wanted to sit back and smirk at me, adding very little to the conversation.
With all that being said, I highly recommend sitting with a professional to discuss your feelings, your fears and your quirks. You don’t have to do what they recommend, but a good mental health tune-up should be mandatory for everyone every couple of years.
I’ve always had weight / body image issues. I’m over-weight. I know that, but not horribly out of shape. I go to the gym (in spurts), I stay active (in spurts), but I’ve got 30 pounds of stay-at-home-dad around my waist from child #1 and I always seem to be either too tired or hurt to get rid of it. I know I should not be eating at night, but I do and I feel like shit after. I know I should cut back on stuff I put in my mouth, but I don’t do that, and instead, when I have to inhale to put on my dress pants (I must be quite the site for sore eyes) but my commitment to losing that weight comes and goes. Tonight I’ll drink lots of water and get a good nights’ sleep, tomorrow I’ll be up until 2am working and eat a small bowl of cereal at 1:30 because I’m hungry… or bored… I can’t put my finger on it. I’m inconsistent.
Sleep is another matter on its own. I should be getting to bed by 11pm at the latest, but once the kids are in bed it’s usually 8pm and after a long day I’m tired and it takes me forever dragging my ass around the house to do my chores. Next thing I know it’s 2am and I’m still hanging laundry / washing dishes, or playing CityVille on Facebook. During the tax season especially, I can log into the office every night and weekend day from December and I can fall asleep with my laptop on my lap within a second and sleep for 45 minutes to an hour, but instead of waking up refreshed, I wake up groggy and tired. It’s brutal.
I’m not even going to get into detail about the way I feel I treat my kids… inconsistent comes up again. I’m getting better at this part, and have really improved on some areas, like always getting down to their level when they are hurt, letting them sort out their issues instead of doing it for them (thank you Urban Mummy via Alyson Schaefer) but still sometimes when I don’t have the patience I should, I sshhhh them and grab them by their clothes to move them from an area where their ear-piercing screams can break glasses. Let’s just say it doesn’t look so good to others, and it’s not fair to the kids. I think every parent wants to treat their kids better than they feel their parents treated them and I’m in the same boat. I know what to do and how to handle them, but in the moment those “anger issues” must be popping up and I get all grabby. It’s like my patience runs out and I go back to what works easiest for me… being a brute. I feel terrible and I want my kids to respect me the way I respect them, not fear me – unless I want them to fear me ;)
I have to stop taking the easy way out. I know better, but sometimes being that father of three kids who is overwhelmed and tired I don’t think. I know a mop is wet and a broom is dry, but I always ask the kids for the mop and glare at them when they correct me. I also fuck up mittens and gloves. They’re all gloves to me and I don’t know why. It’s when I speak without thinking that I have to do away with. It’s a BAD habit and as my kids get older and correct me more and more, it makes me realize that taking a couple extra seconds to think about what I am going to say is what I want my kids to do too.
My eating issues are also messed up. I’m an emotional eater. I have zero resistance when there is a treat in the house – I will eat an entire solid chocolate easter bunny because then it’s finished I won’t have the temptation there to want to snack on it at all hours of the day and night. I’ll eat the whole thing, feel guilty, then eat better for a couple weeks - using that episode as my motivation. Warped, eh? It’s borderline compulsive.
I could also use to be more organized. That’s a big problem too… If I were more organized I’d have arranged more date nights, more outings with my friends and maybe even fit in some time for sports… But I’m not that consistent. I find a toll that helps me get organized – reminders in Outlook, a personal calendar, an online calendar, a notebook – but that lasts for only a couple of days, then I’m using something else.
Is it wrong for me to feel that my age finally caught up to my hairline and stomach size? For someone in my 30′s I was in rough shape. For a 40 year-old, I’m doing just fine.
Here’s hoping 40 is the year that things change for the better.