As a 30-year old who is a part-time grad student and a full-time office worker, are my goals to get control over my life (weight loss, finances, home, work, etc) really unrealistic? Is there a way to just be NORMAL and balanced, or is it really just normal not to really have things together, even as an adult?
posted by dumbledore69 to health & fitness (27 answers total) 83 users marked this as a favorite
I am a 30-year old woman, and while working through a number of issues (depression, anxiety, ADHD) I have come to realize that I am deeply unhappy with how I manage my life. I thought medication, which does help, was going to be a magic bullet somehow, but of course that was kind of a stupid assumption for me and I still have a lot of the same issues.
So...the things I am most unhappy about are:
1) My weight. I need to lose at least 80 lbs, but probably more like 100. My general physical health (blood pressure, cholesterol levels, etc) are fine, but I think I've got a genetic disposition towards diabetes and cancer, so I feel like my healthy days are numbered if I don't get things under control. Plus I'm endlessly depressed that I have to wear plus-sized clothing and get these awesome doses of extra low self esteem (to supplement my generally low self-esteem) every time I remember how fat I am because of pictures of me that suck or clothes that don't fit or things I can't do because of my weight. I know that I *can* lose weight, and I have (but regained most of it). Sometimes I get really into my weight, and when it's my top priority, I lose it. But then when I try to focus on something else important, I gain it back because I lose focus of whatever isn't my current pet project.
2) My house. Unless my obsession du jour is cleaning/organizing, I am a slob. When my house is clean, it's very very clean. And it makes me so happy to have it clean. I can't accept that I am a slob, because I feel so stressed when my house is messy, and I can't find things or have people over. I love being home when my house is clean, and I generally enjoy cleaning tasks, believe it or not.
3) My finances. I have also made good progress in paying off some of my credit card debt ... it was $17k, and now it's down to $11k. But I still feel like there are times when I'm really good about money and think before I purchase something and don't spend more than I have budgeted, and there are times when I am focused on other things and go crazy and spend what I want to (or feel that I need to) without regard for the big picture or the balance in my checking account. Some months I pay a large chunk of debt off, and some months I amass hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees because I was focused on something else (like losing weight ... in a weight-loss fueled time period, I'll spend a lot more on groceries and fitness gadgets and workout clothes and justify the spending because "I deserve whatever will help me lose this weight!"). I badly just want to pay off all this debt and be able to stick to my budget.
4) Work ... I get distracted at work, I am sure often because of my ADHD and some perfectionistic tendencies towards my larger projects (and resulting anxiety), but I also tend to get distracted by my current obsession (weight, organizing, cleaning, etc). I just want to be able to focus on WORK at work, all the time, or at least most of the time. And then when I leave work, I'd like to not think about it much anymore (within reason, at least). When I get into SUPER AWESOME WORKER ME mode, I tend to obsess, bringing work home, and just thinking about it all the time. And I might let other things slip because I'm so focused on making things as comfortable and easy as possible for me to do the best work I can.
5) Mood. Not sure if this belongs in this list, because I don't have a history of obsessing about this. But because of all the stress and frustration and all, I know I need to make taking care of my emotional health and mood a higher priority. My plans have been to set aside Sundays to do fun/relaxing things instead of errands / homework / chores, unless I absolutely have to. And making more time to just READ. And I know exercise and supplements will help, too, just like they will with weight.
In talking to both friends and a therapist, a common thread is that they think my expectations for myself are unrealistic and that I need to pick and choose priorities. My argument is that all of my expectations are vital and that I cannot drop any of them.
Also, it's not like I've never tried to focus on one or two goals at a time. I mean, I'm always trying to fix the things I am unhappy about, as I've mentioned above. At any given time, I feel obsessively focused on fixing one area of my life. And I do GREAT at it.
Like, last winter I was all about weight loss. I lost 40 lbs and 2 sizes in about 2-3 months by doing an hour of hard cardio a day, plus yoga twice a week, plus eating very regimented, pre-portioned Weight Watchers-pointed meals. I was a superstar, right until I simultaneously burned out on weight loss and panicked the hell out about something else I dropped the ball on, my finances.
I quickly got all psyched about fixing my budget, so I worked to correct the damage to my bank account caused during the weight loss bit (having spent a lot on assorted special diet foods and supplements, lots of workout clothes, etc), amassed and paid up any neglected bills, automated a lot of my bills, eliminating some expenses, and just doing a really good job there, and learning about finances a bit. It was great until it came time to maintain that. Then it was boring and I was off to the next thing.
It frustrates me so much, and the more I learn about ADHD the more it seems to make sense that I do this. I love the excitement of swooping in and making great plans and implementing them and getting stimulated over sparkling challenges and quick rewards.
But I can't live like this anymore. I just want to work on making some moderate changes to all of these parts of my life. Everyone keeps telling me to PICK something to focus on, and I'm scared of that. I think it's just going to land me right back where I always am ... obsessed with something until it's no fun anymore.
Can't I just be a NORMAL chick who is at a reasonable weight (I don't need to be really skinny, I just want to be in normal US Misses sizes!), who does work consistently, who keeps a reasonably neat house, and who can spend money and save money like a grown up? And who isn't a total basketcase all the time?
I just feel like what I want for myself isn't unrealistic, and that I just need to find a way to build moderate habits in all areas at once, building on them until I get close to my goals. But at the same time, it almost seems like having your shit together is an unreasonable expectation to everyone else.
So what do I do? Do I really have to drop some of my expectations? Or is there a way I can get closer to where I want to be?