The other day I was running on the treadmill while Eva was in tumbling class at the Y. I was thinking about how it was a pretty passable alternative on days when it's too hot or cold to jog outside. Then I had to laugh at myself, remembering a day this past winter when I ran in the very same spot, cursing the oppressiveness of running indoors facing a cinderblock wall. As I ran I began counting other issues I frequently go back and forth on in my head, and could barely keep track of things from the past week alone. I had to conclude that my internal monologue could be accused of being a worse flip-flopper than anyone who ever ran for political office.
To make things worse, there is the matter of what I like to think of as my "passionate verbal style." Others might call this being "dramatic" or "prone to exaggeration," but no matter how you characterize it the end result is that I not only seem to change my mind frequently, but to really strongly do so. For the most part I think I keep this to myself, but surely those who know me well have caught on.
For instance, this week I alternately had the following thoughts:
-I love my body. I am healthy and strong. I can easily run 4 miles, and I do a decent Cuban Salsa. Not bad for 33!
-Wow, I should not exercise where there are mirrors, as it highlights the fact that my thighs are both large and pale. I need to shape up immediately or else stop leaving the house in shorts. I look (gasp!) middle aged!
-I can't wait to have more free time this fall when the kids go to school. I can have some time to myself to grade and clean the house. Then I can focus all my attention on the family when they get home, which is really what I love.
-I hope I can pick up some more hours at work this fall. There is no reason to sit around when I could be using those school hours to work back toward a professional career. We'll find time to clean the house on the weekends, and I'll feel so satisfied to be doing what I love.
-We are so blessed. We live in luxury compared to most of the world. How lucky we are to have plenty of delicious food and a beautiful, comfortable home. It's noble to be teachers, and good that I can be at home with the kids. We have plenty of money, and God has always provided for us. We should buy generous gifts for each other and all our friends and family.
-Money is so tight. It's shameful what we pay teachers in this country; we should have been doctors or lawyers. We really need to be saving more, but it's hard enough trying to keep us on budget all the time. We need to STOP spending so much money; I should identify some kind of homemade item to give out as gifts to our friends and family.
-Seriously, what is with all these women who do their hair and makeup to work out or to go to the pool? I have WAY more important things to worry about than how I look during the summer; I'm so glad I can feel free to get dirty at the park or get my hair wet at the pool. When I work out I'm there to exercise, not impress people.
-Wow, those moms in the wading pool look so together with their designer sunglasses and perfectly-styled hair buns. And look at how that substitute Zumba instructor's lip gloss matches her little workout outfit. How cute is she? I look like a disaster; hair flying everywhere and mascara smeared around my eyes... I need to look like I have a little more self-respect.
-Sunscreen for the whole family! No way am I gonna fall for that "tan is healthy" myth of my parents' generation. I'm just gonna pack that SPF 100 in my purse so we can reapply all day, 'cause nobody's getting skin cancer on my watch!
-Vitamin D deficiency is a serious problem in this country. The people of my generation are just suncreening ourselves to death! Outside in the sun, Family, 'cause nobody's getting Alzheimer's/autism/diabetes/depression/rickets/Parkinson's/cancer on my watch!
-I love having a garden. It's so important to me that the kids know where their food comes from, and I love that we're eating chemical-free food right from our backyard. I think I learn something new every year.
-I stink at gardening. I hate watering it, I don't know when or how to harvest anything... I never make time to look up the answers to problems with pests or plant diseases. I think I kill a new variety of vegetable every year.
So, I'm wondering, do other people do this? Is this constant internal struggle normal? Or is it a manifestation of some kind of rampant insecurity? I don't know; I just keep going back and forth.