Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Back-up and Balance

Every time I get sick it reminds me how lucky I am

That may sound strange but this last weekend was a good example. On Saturday I woke up feeling singularly uninspired. That is unlike me. As much as I hate mornings, whenever I get to judo I am just happy to be there. Tony Comfort, a contender for the 2004 Olympic team, Raytheon engineer and new dad runs our morning conditioning practices but between the whole job-and-dad thing he had missed the last couple and Gary Butts had to work on Saturday. Well, thank God Tony was there on Saturday because I just was not feeling it. He did a great conditioning work out with our team at the local park. Stopping by to watch, I was extremely proud of them. It was over 100 degrees and they were doing sprints, step-ups and other conditioning and strength training exercises in the heat. Even our two littlest ones, Julia and Erin, joined in.

The Nanka Shorai games (contests for younger kids that include number of throws in two minutes, number of push-ups in two minutes, etc.) were during the lunch break and by the time those ended I was done. I was so sick, I laid on the couch and slept through the whole afternoon practice.

Tony did a great job and I know everyone at practice got a lot out of it. On Sunday, when I was still sick in bed, Julia went with Dad to buy new running shoes "for Tony's conditioning practices".

Laying in bed for 30 hours, I had plenty of time to think and this is what I thought about how lucky I am:

  • I am really lucky to be part of a training center where we have enough good quality coaches that we can cover for each other at the drop of a hat, or virus, or shift change.

  • I am really lucky to have a healthy, smart little kid and a husband to take care of her when I am sick. I remembered how it was after Ron died and the other kids were little. If I was sick, I still had to do laundry, make dinner and help them with their homework anyway. If I was really sick, they just had to take care of themselves. Either way it sucked.

  • I am really lucky that in spite of the less-than-perfect life they had growing up, all of my children grew up to be good people with significant accomplishments academically, athletically and poised for a healthy, happy, successful life, however they might define it. And believe me, they each define that quite differently.

  • I am really lucky that I am just sick and not chronically or terminally ill. I have had friends who were seriously ill or disabled who feel this bad every day. Although I felt terrible, I knew it would pass in a day or two and I would be back to writing programs, teach judo, teaching statistics and all of the other things that I do.

  • Even though I felt like I was falling behind spending a day and a half in bed, I felt really lucky that I have a full life with so much to do between work, judo and my family.

Now I realize that all of this makes me sound like a Pollyanna-ish look on the sunny side of life optimist. Well, first of all, I hated that movie and thought Pollyanna was annoying. Secondly, I think that I am not being optimistic so much as realistic.

My niece, Samantha, was reading some articles about "depressive realism" that said people who were depressed were more realistic about their lot in life while the so-called "normal" people over-estimated their own attractiveness, intellect, etc. in comparison to the judgments others made about them.

I would debate that reality is necessarily determined by majority rule. Now, I am not saying that if the majority of the people say that there is NOT a giant green bat flying around my head trying to eat my ears and I say there is that I would not be several steps over the line from crazy.

However, objectively, I would say that living in Santa Monica, having two kids through college, one headed to her second Olympics, good friends, a healthy little kid, past my tenth wedding anniversary, the bills are paid, is a good life. Other people might debate that I don't live in a big house in Malibu, or in a big house at all, we live in a townhouse, and I drive a mini-van, not a Porsche. For all the money I made over the years, I wasted it on trips to the Bahamas, Athens, Austria, Hawaii, Seattle, Boston, San Francisco, Disneyland, Universal Studios, Las Vegas, on designer clothes the kids didn't need, helping out friends who needed it at the time and a thousand other things. "Realistically," I should have invested more and spent less.

Objectively, I should have a job with a fancy title, a big office and a fat salary given all my years of experience. Realistically, I am an under-achiever being 'only' a senior statistical consultant after all these years, I should be in management, well, managing.

To all of this realism, I say, "HA!"

I like my life. My work interests me. In 24 hours of a day, I am probably happy 23 1/2 of them. I like the giant jade fish on my desk because it reminds me of the camp at Mayo Quanchi where the Chinese team gave it to me, and it is the king of my 'desk pets'. I like my little coffee house on my desk with the candle inside that lights up because it reminds me of Christmas when someone gave it to me, and that person (my sister-in-law) was thoughtful enough to realize I liked coffee and candles and put them together. I like it too, because it reminds me of Thomas Kinkaide paintings which I also like, even if my husband dismisses them as trendy.

Maybe this is why the whole judo politics, judo trash talking and all the negative things don't bother me as much as they seem to bother some people. I have a great life full of good things. No one is shooting at me. The last time I was really hungry was making weight for the world championships 24 years ago. Most days, my biggest worry is finding a parking space, which reminds me that I own a car, am able to drive and live in a place good enough that so many people want to live there you can't even find a parking space.

I think I AM realistic and people who are depressed are just, well, depressing.


Bob C. said...

This is so funny!! As I sit out on my deck on a one of a kind sunny Seattle day- going over the day that we had had at Budokan, I'm sitting here having a glass a wine thinking to myself that I have to be a such a crappy coach aka, " the catholic guilt" that only a sister could have drilled into us" and only another catholic knows this.. How in the hell could have I let my kids down so much and how my 9 year olds just didn't get there turn over drills. I will think of this day for a long while and oh yea I will be at mass tomorrow still filling guilty for the pain I caused ...but for now Annmaria it's always a pleasure to read your blog ..and I guess I might go have another glass and think about the next practice and try not to fill so guilty...... wishful thinking

Terry Quick said...

My name is Terry Quick and I used to work for a Ron Rousy in Riverside Ca.

His wife was into judo. If memory serves me correctly she was an accomplished black belt.

Are you their daughter?