Ebbs and flows of suck and happiness

There is a certain ease and weightlessness in balance. And I guess that is what we all aim for. Balance. In between, good/bad, just in the middle. A lot of days it feels like I am trying to get away from that default setting of being out of control. Ten years ago balancing full time work and three small children I thought time and balance was the same thing. As long as you have more time you feel like your life will be more in balance. That is not right. At this point I am not sure what balance is, hang around the house and move flowerpots around, or move things around on your pinterest board (I don’t even have one)… seeing people you care for, knowing where you are going, sleeping often and long, staying well educated, being fit and healthy… So far, half a life in and all I know for sure is that life is ebbs and flows of suck and happiness. Mostly happiness but some really sucky things too. I guess that is balance. Since we all learned that we need some bad to appreciate the good or is that just what people say? Do we get one bad shoulder to really enjoy and appreciate the good one? So freakin’ confused here. And I am pretty sure some people would say that God or a higher power has something to do with balance and appreciation too. For the record, I consider myself a very balanced person with a few outbursts every now and then. One of those outbursts happened last night. Cursing, kicking and feeling seriously pissed. And a bit disappointed to miss a nice night with good friends.

Let me tell you about water behind the refrigerator. Yesterday, late afternoon, I did some vacuuming and saw what I thought was some water on the floor all the way in the corner on the side of the enormous fridge. And of course it was water. Nothing scares me more than water on hardwood floors in a rental. Two hours later I find myself on the floor with tools around me, water turned off and a leak more or less fixed. In a black dress. In those two hours stuff happened. Two kids at home working around the house desperately trying to make me happy. We are talking headlights on, darkness, turning of water, a little bit of screaming, calling plumbers but realizing that I am man enough to fix this myself. And why do I hear Donny Osmond singing I’ll make a man out of you in my head? And one husband in another state texting me hints and tips. I declared for the kids that this means take out, the kitchen is not to be used. And I had to skip my planned event for the night since I didn’t want to leave the kids home alone without water. After driving around trying to decide what to eat we end up at a place we haven’t tried for a while. I am waiting for the food in my black plumbing dress and who seems like the owner walks in and gives me the most smashing, nice compliment. It was probably just a trick to make a customer happy but I sure am a sucker for nice compliments from random men. I guess this means balance, one nice compliment for a few shitty hours wrestling a fridge and trying to save the floor from water. And food was delish and company awesome. I decided to drink a Cotes the Rhone with my spicy chicken. And we ate with chop sticks in front of the TV watching old reruns of Big Bang. Balance. Kind of like marry trash with class.

Another thing I’ve been balancing for the last weeks (or years really) is my mind. It’s been almost two years since I removed my evil tumor from my leg and so far so good. At that same time it was found I was scanned for more tumors since this type usually likes company on specific places. Another one was found in my brain. Not the best place to hide tumors. I know now that this particular one seems to be slow growing and not very evil so it’s no danger on the roof as we Swedes would say (which makes no sense for the rest of the world but it is kind of fun to say). I’ve been to checkups and MRIs, been doing blood draws and keeping track of numbers this past two years. The worst part of things like this is not the contrast running through your brain, bumps and bruises you get or the time you spend at the hospital. That time is the easiest part because you can focus on the shots you get or the hours in the tube. (And to all of you that are claustrophobic…it passes after the 10th time or so. It was a lot of negotiations with the technicians the first times but it passes, I even tried to bribe my way out. I fell asleep the last time. After this I even think I could go cave diving.) The worst part will be the days between the MRIs and the results, that’s when your balanced mind seriously get a blow. The second you get in to your car feeling healthy as a tiger shrimp you feel like someone hit you in the back of your head and your gut at the same time. But nothing is really different from yesterday and life goes on, right. And then it takes a few weeks to restore balance after a mental discharge. The only reason I am writing this is really because I got good news this time, nothing is growing. I am off the hook for a while or at least I don’t have to see the crew every season this coming year. I don’t need so frequent checkups as long as nothing happens. So this means restoring balance and figuring out what the next step in my life will be. Balance and letting it tip over to the positive side.

This is your only life…let’s make it sing loud.

December

We have a visitor for a few weeks. An extra child that is not a child any longer. A little guy that used to run after a soccer ball, give sweaty hugs and play. He is now a working adult that took a few weeks of vacation and went to see his old aunt. I am therefore a tourist in my own town once again. Views, restaurants and outlet shopping. But is this my city? 8 years in and still feel a bit lost. I am starting to know how to navigate Pike Place and good times to walk through without being trampled. But I mostly feel like I should get a smaller car, parking in Seattle makes me a bit claustrophobic.

We are living in a world full of essays and applications. I feel enormously proud of the kids and their writing is beyond anything I will ever be able to accomplish. The college process is in full swing and I just realized that we will probably be in this circus for another 8 years or so. I hear Washington, Colorado, California… One thing at the time… swim lessons, learn how to ride a bike, drive a car, graduate high school… x3… we will eventually get there. I am happy to announce that all three kids can swim and they all know how to ride a bike safe in traffic. They all have basic cooking skills, they can bake and they speak 3 languages (1.5 more than I). We still need to work on laundry and how to behave like little ladies (I still have issues) but overall I believe we are doing pretty well. We’re working on the driving part and it’s going beyond expectations, the future looks positive. When I am old and have blueish short permed hair I am pretty sure I will have a driver back and forth to the casino for my weekly GT and gambling session.

The infamous shoulder is coming along. Some days I almost forget that I had surgery in October and go for run with a back pack. And then I wake up the morning after and wonder who carved in and chopped up my neck, shoulder and arm, I get a massage and hold my breath a little and blink away some tears when the therapist asks if the pressure is ok. One step forward and two steps back. I can run and that is important for the oxygen level in my brain. I am CrossFitting in a half assed way. It is very humbling. I am fighting to lift my arm overhead without weights and it’s going to take long time before I can hold my own bodyweight in a plank. But I am lifting dumbbells with one arm, squatting and crunching. Good or bad, I don’t know. But it looks like I am headed forward. At this point it’s just an illusion too good to be real and the archived memory is playing tricks and remembering the race euphoria. For now it’s the loneliness of a runner’s brain playing tricks of capability. I am still secretly dreaming of river rafting, paddling and trekking in a country far away but I smart enough to know that it will not happen, at least not in this lifetime. I feel extremely ready to sleepwalk close to the clouds, being washed down rivers with fear in my eyes and enjoy beef jerky and granola bars as my main intake for a week. I am a master at building castles in the air and I’ve always in some ways been a true believer in my own overcapacity. But even I have to admit that this time I will have to step down and wish the guys good luck and not be there in person. A short bike ride on a flat trail would be awesome at this point.

So on to even more non important stuff. Running and lots of work with you lower body gives you sore legs. And that is an understatement. My legs feel trashed, every day. I wake up and try to straighten out and stretch out without waking up the whole house. Foam rolling is more painful than waking up from surgery. I was off running for a while and tried to slowly get back into it. My long runs are long gone, I am lucky if I last 90 minutes. I’ve had less time than usual too so to compensate I’ve been speeding up my shorter distances. And you live and you learn. 5k can be extremely hard on your body and you get really far if you have 45 minutes to spare. I’ve always felt slow but man can I speed up if I have to. I have never really done any shorter races under a half marathon, so one day maybe. It’s a different kind of feeling and I must say that I prefer the longer, slower runs over a 20 minutes speedy run with bad stomach feelings after. It’s a combo of stomach flu, too many marshmallows or I went overboard with the umbrella drinks last night compared with a long run that is mostly – give me water and food now and let me just take a 30 minute shower sitting down. But I miss having a structured plan and a goal race and that need to change. As always I tend to go overboard without structure and that’s probably why running every day on pavement gives you extremely sore legs. Is it the importance of long runs, fartlek and swim intervals or oxygen in my lungs or the need to sweat a lot? I don’t know? You always want what you can’t have, the grass will always be greener on the other side. But… the grass is still pretty green on this side. Who could have guessed that I would move this well after less than two months. Even the nice doctor is surprised and curious. And as always… the definition of rest is interesting. At this point rest still means movement and moving forward.