Last weekend was awesome. The past seven days have been some of the best I can remember in a while. Was it all smiles and perfectness? Were there times it could have nosedived into the abyss?
No, there were some tricky moments, and, yes, I could have allowed it to come crashing down. But I didn't!
Let's start with the positives. I had an awesome date day with Mr P on Friday. The Ironman was on that day. The cycling part finished right next to where we were booked for lunch. We had considered this, but also kind of thought things would be fine - although given my anxiety I had convinced Mr P to leave an hour for what would normally be a 25 minute journey. What a sweetie, he went with it, even though he probably thought he was just humouring me. It turned out that was the right move as we sat in traffic for just over an hour.
There were times I got frustrated and lots of negative thoughts tried to fight their way into my head, and I suggested at least three times that we forget it, but Mr P was driving and was patience personified. Even when people were pushing in, or blocking us, he stayed calm. There are some times when my husband does exactly the right thing. This was one of them. He didn't make a big deal about it, he just kept focussing on us getting there. And get there we did 😄
We went to La Parrilla at Jumeirah Beach Hotel and it was lovely. Fantastic view (we got a table by the window!), fantastic staff, fantastic food, and most importantly, fantastic company and conversation. We had some laughs. There were moments of looking into his eyes and knowing why I love him. Times like this are rare and are to be treasured. And it is my mission to get more of these moments 💕
My second date, with the people I didn't know, also went brilliantly. We had a messenger group going and the day before there was lots of chat and some real laugh out loud moments so I was really looking forward to going. None of the anxiety that I have previously angonised about when going and meeting people I don't know. There was the potential for a tricky moment or two when the subject of drinking came up. I don't drink alcohol.
Firstly, because alcohol is a depressant and given my primary state in BPII seems to be depressed, it's not the best idea, and secondly, due to any potential reaction with my medications. I ended up in ICU 14 months ago due to my medications, and that was without any alcohol, I'm not taking any chances! I have started trying on occasion to have a drink, either in the comfort of our own home, or when it is only Mr P and I out, and these drinks are very diluted. He knows my concerns: I'm worried of having a reaction, or of losing control and becoming extremely drunk partway through my first drink and embarrassing myself (or him!). For someone who had very sturdy drinking legs in the past, not drinking is not always easy, but it is a decision we have agreed is important. I'm not saying never, but until I'm more stable and have my life more under control, it is a small price to pay.
Anyway, I digress. The group was lovely, we went to one of my favourite places, The Noodle House, and there were a lot of laughs had. As is always the case, I gravitated to some more than others, but that's okay, and was possibly due to the seating arrangements. I know there will be other events and opportunities to mix and mingle with even more people. For the next event on the 18th there must be at least 18 people going! Many days of making friends lie ahead. There is talk of movie dates, pool days, walking groups, and I'm sure there will be other things. Success!
They were the positive positives from my week. There were also a couple of less positive positives (defined as positives that appear negative at first, but on reflection serve a greater purpose and lead to positive change).
I found myself googling how to change my online settings to get some privacy. Hiding myself away from people who wanted to be in touch during my 'me' time. My 'I'm having some time to myself' time. My 'I don't feel like interacting' time. My 'I'm out with my wonderful Mr P' time (and goodness knows, there hasn't been enough of connecting and having fun with Mr P over the last few years!). My 'I'm out meeting people who are strangers but will become friends' time. I realised that this is not a way to live my life, getting irritated every time my phone rang or beeped, and asked myself why I was getting so wound up and giving other people the power over how I live my life.
Why did I want to hide myself away? I realised that I have been passive with people in my life, throughout my life, often putting their needs well ahead of my own, and although it felt great being useful, and seen as 'wise', and therefore 'valued', I was taking less and less notice of my life. The last few months have not been an easy time for me, and I wonder - if I had been paying more attention to my life, and what I needed, would my life have been easier, and would I maybe have been more in control of my life and what has gone on?
Why not just say what I wanted to say? Short story - I didn't know how to. I have known for quite a while that I have a hard time with my boundaries and knowing what they are. I have lived my life according to other people's rules and standards for more than 40 years, sometimes not even knowing what these are. I have known for a while that I need to figure out what my boundaries might be and have tried to identify some.
Not as easy as it might first appear. Who knew that they change in each situation? News to me, so that has been confusing! Just as I have worked tirelessly to meet and exceed other people's standards for most of my life, I now have to work out my own standards and expectations for myself, for each situation I find myself in.
This whole self improvement thing is hard work! But it would seem that I am making progress, I am learning to compartmentalise, not letting the less positive things intrude on my positive times. By not analysing them to the absolute nth degree. By not letting them take over and derail my hour, my day, my WEEK!
I had to have a hard conversation. I had to stand my ground and stand up for my new boundaries. And I did it.
I wish there was one rule for every situation; a one size fits all. But just like the stores that are filled with thousands of different clothes, in many different colours and sizes, the same is true of people and situations - and boundaries. This is something that will take time. That I will make mistakes in. For someone who has led a life striving for perfection, this is a tough nut to crack.
Lesson learnt: it is okay to have boundaries and to explain them and let other people decide if they wish to live by them; and know that if they decide not to, it is okay to walk away. Another success!
I went to a dinner last night where there was an extremely successful and wealthy guest. There were probably 30 of us, and he shared his secrets to success with us. He was so down to earth, laid back, open, genuine, approachable, and as he was speaking I had tears in my eyes on more than one occasion because he was so inspiring. I wanted to speak with him, so I did. He took the time to speak with me - it was only a couple of minutes, but it meant so much and I wanted him to know how much I valued his time, his information, and his humility. He has qualities I admire and would like to have in myself.
Today, as I write this, I am also working on my vision for my future and a plan on how to make it happen. Success doesn't happen by accident, and life will happen anyway. I am choosing to make my life successful. It's a work in progress, but most importantly, it is work. No one will walk up to my door and hand me the life I dream of. It's time to put those dreams into a plan, and those plans into action.
As my gynaecologist once told me (I know, random person to say it, but in context it made absolute sense, and even out of that context, they are words I often think of),
"One sunny day does not a summer make"
One day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy forever. There will be clouds, there will be rain, there will be dark times, but there will also be more sun, so looking forward is key.
Today, I'm focussing on the sun. I hope you are too, love Becs xxxx