Saturday, December 4, 2010

December Happiness Project-Boot Camp Perfect-WTF


When I started on this adventure called The Happiness Project I really thought it would be a great way to focus my energy and perspectives. (here, here, here, here, here, here) In fact it would bring to mind a lot of different ideas that just one word could engender. If you read my previous posts having to do with the Project you will see that where I generally start off is not where I generally end up. Now December’s word /idea though got me to thinking (Yes, I know, a very dangerous construct if I am left to my own devices.) and reviewing my own emotional growth and development over the years.  The idea for December is –Boot Camp Perfect.

That of course could mean any number of things for any number of people. For someone obsessed with fitness there is the Boot Camp Work Out. I have to admit that I have tried that on occasion. There was a time that I would spend hours upon hours every day at the gym, trying to maintain that perfect body form and perfect physical fitness. But then I had to come to the realization that the women who do that to the exclusion of everything else are, for lack of a better description, morons. So I switched gyms in the hope of finding alternative classes and alternative people to talk to. You see each gym, as with each neighborhood, has its own characteristics and its own personality. If you don’t like the vibe at one place, it is best to move elsewhere where you feel comfortable.

As any parent of a special needs child will tell you, that rare opportunity to interact on an adult level is very precious and you need to pick the people whom you spend it with very carefully. I had realized that I had been spending my free time with some of the shallowest people I had ever come across. The reality is that I know I needed a break from my day-to-day existence of trauma and stress, and I thought that these people gave me the needed relief. However what became very apparent after awhile is that to spend your time with someone just because they have no real problems is to waste your time. Their biggest problem was where to go on vacation and what time to play tennis after their work out.

These gym-women reminded me of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I had watched the Orange County, New York, New Jersey, Atlanta, and even the Washington D.C. Housewives but this by far is the most jaw dropping group of inane human beings I have ever come across in my television world, and that is truly saying something considering what crap is on television. I have never watched a more self-involved self-obsessed group of people than those women. None of them work, which of course if you were married to mult-multi-multi-millionaire you wouldn’t either, but its not as if any of them spent any time doing charity either. They move from one house to the next, one lunch date to the next, one spa to the next, one vacation to the next and one party to the next. One of the women on the show didn’t even want to carry her own children during pregnancy so she hired a surrogate to do it. It’s not that she couldn’t carry her own children; she didn’t want to ruin her figure. (Creep me out totally.) OK, the women at the gym weren’t that bad comparatively, but some of them weren’t too far off.

I had come to the realization that the people I was spending some of my free time with just were not people I would have ever wanted to even acknowledge in the world never mind have conversations with under different circumstances, so I left in search of greener pastures. Honestly, the only thing the other gym offered was more classes and the ability to spend more money. However, the people were more diverse at the new gym and that meant a wider group of people to try to get to know and seek to befriend. But fate intervened. Shortly after joining the new gym I had a car accident, followed by my emergency surgery, followed by my diagnosis with lupus. I ended up not going to the gym for almost a year. No one else from the family went either, so we gave up the membership. (Yes, a horrible waste of money.) We actually ended up buying some gym equipment for the house and have exercised here since then.

Am I boot-camp-perfect right now? No, and truthfully I never was. I was just aiming for the wrong goal. I know that you could say that it was transference. That psychological state when you put your energies into something that you think you can control because so much of your life is out of your control. That is what happens with anorexics/bulimics. They use food as transference. It is not a healthy way to deal with food and it is not healthy when you do it with exercise either. Needless to say that no one need worry about my transference anymore. I have mitigated by boot-camp persona and have a nice big 50-year-old tuchas (as I mentioned in an earlier post, a tuchas that I am trying to whittle away using Kinnect while getting the help of an annoyed teen on how to turn on the darn Xbox.)

I suppose the idea of boot camp perfect can be thought of in any aspect of your life. The truth of the matter is that we can obsess about being perfect about anything. We, the parents of special needs children, know that we can not have those boot camp perfect children that everyone seems to obsess about as accessories in today’s society. You know the child that gets all A’s, is the captain of the soccer team, wins the debate club medal and is a National Merit Scholar. I actually ran into someone in town whose son was a National Merit Scholar, (read about it in the highschool bulletin) and I congratulated her. She actually didn't think it was a big deal, or acted like it. Even acted like she wasn't sure what I was talking about at first. I told her that I thought it was really cool, and she thanked me. Weird so very weird. Heck, if one of my children had been named a national scholar I would have bought a billboard and a megaphone believe you me. Truthfully I remember the days when I just wanted them to say what they wanted to eat (or say anything for that matter) . Followed by the days that I just wished the children would eat a variety of foods so I didn’t have to worry about their vitamin nutrition as much as I had to. (By the way, my pediatrician said that carnation instant breakfast was fine at the time to help out their vitamin intake. They loved it and collegeman still at times drinks the stuff.) Some people really don't understand how lucky they are.

I suppose the issue becomes trying to figure out just what aspect of your life becomes the "transference" when you realize that your child is well…human? Where is that boot camp perfect life that we are all supposed to lead and where do we find it? Oh my God what bullshit. There is no such thing, and I mean no such thing as a perfect life, and I am not saying that just because we have special needs children.  There is just no way that anyone can be everything to everyone. How in the heck is anyone supposed to keep a perfect house, have small children running around, cook, do laundry, volunteer at the schools, make sure that your husband has what he needs for his job, be there if your parents or sibling needs you and as so many of us also do, work outside the home? You need to have a staff on call for all of that if you want it done perfectly. Now of course, these women in Beverly Hills have staffs. That is really nice if you can do it, but I bet that those reading this blog have a staff of one, themselves, with the occasional pitch in from the hubby.

I came to the conclusion along time ago that no way is anything in my life going to be boot camp perfect; not my ass and not my children. Life is what it is, and the only thing I apply to boot camp perfect is my ability to go with the flow and take each moment as it comes. However, you can lay odds that there are times that I begin to obsess and screw up my boot camp perfect attitude of keeping calm no matter what. Even my ability to handle a crisis is a work in progress but its also the only aspect of boot camp perfect I am going to shoot for anymore. 

Until next time,

Elise