Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Too __________

This morning on my run I was thinking about how many times someone has told me that I'm too ________.  What's the blank?  I could fill it with lots of things.  I've been told that I'm too talkative, too quiet, too open, too optimistic, too busy, too driven, too controlling, too hard on myself, too focused, too social, too helpful, too giving, too intellectual, too perfectionist.

The list is much longer than that, actually.  I have a big personality, or so I'm told.  I have strong opinions (please add "too opinionated") and I get excited about things easily (please add "too excited").  I have high expectations of myself and life (add "too high of expectations"), and I expect the best out of people (add "too unrealistic").  I ask a lot of questions of myself and others (add "too questioning").

So this morning, as I was out running on a gray day, thinking through my overly busy schedule, trying not to panic about tomorrow's job interview (round three, and a really big deal to me), I was thinking of how many times people have told me that I'm too ______ and how I feel about that.

I feel really good about that, actually.

According to what I read, the average American is overweight, eats a ton of processed food, doesn't get enough exercise, watches a ton of TV and doesn't read that much, struggles with self esteem, feels disconnected from community, is drowning in debt, has a house filled with clutter, is in a job they don't enjoy.

I don't really feel good about fitting in with that picture of an average life.

Recently my brother let on that he thinks that it's pretty fuddy-duddy to sit down at the table to have dinner, and he said that nobody does that any more and that it's old fashioned and impractical.  His kids don't like to sit at the table, so they eat on the go or in front of the TV and that works fine for him.  I think he felt a bit sorry for Katherine that I require so much of her, and this might fall into the "too controlling, too fuddy-duddy, too unrealistic" category.  However - my ten year old has fantastic table manners (mostly).  She uses her knife and fork, puts her napkin on her lap, says please and thank you, and chews with her mouth closed.  This is not because she was born with those skills, but because we sit at the table every night and I've set those expectations for years and years - it's just what we do.  And you know what?  I'm okay with it.  It may not be the norm, but it works for me, and I think it works for my girl, too.  (She doesn't mind the praise she receives from friends' parents or restaurant staff about what a delight she is.  And while it's taken some work to get there, it's second nature to her these days.)  My brother thinks that this is some kind of child torture, that I'm too lots-of-things, but I can live with those labels.

As I've gotten more and more into running, I have plenty of people who have told me - usually from the vantage point of a sofa - that I'm getting into it too fast, that I'm pushing myself too hard, that my expectations for running are unrealistic.  They sit there and tell me that I can't do it.....and yet, time and time, I do, and I'm finding great success.  I'm told that I get up too early, that my schedule is too unreasonable, that I'm too crazy.  Well, I may be crazy (who am I to judge?), but if this is crazy, I'm okay with it.  I was told not to create time goals for my first half marathon, and I did anyway, and I hit them.  I was told that I wouldn't be able to keep up my running in the winter, and I am.  I was told that my goals were too big when I set a goal of 100 miles for November, but I hit 105 miles, and it felt great.  I hit my half marathon goal, and I've gotten faster in the six weeks since then....and I HAVE listened to my body and avoided injury so far.

This holiday, I am hosting a Christmas Eve party at my house for friends, and I can't wait.  Every candle will be lit (and at my house, that's a LOT of candles - too many?), the house will be swirling in girls with fancy dresses (and their parents, my friends), the wine and champagne will be flowing (with a bit of whiskey for the gents).  There will be caroling - lead by one friend with an incredible voice, and another with an amazing talent for guitar - and it will be glorious chaos.  When everyone leaves, I will spend a couple of hours cleaning and prepping, because the next morning I will provide my daughter and ex husband with a Christmas breakfast for opening presents, and then I'll prepare for my side of the family to come over for the multi-generational meal around my table (prime rib, Yorkshire pudding, and all the trimmings....and don't forget appetizers, dessert, etc.) eating off the silver (okay, it's silverplate!), china, and crystal....all while three wild boy cousins run around (and truthfully, it did freak me out a bit the year they knocked a light fixture off the DID they do that?!).

And I can't wait.  For ALL of it.  I'm an accomplished hostess, and I've pulled off this kind of thing before, so I know I can do it.  The house is already decorated for the holidays, I'm a good cook (and I've made these particular meals at least ten times....over the last ten Christmases), and I've got a system down for transitioning from one party to the next.  When I think of the holidays, I know it's a lot of work....but who says that magic comes easily?  It's all worth it to me.  Blessed by friends and family, pleased that I can bring light to Katherine's eyes to have both her parents in front of the tree, gathering my all makes me happy.  A chance to create a fairy tale table, all gold and white?  So much fun.  Special holiday food? Fantastic.  All of it.

And I can't tell you how many people have asked me about my holidays, and when I've told them, they've almost unanimously said, "You're crazy!"

So here's what this crazy lady is leading up to:

I am done accepting other people's definitions of crazy, or of trying to be less than instead of too much.

There are things that are too much - too much cruelty, too much inconsideration, too much sadness, too much insincerity, for example - but I don't think that my too much is in those categories.

I'm joyfully, proudly resilient.  I'm intense and playful and hard working.  I push myself to the edges, and I love seeing what those edges look like.  I am determined, and I don't give up on my dreams.  I am passionate about many things.  I am deeply appreciative of the fact that I'm still breathing, and I am positively determined to create the life I desire, and to enjoy the journey of that creation, no matter what other people call that journey.

Call me too much.  I can live with it.

Because while you say I'm too much, and I may be too much for you, I'm busy focused on other things.  At 44, I'm in the best shape of my life.  My home is filled with friends and family.  I'm getting close to landing my dream job.  I have deep, enduring friendships.  My daughter is a dream come true.

"People who say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it." (George Bernard Shaw)

Maybe I am too ___________.  Maybe you are.  But let the rest of the world live small, hold back, and say it can't be done.  I may succeed, or I may fail, but I won't give up.....and you know what?  I'm having a pretty good time in this life of mine.

No comments:

Post a Comment