For as long as I’ve been able to hold political beliefs, I have been known as the lonely Leftie in my family. I’ve always liked to think of myself as more Centre Left than radical left but compared to my family, I’m as left-leaning as they get. Which has resulted in many a passionate discussion at the dining table when the whole family gathers, especially around election time – any election really. The last time my brother and I got into a ‘discussion’, my 9-year-old niece tearfully asked ‘why don’t you love each other anymore?’ and we had to laugh and explain that we still loved each other, we just thought the other was an idiot… in a loving way.
But now, as Israel is at war, my beliefs have started to waver. As I look at my left-leaning Twitter followers, I’ve noticed something disturbing. They all seem to be on the side of whoever they perceive to be the underdog, regardless of the situation. They also seem to only be aware and interested in trendy causes. Allow me to explain.
I’m blogging from my bed today as my body has given up telling me quietly to rest and has now taken to yelling at me. My back is sore, my brain is tired and my body is exhausted. Last night I was in bed by 8pm and asleep by 8:15. I woke up briefly this morning at 6:30 to let my boss know that I was taking a sick day and promptly slept for another couple of hours, taking the total to 12 hours of sleep. Then I slept some more. I may even nap shortly.
Either I’ve turned into a child again or I’m sick. Since Freaky Friday is fictional, I’m going to go with being sick. This does not surprise me.
On Sunday night, I could not get warm at all. I ended up sleeping with a hoodie on. I spent Monday at work feeling icy cold to my bones and walking around with my scarf on like a pashmina. FYI, my scarf is nothing like a pashmina so I looked like an idiot.
Again, this does not surprise me because I suck as relaxing. Even when I’m procrastinating writing my thesis, I’m productive. I spent the weekend writing and cooking and filling the freezer. That was supposedly a relaxing weekend because I didn’t do much socialising. But I didn’t exactly rest. I did laundry and cleaned the bathroom. I went grocery shopping. I did not rest. I did not relax. I did not really give my body time off.
And so here I am. Exhausted even after sleeping for 12+ hours. Sore and achy. Trapped in my apartment because my father has borrowed my car and it’s ridiculously windy outside anyway. Yes, I’m sitting here feeling crappy (albeit better than yesterday) and I’m thinking of going to the gym or going out to buy my brother’s birthday present because otherwise I’M WASTING TIME. But instead, I will sit here and read and maybe nap and hopefully my body will get what it needs and let me feel human again soon.
Last week, my skin went mental and reacted to something. Almost overnight, I had skin like sandpaper – dry, scaly, itchy beyond belief. I felt like I was wearing a mask, as if I was hiding from the world.
I figured out that it could either be my moisturiser or my foundation so I stopped using both and bought 2 new moisturisers. I pampered my skin, reassured it that it was safe the shed the scales and re-emerge into the world. It took about 3 days to feel normal again and while my skin is still a little dry, my scaly mask has definitely shifted.
I reacted super quickly because I could feel and see the effects of the irritation and I felt like the world could see the effects too. In my mind, there was no question that I would change everything to make this reaction go away.
And yet, when I react to food or a situation, I don’t seem to change as quickly. When my stomach is emphatically unhappy at the crap I’m shoving down my gullet, I ignore it. When I’m getting stressed out over a situation I can change, I do nothing. And then I wonder why I still feel crap when it’s really no wonder. In fact, it’s more of a wonder that I don’t fall down in a heap all the time.
I have fallen down in a heap today though. It’s been a long week and last night, I slept for almost 12 hours. I got up, went grocery shopping and my back seized up, a sure sign that my body has gone ‘F you, we’re on strike’. So instead of getting ALL THE THESIS written and ALL THE FOOD cooked, I slept some more and I’m taking it easy. I’m treating this as I treated my skin reacting. Bad reaction means a change must be made, so I’m making it.
Do you listen to your body when it cries out to you?
Yesterday was a friend’s birthday and so Facebook was filled with posts wishing her a happy birthday. Except she’s not around to read those posts anymore. She passed away in February this year – a cruel loss thanks to cancer, a loss I think about every day.
She was an intensely private person and, as per her wishes, her husband deleted her Facebook page not long after her funeral because the last thing she wanted was an ever-present memorial online. That doesn’t mean that we think of her any less but it does mean that grieving is different. Which meant that, as I opened up Facebook yesterday, I wondered if the day would pass unseen or whether we would be ‘allowed’ to celebrate. I was thrilled to see a few posts pop up and so I joined the fray, carefully, vaguely. But it made me feel as if I was remembering her properly.
And then I start to remember all the lost moments, the moments when I thought I’d have all the time in the world to do something, to say something, to tell someone how much they mean to me. All those times when I made a decision to do something else, something that was the right decision at the time but something that I would give anything to redo now, in light of what I know.
I know now that a healthy bank balance is good but memories made with friends are better.
I know now that friendships change as our needs change and forcing them to stay static does nobody any good.
I know now that I value the inconsequential moments most – the laughs over a cup of tea, the texts that pop up when you need them most, the regular catch-ups you take for granted.
I think about my dear friend every day as I sit on the tram and pass by where she used to live, where we used to go for brunch, where she spent her last days. I remember fragments of conversations and some things make me laugh and others make me tear up.
As much as these moments and memories hurt sometimes, I cherish them. They’re a link to the past, a link to her.
I had to laugh tonight.
I woke up this morning with a sore throat and feeling grotty. I briefly entertained the idea of calling in sick before I remembered that I had a meeting this afternoon that I was running and tons to get done for it beforehand. Calling in sick was out of the question. And I had a personal training session after work that my trainer had specifically changed to suit my schedule. I couldn’t exactly cancel on him (again).
So I packed my gym clothes, my lunch, some snacks and rugged up in scarf and coat to head out to the tram stop. I somehow left the house in sneakers and forgot to pack my proper work shoes so I told everyone that it was totally intentional. Yeah, that’s it. Totally intentional to wear sneakers at work all day.
But onwards. I worked through lunch getting material ready for my meeting and dosed myself up on cold and flu meds (sidenote: I totally typed ‘cold and fun meds’ just then and I reckon they should change the name. Or not. Maybe not.) to get through the day. I knew though that what I was feeling (strike that, what I AM feeling) was a head cold and I really had no excuse for not going to the gym.
Knowing that I’m all about looking the part (it fools my brain into thinking I work out more than I actually do), I changed into my gym gear at the office and trudged to the tram stop. On the way, I ran into a colleague who takes the same tram so we chatted the whole way. Which brings to what made me laugh.
She kept telling me that I was so committed to be working out straight from work and being so healthy and strong etc etc. Maybe three years ago that would have been true – you remember, when I actually went to the gym more than once a fortnight, when I had strength and could do regular pushups? – but now? Now I’m a wuss. Yes, I go to the gym and yes, I go to Pilates (sometimes) and yes, I try get my 10,000 steps every day, but I’m hardly a gym junkie.
But, as they say, it’s all about perception. And to her, I’m committed. Which made me feel good, actually. Not so good that I’d get up to fit a workout in tomorrow or anything, but good nonetheless.
In March, The Boy quit his job and walked out into the great unknown – in other words, he started his own business. It’s been a wild 3 and a bit months and while we’re not swimming in money as yet, he’s doing brilliantly and, more importantly, he’s really happy again. The last year or so of his old job really wore him down and it’s nice to have him back, as it were.
And while he is bringing in money, we’re still at the stage where everything that comes in from the business goes straight back into the business to buy equipment and whatnot. All this means that we’re living on my AMAZING FANTASTIC publishing salary. If you know anything about publishing, it’s all about the love of the industry etc etc – a long-winded way of saying none of us are going to be millionaires anytime soon!
It’s very easy to get comfortable when you’re on two salaries but it’s a bit of a rude shock to move onto one salary, even when you’re expecting it. We’ve been really lucky in a few ways though:
- I’m a saver and we have a good stash o’ cash to cushion us. Obviously, we don’t want to use it all but it’s good to have it there
- We have family around us to support us if the going gets tough. I know that if I were to mention to my mother that we were down to rice and beans for dinner, she’d be over in an instant with meals for the freezer and offers of grocery shopping. Not everyone has that support available.
- It’s just the two of us – we’re kidless so far (which is not great in some ways) which means that we can keep our expenses down fairly easily without suffering.
- We have absolutely no debt – car loan is paid off (as of this month – huzzah!) and we only spend what we can afford on the credit cards.
This is all great but there’s so much more we can do to make things easier on ourselves. This week, I’m setting myself a massive challenge – to cook from the pantry. That means no extraneous grocery shopping for random things that we may need one day or for recipes I suddenly get a craving for. We have so much food in our pantry that we’re not going to starve. Case in point today – I wanted to make something in the slowcooker that called for a can of chopped tomatoes. Normally this is a doddle since we ALWAYS have cans of tomatoes in the pantry. Except today we don’t. Any other day, I would have walked to the grocery store and bought a couple of cans, plus some fruit and then some snacks and maybe some veggies in case we don’t have enough in the freezer. And voila, there’s $40 gone. Repeat that every day or so and suddenly you have a packed pantry and a sad bank account.
So instead of buying more tomatoes, I added them to the list for next week and made something else instead using ingredients we already have. And I’ll keep doing that all week at least to see if I can make a dent in the pantry stocks at all.
Somethings tells me this MAY take longer than a week though. Anyone else find themselves in the same boat and want to try the #cookfromthepantry challenge?