Sometimes life is grand and all you touch turns to gold, everyone is happy and healthy and the is as Lloyd Christmas says “where the beer flows like wine. ” Sometimes it’s pretty crappy where you’re plugging the dike just to survive with the laser focus of simply keeping things afloat – these times are generally pretty rare thankfully. And then there’s that area where things are a little off-kilter and not very good and the hits, sometimes minor, sometimes relatively major, just keep on coming… in those times you just have to grind through them. Grinding is fighting tooth and nail to stay positive in the face of adversity. Grinding is holding everything together, trying to find time to enjoy things, but the dogs are still barking at your heels. Grinding is still uncovering weakness, dealing with setbacks and trying to improve while at the same time trying to maintain the gains that have already been made without backsliding.
I feel in life, in general, I’m built to grind things out and mentally just keep moving in the right direction little by little. Never a natural athlete, I grinded my way to a state tournament berth in wrestling; grinded my way to success in the long distance triathlon; am grinding my way to increased muscle mass and strength despite a build that as a high school senior I weighed as low as 106# and probably graduated at about 120# (last week I saw I weighed over 50 lbs heavier than that). I have mental toughness to make this happen. In marriage and family life though, grinding together is a little different and takes a little different set of skills. We’re not the only one grinding, Bea (traveling husband, new house and move) and RPW also are dealing with things too… we all do.
We’re grinding right now a little, sort of a compilations of things. First, while we try not to let our family (parents/siblings) stuff get us down too much, the dynamics of those relationship can’t help but seep into our life perspective even if we’re slightly removed from the direct impacts. My brother, mom and dad have all had surgeries in the last few weeks for various odds and ends, some serious, some less so. Holly’s brother and his wife are still in limbo on their marriage, and Holly is serving as a sounding board to her bro as she’s slowly feeding him bits of red pill learnings, but it’s hard to watch him struggle.
Second, the new job for my wife (opening up a new office from scratch) is going well, but is a major undertaking for her. She’s grinding herself as she’s building new clients and reconnecting with old ones, while at the same time supporting the mothership in their endeavors. She’s been traveling more frequently than her old job (where she traveled a fair amount), which tends to put more on my shoulders. We’re a good team and I’m used to carrying the family as a strong captain, but at the same time I feel much stronger and complete when she’s around. The dynamic of going from SAHM, even though it was only a few months between jobs, to a full time work dynamo has also been interesting and at times challenging. I have a feeling a fair amount of her mental and emotional energy is being used up in this endeavor and it’s been leaving her totally wiped out, falling asleep early and often and even sleeping late past her alarm which isn’t like her.
For me, it’s been a series of successes and setbacks all year with surgery, injuries and more injuries. I hope this is just a series of anomalies as I take good care of my body, but engage in activities of younger men and move heavy weights often that results in tweaks and soreness. Work is challenging and it come home mentally at times and weighs on you. In general, as a couple and family things have been better. The kids have been great and have had a great summer. My wife and I are both still working on individual and commingled things that still have rough edges in our relationship, some that stem from past histories and are woven into the fabric of who we are. Needless to say, these things still impact our relationship and take time to deal with. Don’t mean to be cryptic here, but are some of the things we all work on as married couples, things that make men and women different than each other and result in hurt feelings at times.
Even the best of us grind from time to time, and things will settle in a little bit as school starts again and progress continues to be made. There is often hardship and strife, but grinding while keeping a positive outlook, not taking the frustrations out on those we love and continuing to recognize this is part of the growth of something better in the future is the key. Keep your head up and just keep swimming