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Friday, April 27, 2012

Halfway/Celebrate but Take it Home

A few weeks ago, I detected a change, a shift in my personal tectonic plates. Made me think of that scene from Mary Poppins where the weathervane does a 180 degree turn, the wind blows up, people hold their hats and look expectantly at each other, knowing something is about to happen. In that case, it all heralded the arrival of Mary Poppins. In my case it's not yet clear what it was I felt.  I said to myself, "My life is about to get better. Not easier necessarily, but better." I attribute the shift to the foundation I've been mortaring for myself. Gaining mastery over stuff like diet, exercise, alcohol consumption, chaos - it's the precursor to happiness. While I trudge, one foot in front of the other, I urge myself forward, my mantra, "happiness will come." Still in trudge mode, but like I said, the winds are shifting. Something is happening. Something to make me smile.

Tonight Schaller's with another big crowd. If you're local, consider coming down and sharing the fun with us.  New friends Judy and Bernie, a few of their friends, James, and even 22 year old Shay who is coming to hear me sing. We have fun together - he's an old soul. And Mike another new friend, impossibly tall and handsome and a budding great singer who is just learning to embrace the old standards. And dear sweet Christ who I will torture and tease. Fun even with one judicious glass of Cabernet. I've always said if you have to get drunk to enjoy the friends you're with, you're with the wrong friends!

Lately loving "halfway" - being on the home stretch. When you're taking on challenges, getting to the halfway mark is such a great feeling, a pinnacle feeling. Lots of halfways for me these days and the more I think of the word, the more I relate to it. Little stuff like seeing that huge pile of laundry reduce from a15X5' pile to something like 8X5' - yeah, Sarah=organizational, laundry maven! Glancing at my pedometer mid day and seeing that I'm over 5,000 steps, only another 5,000 to go. Being on the elliptical and getting to the 15-20 minute mark - that's when all the joints start to loosen and lube and it starts feeling great - up to that point it's ugh.

Then there's the bigger halfway marks. For me deciding I had to lose  200 lbs and getting to the 125 lb mark. More than halfway. Being over fifty - if I live to be 100, I've passed the halfway mark of my life. I'm proud of my accomplishments so far - proud that my life has been important and worthy. I remember when my kids were little, I begged the gods to allow me to live until they were adults. It's all I wanted - it was the bargain I made. And I joked at 40 that any years left were a bonus - "if I were a Pilgrim I would be dead by now". These back stretch years are a gift and a reward and I intend to make them the fun ones. Leave the ponderous, serious considerations to youngsters!  I put in my time!

Do you have halfway marks that give you satisfaction? Halfway to paying off a 30 year mortgage or a 3 year car loan? Halfway to getting your kids through college? Halfway to retirement?  Halfway to a fitness goal?  Maybe you're training for a Marathon and you just logged a 13 mile run! Thinking we can be so consumed in crossing the finish line that we fail to mark the importance of sailing past the half way mark of the race. If you were climbing a mountain, the challenge would be the ascent and the descent. The pinnacle would be your halfway reward.

One blogger talks about the importance of the halfway mark - in fact, her blog is entitled "The Halfway Point".  I quote:
This blog is for anyone who has lived long enough to slip, fall, awaken or thrive. The halfway point lies somewhere between the beginning and the end, full of potential, excitement, tension. It's a time when we can honestly say we've done some living, have wonderful memories of the past, have a long list of adventures for the future, but also have painful regrets we can't shake and a desire to do better going forward....at the halfway point, a lot of unexpected things can happen. What do we do when we hit a rough patch? Do we take responsibility for it or do we blame someone else? What if it looks like we won't get to our destination? Do we reassess our strategy? Do we jump ship? Do we call for reinforcements?
The challenge today could be thinking about this concept of measuring your life's initiatives - identifying the challenges you've taken on where you have stayed the course and now find yourself on the back stretch. And if there is something you're working on like being a great songwriter or learning flamenco and you are feeling stuck at the halfway mark (maybe you're marking time without appreciable progress), how about the concept of taking it home - reaffirming your goal, swallowing your fears and setting your sights on the finish line?  Halfway there calls for celebration - mark it, celebrate it, but don't linger there. Take it home - whatever it is.


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