Change the Dance

My mom always says to me that if you aren’t happy in life and change isn’t happening on it’s own (or in the way that you hope), sometimes you need to “change the dance”.  I obviously complain a lot as she’s said it many times to me.  But I don’t think I really “got” what she meant until recently.  Mainly because I hadn’t been applying it to my life.

My first year in the Netherlands was hard, the hardest year that I can remember.  But nothing is going to change unless I make the changes.  And so I’m trying to start off this year on a more positive note with some changes to my life.  It’s time to change the dance and see what happens.  I mentioned a few of these things in my anniversary post, but I thought it would be a good idea to elaborate a little more on how important it is to make changes when things going every which way but up!

I’m not one to relax very easily.  So I have to be honest, I surprised myself when I decided to take up a yoga class.  A friend of mine at Liam’s school had just started a class and he mentioned that there was going to be a class in English.  Not hesitating (because then I would never doing), I signed up that day.  It’s a small class with just 2 or 3 students right now – perfect for me as my reason for never starting before was being self conscious about not understanding the moves.  For an hour and a half every Friday, I’m learning how to take better care of myself, both physically and emotionally.  We’ll see how much it actually tones my body (that’s a plus) but I’m really enjoying the class itself, even more so because it’s something I said I’d never do.

On the exercise side of things – I finally joined a gym here.  Yes, it’s been a year since we moved here.  I feel like I’m on the exact same cycle that I was on in Barcelona.  It has just taken me this year to feel like I was in my groove and ready to commit to it again.  I’ve been running all year and doing a few things at home, but for me, I need to go out to the gym to feel really productive.  I’d joined one last year for a month but wasn’t crazy about the feel of it and so gave up.  Now, I’m ready and I’ve committed (and paid) to the next year at this gym near Liam’s school.  I went a few days last week and it felt great to get back into some sort of routine again.  On the flip side though, I seem to have already injured myself as my plantar fasciitis has flared up out of no where (and no, I did not feel like I was overworking anything) leaving me pretty incapacitated the last few days.  One step forward, 2 steps back. But I’ll get there.  I’ve made the commitment and I’m excited to get back later this week.

Going back to things I always said I wouldn’t do.  I always said I wouldn’t take a photography class.  I love taking pictures when we are on holiday but let’s be honest, I keep it on auto.  The pictures come out just fine but that’s the problem.  They are fine – not spectacular. And yet, I didn’t do anything about it.  The manual is intimidating.  The book Josh bought me was intimidating.  I told him I had no interest in a class.  And so what did he get me for Mother’s Day?  A class.  At first I was annoyed.  I said I didn’t want a class.  But then I got there.  And I started to learn things.  It was then that I realized I needed this change, not just of my schedule, but for me.  It’s been a long time since I learned something new.  And guess what?  I’ve survived it!

I joined the PTA (known as the PSG here) at Aidan’s school.  I’ve never been a PTA mom before.  I have been a room parent and found it to be uninteresting.  I’ve volunteered for some field trips here or there.  But I have never been involved in this way at school.  With Aidan’s school still being relatively new with lots of growing pains, I also realized that you can’t expect change to happen while you sit around, but instead need to be a part of change if you actually want it to happen.  It’s still the early stages on this one and I’m not totally sold on it, but as I’m not a quitter, I consider myself committed for this school year.  After that, we’ll see.

Going with the school theme, I’m learning to let go of the stress.  Ok, this one is a work in progress.  One of the things Josh always tells me is to find the stressor and to remove it.  Often times he’ll tell me to quit my job (not realistic to me) because we can’t get rid of the other stress in our lives such as the kids, homework, etc but we can remove that stress.  I am always annoyed when he says this because working is important to me.  But I do agree with what he is saying as far as knowing what stress is unavoidable and what stress we can remove.  For now, for me, that stress is related to school.  I haven’t elaborated about it on the blog (yet) about what happened last year related to school but let’s just say this – “Let it go”.  Eight months of stress.  Gone.  The moment I agreed to let it go in my head, a lot of the stress just fell off my shoulders.

I’m trying to learn to let go of the stress related to things I can’t change as well. The kids’ schedules are a ridiculous mess.  But I can’t do anything about it.  And so I’m letting go of my negative feelings related to getting them to and from school and just trying to enjoy my extra time with each of them on their own, something I didn’t get regularly before now.

So that’s it for the moment as far as changing the dance.  I feel like it’s actually just the beginning.  I’m feeling really good these last few weeks with all of these positive changes.  They aren’t huge, but they are significant to me, especially as a person who usually avoids change at all cost (amusing coming from someone who has moved as much as we have in the last 6 years, I know).  As we would say in Spain, poco a poco… Here it would be beetje bij beetje.  Little by little, bit by bit.

Knuffels en kussen,

Julie

12 thoughts on “Change the Dance

  1. Exactly! If you see that things are not happening, you need to MAKE them happen. If you just wait until something happens to you, you don’t create your reality by yourself but let other people do it instead of you! And this doesn’t apply just to big things in life but also small thinngs like going to the gym for me or trying not be late for meetings (this is what I am going through now) 🙂 Congrats to your first year in Holland and good luck!

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    • I’m tired of waiting for things to happen. Last year was just miserable (for so many reasons) and if I don’t want a repeat of last year, then change is necessary! Every little bit, like you said, makes a difference!

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  2. I hate change, too! And it sometimes takes us longer to process something, especially when it’s so far out of the lexicon of what we would or wouldn’t do. I always find (in hindsight) that it’s my struggles to make sense of it that causes me the most stress. Some stuff just DOESN’T make sense. I’m a slow learner 🙂

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  3. Pingback: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back | The Expat Chronicles

    • Ellen, I couldn’t agree more! This was our second international move – for some reason it was harder than the first though? But it’s almost as if something “clicks” after that first year is done and you can go back to the land of the living a happier person!

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    • I ended up getting new orthotics through the podiatrist… alas, the foot still hurts months later. I think it’s time for another visit to the doctor. I did start running again though and just hope I don’t damage it more!

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