Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Time in the saddle, Time in my head

I do about 95% of my training all by myself. Why? Because of my ability to workout during the day, because I have an individual training plan from a coach, because I have my own goals, because I suck on the bike, etc., etc. Yesterday I biked the full 112 miles, which left me with nearly seven hours to be inside my own head.

I have been battling depression for about 17 years. It has its peaks and valleys. I used to see a professional about it, but since I refuse to be medicated, I find that going to a shrink is a waste of time. So, I just deal and hope it passes. My current mental state has been a tidal wave of emotions. It's been a rough couple of months. I don't know if it's the wear of all my training or my current lot in life, but yesterday on my bike I decided I needed to make a few changes.

'They' say that money doesn't buy happiness. I think that's crap. The people who said that have never had to live on one income in a tough economy. I'm not sure I believe in tough economy. I think you have to be smart (like, if you pay off your credit card every month it doesn't matter what the interest rate is on it) and live within your means. The difficulty I've had is that when Dave and I got married we had established a lifestyle, a way of life that has drastically had to change when I quit my job and started my own business. And I miss my old lifestyle. I'm tired of hearing how his parents are on vacation for the billionth time this year or how my parents are trying to buy their third property or if I have to read one more status update on Facebook about how much fun so-and-so is having on her vacation, I might just hurt something or myself.

I've been thinking a lot about my business and where to go from here. We have brainstormed our brains out and we just think, currently, we've maxed out our options. And the current state things are in cause me a lot of stress - too much stress for the pennies I am getting paid or not getting paid, as it is. I really do want to continue the business, but I think some changes are in order. Dave and I have talked extensively about it and I think it's time to make a decision before we dig our grave. Having spent so much time thinking about it yesterday, in my head, the decision is made. No formal announcement needed, we will just be handling things differently starting in 2012.

With that decision made the question becomes, will we still be having enough income or getting more income from the business to at least continue our way of life as it currently is and how do we begin saving money to come closer to the lifestyle we were living? I've thought a lot about going back to work - not as an engineer, but as "just an employee." I would love to work a job where I clock in and out and take nothing home with me (troubles, work, etc.). I know, though, I will absolutely hate this. Not only because I've been my own boss for three years, but because I will be bored out of my freakin' mind and will continue to waste my intelligence and talent. I've struggled a lot with giving up being an engineer. I let it define me and I can't seem to shake that. I hate every day that I am sitting at home rotting my brain while watching the Kardashians. Is the money of going back to work enough to over power the freedom that I've gained? My inner struggle continues...

Working from home is lonely. Really, deep, dark lonely. Facebook, Twitter, and blogs keep me entertained. What I have learned, however, is that they give shy girls like myself empowerment, yet I'm only realizing now they're not real life. The "friends" I have made online are not real and never will be my real friends. Having done endurance sports for the last 10 years, while my real-life friends have gone on to create families, has put a Grand Canyon-sized distance between us. I have absolutely nothing in common with anyone anymore. So once THE BIG ONE!!! is over in a few weeks, my lonely cave will grow in size and darkness. It's hard to imagine that things could be worse than it already is, but I'm also preparing myself for what happens after ironman. What will life be like?

I use my blog a lot to hide from the real person I am. I think a lot of bloggers do that. They can create a whole new person online and become the person they've always wanted to be. I've been blogging now for seven years and that's exactly what I've done. And then when people meet you they think they know exactly who they're getting and that's not me at all. I'm so sick of reading bull shit blog posts! I'm so sick of writing bull shit blog posts!

This is me. Stripped to the core. Fully exposed.


Jamie said...

Wait, does this mean we aren't "real" friends?!

Hopefully the new 2012 plans work out well and aren't too dark and scary.

ADC said...

Very honest Meredith. But I have met you and you are so much fun to be around. I do hope we'll meet again soon. And for the lifestayle - how about a trip to the UK - free lodging :)

Karen said...

Hang in there... my husband was unemployed for almost 18 months. You are right about the money thing, a little of it sure would have made me happier back then. (and now too...). It sounds like crap but things have a way of working out. If you have other opportunities, definitely investigate them but do what makes you happy. If you don't want to manage people and just want to responsible for your own work, then don't settle for anything else. Good luck with your Ironman. If you can do that, all the rest will be a piece of cake :)

Anonymous said...

I understand your frustration. I lost my job when I was 5 months pregnant and it look me more than 18 months of lots of rejections to land a contract job finally. I work from home too and have also been fighting loneliness and just being down. I think all my 70.3 training since January is catching up to me and I need a break. I feel badly my hubby carries a lot if the financial hidden and I try to do what I can to help but it is tough...

Hang in there and I would love to chat more if you would like to!

M said...

Is this something in the water here lately? Is the heat all getting to us or something? I had the same "come to jesus" talk with my husband the other night about lifestyle/job decisions, etc. Let's just say I feel your pain (while I don't operate my own business, I am 100% commission based in a sales job - it's painful to say the least).

Just wanted to give a shout out that there are many of us out there feeling the suckage. Way to go on the ride - amazing.

More than 35 miles means cupcakes said...

I did not write a bullshit blog post, but I only told part of the story. We should get coffee or lunch during your taper. Face to face. I think you came back into my life at just the right time too.

Spie said...

I train alone as well and am shocked at all my harbored demons. They often come out to taunt and degrade when you are out on your 16 mile sweltering run or your 80 mile ride that seems to always be into a headwind.

I have had almost all the thoughts that came out on your ride.

One income household = no fancy cars, bikes :(, or vacations.

Stay at home mom = viewed as unintelligent, uneducated, and not capable of holding a job. (I am known as the athletic "freak" that trains all the time by my husband's co-workers...and I wish I was kidding!)

When the race is done, ALL my children will be in school = I will be alone for the first time in 11 years!

As much as I am looking forward to the clean house and laundry that will result, I know that I will have some post IM blues (as endurance races are so similar to pregnancy)

What I most likely will do is find a new passion/motivation/goal:athletic (such as Boston qualifying for me) or non-athletic (working towards sustaining the Fine Arts non-profit my friend created) and work towards it -- as I am happier when there is a destination.

E-Speed said...

:( I think a lot of us are feeling the strain of income and how it affects our pursuits in these other arenas, and trying to discern what is really important and what we can get by without. Sorry you are down right now, just know you aren't alone and you are one tough chick, you will get through this and be even more amazing because of it.

Michelle said...

Wow! I've had so many of those same feelings--loneliness, feeling left out, wishing we could afford this or that. I think it's inspiring that you were willing to quit your job and take a leap of faith to start your own business, and that it has grown so much. If you're like me, sometimes just agonizing over the decision (whatever it is) is the worst part, and once you decide, it feels like a ton of weight has been lifted from your shoulders. I don't know if any of this is helpful, except to say like some of the others that you're not alone and hang in there!

Mary IronMatron said...

Yes, the blog persona is an online character.
yep. I get that!
Hang in there.

LAPT said...

I actually tagged this post and came back to read it a few times. Battling depression is not something you should feel like you need to hide, nor should you be afraid of the response...although I know where you're coming from. It's hard to push yourself to be "someone you're not," whether that's being socially outgoing or a bubbly online persona. I've also had issues where people feel like they KNOW ME just from reading the blog...and when is that ever the case?
Making decisions re: work/career/money are always SO STRESSFUL. Good luck, and I'm crossing my fingers for you.