As a stay at home mom who does some acting and writing on the side, I've found that one of my biggest struggles is with guilt. Even though I spend all day with my children, I feel guilty sacrificing family time to my hobbies or to my health - which, depending upon whom you ask, are equally necessary for the one to be sustained. I have tried to learn, and to put into practice, a philosophy of well-being for myself so that I can continue to have the energy to maintain my family.
I've made some mistakes along the way, including committing to direct a show at a theatre an hour north of our home, which will have me away from home about four hours an evening three nights a week. This was mistake I will not make again soon. I need to learn to take decisions more seriously and not let flattery get the better of me. I've got to be confident enough in my own abilities and values so as not to let anything stand in the way of my goals for life and God's plan that may well thwart them.
Either way, what I've been aiming to get to here is that I run. I also cycle but prefer to do it with friends thus far. I swim alone, but it's a pain to drive somewhere to work out even though I prefer the water to any other element. I run by myself. I go out the door and I run. The farthest I've gone is 5.2 miles. I did my first 5K in March.
I got into running to lose baby weight after Maeryn. I wanted to debunk the myth that Mummy Tummy is non-negotiable. I still have one a year later, albeit much smaller. I do think I'll pull off washboard abs without plastic surgery yet, but it's still up for discussion since I haven't noted any protruding abdominal muscles overshadowing my stretch marks yet.
I've been in and out of the running habit. Life will sometimes get in the way of fitness, normally in the form of theatre or illness. We had a run on illnesses in our family following the 5K that pretty much screwed my goal of running a half marathon at the end of the summer in VA Beach. I'm okay with that. For me, running is more of a spiritual exercise. Expect a lot of entries titled simply "run reflection" on this blog. I think it's important to have adventures as a family, but I also think it's important to have adventures as yourself.
Last night, Michael and I watched Into the Wild, our latest mailing from Netflix. We both left the TV room feeling a little sick over the whole story. We hadn't read the book beforehand or done any research and neither of us had ever heard of Chris McCandless before. Our experiences concerning anyone with that surname had to do with theatrical lighting theory. In short, neither of us knew he was going to die at the end. We knew it was based on a true story, but we didn't know the ending. We both sort of expected him to walk out of Alaska unscathed, or for someone to find him while he was paralyzed and shrivled and bring him to medical attention somewhere. I hated the movie last night.
Today I feel a little differently.
It was based on a true story, so Sean Penn didn't have much choice when it came to the ending. But now, I'm not sure it could have ended any other way. Would Chris go back to his parents? Truly? After all of that, just return to his family and attempt some semblence of normal life? I don't see how it would be possible to deal with such a materialistic society after doing without it for so long. I suppose, though, human beings can adapt to anything.
Today's run was a prayer as I scampered through the bug-infested, muddy, powerline track.
I've been feeling restless for years now. Maybe my entire life. To me, Christianity isn't very genuine if we sit in our suburban townhomes and buy food at McDonalds and race on our Treks and watch the SuperBowl on our plasmas and send a monthly check to Compassion International and our local church. It's hard for me to get my mind around what I'm supposed to do, but it can't continue to go on quite this way. I love my family. I love many parts of my life. I love what my church service, The Refinery, is doing in the world - or at least what we WANT to be doing, but I can no longer simply sit here twiddling my thumbs while the world goes to hell around me.
But what does that mean for a stay at home mom with overdue bills who is scrimping for meals but is too "wealthy" to qualify for food stamps?
Watching Chris McCandless burn his money and send his life savings to charity seemed to me like watching someone exit an exoskeleton that was simply too small. But how does that work for a mom of two small children who loves them and her husband much more than life and materials and who loves everything a whole lot more than money?