Sorry for only one post again last week. Trying to get better about it. I could have done late mediocre posts and backdated them but that’s not my style. I’ve been trying to be better about letting myself off the hook when life gets busy and focusing on doing a great job on what I know I can accomplish vs trying to churn out a high volume of projects that are just okay. Quality over quantity baby!
Speaking of projects I’ve been having a few around the home lately. I did a little redecorating, I’m currently painting my bedroom, I’m working on a big purging and reorganization task to minimize the amount of stuff I have and really highlight the things that mean something to me, and once the bedroom is done there will be a little more decorating. Now DIY isn’t a new concept to me. I typically have some sort of creative project I’m focusing on as an outlet. Right now my preferred craft is creating handmade stationery and taking the time to write notes to friends far away.
This home project may have started out a DIY, but has evolved into something a bit more than that. I realized this whole reorganizing and redecorating project is something I’ve wanted to do for years but I’ve always let myself have excuses as to why I couldn’t. “This will cost too much money and I should really save more.” “I don’t have the time.” “I rent so why should I invest in redecorating since I technically don’t own this home?” There were about a million other reasons I had for putting this off. Once I started I realized that not doing it was really saying that “I’m not worth this.” I wasn’t letting myself think I was worth owning nice things that made me happy, getting rid of handy-me-downs that I didn’t love, or a bedroom that didn’t have peeling paint.
I don’t think I’m alone in this. I think a lot of us are afraid to do things that create joy for ourselves because we think it seems selfish. In fact it’s the opposite of selfish. We’re showing the world that we are worth it and inspiring others to do the same when we treat ourselves to what we know we deserve. Instead of thinking about this as DIY I’m starting to adopt the attitude of DIFY. Do it for yourself. It’s a simple act of self love that may just inspire you to take things further and really bring the things you deserve in terms of work, relationships, and happiness into your life. What is your current DIFY?
This is going to come across as snobby and perhaps a bit pretentious, but audio books were something I’ve avoided for years. I thought that it was the “lazy person’s” way of reading. I’m a bit old school. I love physical books. I only broke down and bought an e-reader a couple of years ago because even I have to admit that when it comes to travel and commuting on public transit, a Kindle lets you carry multiple books on one device and doesn’t weigh down your handbag the way a hard back does. That being said, I still probably purchase one e-book for every five physical books I buy.
I have a lot of friends who listen to audio books. Most of them don’t live in NYC so I get it. Listening to a book on their drive to work is like me reading on the subway each day. I don’t tend to listen to music or podcasts when I’m out and about. I only play music on my phone when I’m running, although I am plugged into Spotify or NPR when I’m working and I love listening to music at home.
I finally opened to audio books when I was working on some home redecorating projects. I find the TV distracting so I usually listen to music when I’m cleaning or working on pet projects. I was getting stressed out because I love to read and I’ve been looking at my Goodreads list with the syncing feeling that I won’t make it through half the books I want to in my lifetime. I decided why not listen to a book instead of music while taping my bedroom walls for a painting project. I’m now a convert.
My advice is make sure you can preview your audio book so you know you’ll enjoy the narrator. I think that audio books will now be part of my cleaning routine.
For Mondays on this site I’m choosing to focus on mindfulness. Mindfulness means a variety of things for different people. For me it incompasses feeling healthy in body, mind, and spirit, having self confidence and worth, and keeping life in balance.
In March I made a pledge to give up meat for 30 days to see how I felt and decide if that was a change that I wanted to try and stick with beyond that month. I am an animal lover, but that wasn’t the main motivation behind this change. I kept seafood in my diet and dairy. I have bouts of acid reflux and also was noticing that I felt sluggish after certain meals. I have been working with my doctor and nutritionist on coming up with a lifestyle plan that works for me. I’ve been trying to trust my gut…literally. I found that when I ate meat I felt bloated and fatigued afterwards.
Giving up meat for a month I noticed that I felt less tired and uncomfortable. Eliminating meat also helped me recognize other foods that make me feel this way which are white flour and sugar. I haven’t cut those out completely, but am weaning myself off to consuming less of each. I’ve also been working with my nutritionist on making sure I’m getting the proper nutrients. I’ve taken a multivitamin, calcium, and vitamin D for years. I’ve started taking iron because I am anemic (this was from blood work taken prior to giving up meat) and I also started taking a vitamin B complex because I have a deficiency there too. Lastly I’m taking a probiotic which I really think has made the biggest difference in terms of acid reflux. I’m not a doctor or medical expert. All of these changes in my diet and supplements have been under the supervision of medical professionals. I’ve said it before I don’t think there is one diet or medical answer that works for everyone, you need to find what works for you.
So I’ve stayed with my eliminating meat plan. I eat seafood maybe 1-3 times a week, but aside from that have stuck to a mostly plant based diet. I don’t really miss red meat other than an occasional burger craving, which I try to satisfy with various veggie burgers. I do sometimes want poultry and have found that adding spices and sauces to tofu, seitan, and even certain vegetables placate those desires. I’ve actually had a lot of fun with getting creative in the kitchen and at restaurants and finding meat free options that are delicious and well balanced. I don’t advocate that meatless is for everyone, but at least for now it seems to be making my tummy happier.
In March, I was focused on making, going meatless, and motivation. I did very well in those areas. It’s a good thing that writing and posting to this site wasn’t a concentration for the past couple of months because I would have failed miserably. This break was a good thing, though. I needed to focus on some minor health issues (everything is fine now) and some other areas in my life.
I also took some time to assess what I wanted to focus on right now with this blog and setting up a schedule for future posts. I’m happy with what I’ve come up with. Those of you who were following my old site know that I used to post seven days a week. I don’t have the time to do that at present, at least not at the quality I would want so I’ll be trying to post three times a week. Look for updates starting next week on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Changing gears, I just want to say a bit about Mother’s Day. This is a challenging holiday for many, myself including. When you’ve lost your mother it is hard to be on Facebook and see all the photos of friends enjoying brunch with their moms. I find myself dreading checking my email this time of year because of all the promotional “Don’t forget to buy mom a gift” emails from various retailers.
I lost my mom a few years ago, just five days before my 30th birthday. My dad had passed away when I was 11. My thirties in many ways has been the decade of exploring what it is like to be parentless. No matter if you were incredibly close with your parent(s) or had some frictions, it’s odd to know that you can’t call your mom or dad up for advice, to share your victories, or look for comfort when you’re having a rough time.
I’ve been thinking about the term motherhood. I don’t consider myself a traditionally maternal person. Having children isn’t something I feel strongly about and unless I have a dramatic change of desires in the future, being a mom isn’t something I envision for myself. Yet, without that title or want we all have people in our lives that serve that role of nurturer and we find ourselves supporting others in that way at one point or another.
When you’ve lost your parents holidays can be rough. I still struggle with finding where I belong during these times. I’m very lucky in that I have an incredible family including two amazing sisters. My sisters always invite me to join them for holidays and I sometimes do. One of my sisters is married and the other is engaged so holidays often are spent with their in-laws or in-laws to be. I feel accepted by both of my sisters’ new families, but they aren’t my family and it is a much different connection I have to them than my sisters’ do.
Aside from my remaining relatives I consider my close friends my family. This works out most of the year, with the exception of holidays, because the majority of my friends have parents and/or in-laws they are celebrating with. Finding home and family is something I struggle with even though to an extent I have both in my life. I have a feeling discovering and shaping those areas is going to be the other major definition of this decade for me.