>> Friday, August 2, 2013
It's beyond wanting to lose weight, eat less sugar, or be happier.
To exercise more and attain some major fitness goal.
It's beyond food and babies and bigger houses.
Beyond, beyond, beyond.
I hesitate getting too personal when it comes to mental health on this space. I get a variety of reactions, good and bad and also amateur psychologist, when I delve deep. But I figure enough of you are here for the good that I'll forge ahead with what my mind + heart really wants me to focus on for a while. It's time for a turnaround. Not some quick fix, 7-day plan or other gimmick.
I find myself physically running in almost all my spare time, criticizing my diet when at rest, and continually searching for different houses, different towns, different jobs -- basically anything different that would snap me out of whatever it is.
I'm in a constant state of searching. I've always been this way. Part of it, honestly, is just a hobby (obsessed with real estate and architecture, always love imagining what it's like to live in another gal's shoes, etc.) but it's gotten a little overboard lately.
Which is when I realized that I'm not actually searching for any of these things specifically. I'm seeking -- instead -- internal change and some fundamental lifestyle shifts that go far beyond diet and exercise. From the inside versus the outside. A spark, too.
I took some time to allow myself to have a long internal conversation. I took a piece of paper and wrote down the things about my life that leave me uninspired or frustrated or those areas where I'd like to focus on growth and development.
I limited myself to the top 10 and then decided I'll start small with just five.
In no particular order:
#1: Re-examination of my diet. I have been a vegetarian for as long as I can remember. But I haven't always given my body all the things, especially protein, that it needs. If I want to continue to be meat-free, I need to take the effort and energy to eat the foods that best feed my body and brain.
Plan: I am going to approach this one through my love for cooking. It's easy to fall into a rut when it comes to making food. In my case, I've not been prioritizing it enough -- leaving dinner until the later hours and sort of snacking through my day. Through reconnecting with my love for cooking (and hopefully learning some new techniques and recipes along the way), I hope to more naturally fall into a groove of healthier eating versus saying NO sugar, NO alcohol, NO this or that. Food is fun, no?
#2: Rejuvenation of my social life. In many ways, being a mom is great socially. I have some nice mom-friends. When I left my full-time job, however, I sort of became a hermit. I often turn down opportunities to connect with other people or take the effort it takes to go out and seek new friendships. Part of this is my own long-standing introvert status. Part of it is falling out of habit.
Plan: Start saying YES when it comes to invitations. Start making the effort to drive more and connect with my friends who might not live in my city. Make more phone calls instead of emails. I may even quit Facebook for a while and see if that helps me go from virtual staying-in-touch to actual getting together, etc. This is particularly difficult for me, but whenever I do see my friends, I am infinitely happier.
#3: Cultivation of my professional life. I have some great gigs going, but at the end of the day I'm often left wondering where I'm headed career-wise. I would love to make freelancing a real THING. I mean it is already, but I could be doing more and learning more. In addition, I have also wanted to explore some different careers for when our children are in school and I might want to do something outside the home.
Plan: Start a list of books and resources for freelancing and READ them. Reach out to my friends who are already successful and getting published online or elsewhere. I'm interested in writing about food, but I have a degree in writing and am excited to see what other avenues I could explore with it. In addition to all of this, I
#4: Action toward more financial freedom. I think my biggest source of stress on a daily basis has to do with money. Whether I'm making enough money. Or if we're spending too much money. We have our good times and bad times. We don't have credit card debt, but our student loans are heftier than most and things that sounds interesting + cute like a $50 grocery budget should really be happening more practically than just in theory. We are still in good shape with our savings, but after a few home projects this summer, I feel like we're slipping down the slope.
Plan: I'd like to revisit our budget and track our expenses again for a couple months. I'd like to see if there are any areas where we could modify our current spending habits. Including the possibility of downsizing our home to save $$$ each month without much effort (though this might not be possible because we recently refinanced, hmmm). In addition, I'd like to be more mindful of the money we spend on weekends and stop using "good months" as an excuses to spend more money when we should be saving instead.
#5: Giving in and trying something new. (Oops, broke parallel structure there!) So, yeah. I am always searching, but never actually doing. Marveling at the things other people do. Saying "I could do that" or "I WANT to do that." I would like to stop sitting on the sidelines and explore my interests. I know I have limited time and resources, but there are plenty of opportunities for personal growth and enjoyment all around me. I just need to seize the day, I guess.
Plan: Find one new activity or class or group or something else to try out and stick with it for a while. This one's the biggest open-ended of the items I wanted to tackle on my list. So, I haven't given specifics except I need to figure it out before Stephen returns to work in September.
What I realized through all of this "work" is that I'm not a sad person. In fact, I am happy with my life in so many ways. It's more of a unfulfilled feeling. I think with having a child, deciding to work from home, and not having an easy transition with it all, I've done OK, but I'm ready to start thriving again.
Still, I cycle between stress and then avoidance, leading eventually to more + more stress and very little progress. I'm not investing a lot of time into myself and the areas where I am investing (mostly exercise and work), I'm reaping little reward when it comes to how I feel.
Except for being a mom to this awesome girl. But I know it's more than healthy to want to be more than a mom at this stage in life. Healthy for me. Healthy for our whole family.
And so much of health is mental, isn't it?
I'm sure you were expecting some type of post like this since I turned 30 on Sunday. It actually wasn't that big a deal. It just got me thinking about time and my role in my own life. Though I am always looking for outside change, ultimately I will need to either go and MAKE those changes or see if whatever it is could be solved inside my head.
And that's how I'd like to spend my next decade.
How about you?
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