I’ve been handling my daughter’s swim transport since Andy died.
Being a Swim Dad turned out to be much less of an issue than I expected. I get to chat with my kids and read books.
While my daughter is swimming, I sit in a quiet car, put my phone in airplane mode and embrace the silence.
These are valuable moments.
Last week, between drop off and pick up, I was chilling in a Safeway parking lot.
I was reading the last book in Cixin Liu’s SciFi trilogy, The Three Body Problem was my favorite. Anyhow, I looked up and saw a guy heading back to his car with some beer.
The scene reminded me of something I want to share with you.
There was a period of time where I thought drinking most every night was helping me cope with reality. There was even a bit of fear that I might not be able to handle my reality.
We all have ways of avoiding reality. Thing is, the truth doesn’t care about my feelings.
The holidays can be a challenging time. Shortened days, cold/wet weather, increased interpersonal stress, reminders of childhood emotional injuries…
…throw in a strong dose of COVID-stress and you might find your bad habits knocking on the door of your consciousness.
1/. When KP died, anger made a strong return in my life. Fortunately, I have enough weightlifting to disperse the feelings that can manifest as anger. So long as I lift, and don’t hold my breath under stress, I’m good.
2/. Following Andy’s death, I’ve been having a desire to drink a beer. Actually, the feeling is a bit stronger than that. Allow me to describe… I would like to take all the alcohol in the world and pour it into a tiny black hole that’s located just above my heart.
It’s a strange sensation to say the least!
How do I deal with something like that? First up, I pay attention to what I’m feeling.
Am I sure? Is that really what I am feeling?
While I’m trying to figure out what’s really going on, I breathe. Breathing into an emotional hole helps, a lot. Laughter helps. Hugs help. Moderate exercise helps.
I know what works and I make time to do it, daily.
Then I start to look deeper, a friend once summed up his escape habit as follows…
When I used to feel like this, I would just XXXXX until I didn’t care anymore.
I’m not going to share my buddy’s “blank.”
Do you know your own blank?
Looking at the guy walking out of Safeway I laughed with a visual image of asking him if it would be OK if I borrowed his case of beer for a while.
I was also laughing because I’ve learned that I have the ability to choose how I fill in my blank.
- wait, meditate, breathe, pray
- exercise, persist, assist, clean
- drink, use, rage, eat, smoke, yell, cry
My feelings come and go. I try not to get wrapped up in whether they are right or wrong. It’s better that way, I generate a lot of bad ideas.
Where I focus is reminding myself that I am free to decide how I’m going to fill my blank.
I also remember there were very good reasons to leave my poor choices behind.
They didn’t work!