I feel the need to defend myself after last week’s blog entry. Bear with me. I’m hoping this comes across as charming and endearing, rather than pathetic and grating. But, you see, I’m afraid I may have given the wrong impression. Like, that I’m an indiscriminate gossip. That I’m not trustworthy. That I can’t keep a secret. That I just flap my gums all day long about anything and everything, to anyone who will listen. Perhaps it’s my own dramatic license coming to bite me in the ass. And perhaps it’s just coincidence that an inordinate number of my emails went unreturned this week. But I have it in my head that everyone hates me now, that they think I’m an awful person. You know what they say about that: just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.
Anyway, I need to say this: I can be a vault! I can be Fort Knox! Secrets have come in and stayed in. I’ve had a week to think about all of this and I can say that, yes, I do like to gossip – but I like to think it’s harmless gossip. Of course, I also like to think I’m big-boned, so you should probably take all of that with a grain of salt.
Moving on...to this week’s blog entry. A blog entry that would have gone up far earlier if I hadn’t completely forgotten about writing it, what with being so busy worrying about myself, what I think of me and what other people think of me. It can be exhausting, you know. Damn! I digressed again! Will I ever get this written?
Another attempt: my lambs, I feel I have gone astray. I had so many great intentions when this project first began and in the midst of life and subsequent changes, so many things have fallen through the cracks. I like many of the changes. I had high hopes that they’d stay in place. But my wagon has been derailed. I’m off the tracks. Now I’m out of metaphors. But you get the idea.
So instead of picking one change for the next seven days, it seemed indicated to choose the overarching theme of “gettin' back to it” (that sounds folksy, don't it?) and focus on one area each day. A little jump-start, if you will. A gentle nudge in the right direction. There have been so many good changes to come out of this project for me and I want to keep many of them. (But not all of them: no caffeine? No thanks.)
Thus, this week, I got back to it. What it? Which it? Read on!
It’s interesting to me – and, I’m willing to accept, not necessarily anyone else – to note that this was not just my first change, but it was the change I probably kept up with most consistently. Until recently. I dunno what happened. One day I was running late, I supposed. Or running lazy. Either way, the bed didn’t get made. And that led into another day, which…well, you know how that goes.
I am reminded that the greatest journey begins with one day of bedmaking. Or something like that. So I got back to it, making the bed. It’s not a big thing. It doesn’t take long. I don’t know what my deal is with resisting this. Except, perhaps, it’s the repetitiveness of it. And the futility. If I’m in a bed-half-empty mode, all I can think about is how this is a task that just needs done again and again. There’s shades of Atlas to it, minus the globe. And the hill. But you understand me, don’t you?
I just found that I really had to focus on the positive in this task: in particular, how nice the bed looks, versus how tedious the task feels. And, fingers crossed, it’s sticking again. So far.
2. Working out
I hadn’t seen the inside of the gym since before our trip to Scotland which, for those keeping track, was more than a month ago. Certainly, I haven’t felt very good since I’ve been back, but it’s that same ol’ catch 22 that trips me up every time: I feel like crap, so I don’t work out; I don’t work out, blah blah blah.
So I’m not exaggerating when I say that it took EVERY BIT OF STRENGTH I COULD POSSIBLY MUSTER to make it back to the gym. And that it VERY NEARLY KILLED ME. Yes, maybe I was the only one crying on the elliptical machine, but I suited up and showed up. Then I did it again later in the week. Twice. Don’t worry. It won’t last. It never does.
3. Riding Orangey
I had this idea that as soon as the weather warmed up, I would be out on my bike (the cleverly named “Orangey”) every day, quickly building up strength and stamina to whip around town effortlessly. Turns out that all takes work. A lot of it. And there’s no “quickly” about it where I’m concerned. And work is not my strong suit.
Yet the day after my triumphant return to the gym, I experienced a slight uptick in energy – the two, I am sure, are not related – and I got on my bike. It had been a while but it was just like, well, riding a bike: hot and hard work. Like so many things, I really like the idea of being a bike rider more than I like the reality of riding a bike. I tend to get discouraged by how much my legs hurt, how five minutes of biking feels like 50 and four miles feels like forty.
But, in the strictest sense, I did what I set out to do: I got back to it. Then it got way too hot and I haven’t gotten back on again. The end. (Not a very inspirational tale, but it’s 100% true.)
The other thing that happened this week is that I found myself with an unusual amount of work and I had to reach deep down to remember if I owned a work ethic and where on earth I put it. I don’t generally sit around eating bon-bons all day long, but it’s one thing to write for myself or work with the open-ended deadlines of the work I do for Chris and a couple of other clients.
Everyone I know thinks it would be so awesome to be a freelancer, but it’s sort of akin to saying that it would be amazing to be poor. It’s tough, it’s not glamorous and there’s often nothing in the coffer. The nature of the biz, as we pros call it, is that there are long droughts, then when it rains, it pours.
And pour it did. With work. With deadlines! It’s a little embarrassing to admit the lengths I had to go to in order to force myself to sit down and just DO THE WORK. Be my own inner parent. Act like a grown up.
In the end, everything that needed to get done got done. On time, no less. It felt good to accomplish something. It felt good to remember that I’m good at something. I mean, not good enough that I’d want to do it every day, but you get the point.
At some point in the past couple of months, I forgot to knit. This is really unusual for me and I can’t quite explain why or how it happened. There was a time that I was so obsessive about knitting, I’d actually jones for it after a couple of hours removed.
Somewhere recently I seem to have forgotten what it was like, what I liked about it. More than that, I forgot how important it was to me, how much it calms me. That it speaks to some part of me I can’t quite name, a part that feels soothed and capable and skilled. I forgot that it converts a night in front of the boob tube to a productive event.
So I dug into my basket and picked up the last project I’d been working on, a preemie blanket I’m knitting for a friend’s charity project. It’s no bigger than a napkin for these tiny little creatures. It felt good to move the needles expertly, to feel the yarn slide through my fingers, to see the rows pile up and remember the great pleasure to be had in creating something simple with your own two hands.
6. Making my food
I may have gone a little nuts when last week’s moratorium on eating out ended. What can I say? I was worried about the local economy, about the restaurants that were no doubt suffering without my business. And I also realized I’m getting a little taxed by my farm share. Don’t get me wrong; it’s still a great thing. It’s just that there’s so much of it and it all requires…work.
One thing this project is doing for me is helping me figure out what changes I want to have in my life and which I think I should. Eating in and eating better actually fits both those criteria, but I sometimes ignore that in favor of ease and convenience. I had to stop and remind myself that this way of eating – simpler, better foods, prepared with mindfulness at home – is what I want my life to look like. Duly chastised, I buckled down, planned some menus and forced myself to eat in again. Maybe at some point I’ll remember that I actually like it without having to force myself.
It’s not rocket science, people. Yet I’m still tired all the time. I don’t sleep enough. I don’t get to sleep at the right hours, don’t get up at the right hours. I’m not sensible enough to listen to my body and go to bed when it’s wise. Instead, I fight the exhaustion through “just one more” row of knitting or episode of True Blood and then I’m riding a second wind into the wee hours of the morning.
It’s not good. Getting back to it, however, would imply that I’ve ever been wise about my sleep. I’m not sure that’s true. So I just figured I’d get back to trying. It’s hard for me, though, to remember that “trying” doesn’t mean “constantly chastising myself” for making the wrong choices. It has to mean something more positive, like trying to listen to my body.
So I did the strangest thing this week, one day when I was tired and cranky. I took a nap. A far longer one than medical experts advise, I’m certain, and probably far later in the day than was sensible. But I was surprised at how much good it did me not to argue about whether or not I should be tired or whether or not I’d “earned” a nap and just do it. I felt much better. Refreshed. Almost as if sleep was something my body needed to function properly. Huh.